By David Hunter
Menziken – Bern 159.3km
A day for the sprinters.
With only 1635m of climbing, this is one of the easiest sprint stages the Tour de Suisse has ever seen! The only problem for the sprinters, is the final couple of kilometres.
With 1.5km remaining, the road begins to rise. We have 900m at 6.7%, before a flat run for home. Obviously, any sprinter that losses positions on the climb, only has 600m of flat to try and make a move. That sounds impossible! To win this stage, you must stay at the front during the climb.
Thunderstorms are predicted for the afternoon.
Peter Sagan – the final 2km sounds very good for Sagan. If Bora can set a fast pace on the 900m ramp, some of the sprinters will start to drift down the pack. As we know, Sagan can beat the very best in a flat sprint, he starts this stage as the favourite.
Greg Van Avermaet – some riders will want to attack on the 900m rise. Unable to win the sprint, a rider like GVA should be looking to attack and get a gap. It won’t be easy, but it’s his only chance of winning the stage.
John Degenkolb – this will be a day that the German is looking forward to. There will be very few sprints in this race, this might be the only one of the week. Degenkolb is trying to build some momentum for the Tour, this will be a chance to measure himself against Sagan.
Matteo Trentin – should provide QuickStep with a solid sprint option. Not really a sprinter, but the Italian has won plenty of bunch kicks before. This season hasn’t been his best, but he is a quality competitor.
Danny Van Poppel – after a season of working like a donkey for his teammates, it’s about time he had a chance to shine. He looked good in the Hammer Series and this is a stage that suits. The final kick up shouldn’t worry him and he has a very fast finish. He has a big chance to finish on the podium.
Michael Matthews – another day where Michael Matthews can shine. The Aussie will be looking forward to challenging Sagan for the win, but I think that Sagan is faster than him in a sprint. Given his focus on becoming a better climber, I think he’s lost some of his sprint speed.
Sacha Modolo – after a brilliant classics campaign, the Giro did not go to plan. That would have been a huge disappointment for the Italian, but he returned to form by winning GP du canton d’Argovie. He will like the look of this finish, but his team will have a struggle to put him into a good position.
Sagan v Matthews v Degenkolb. I think we’ll see a win for Peter Sagan.
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