By David Hunter
Fiesch – Gommiswald 186km
Another profile that is put in the weird section.
The stage is dominated by two HC climbs, but the final one crests with 68km to go. This opens the door for a breakaway day.
First up is the Furkapass, 16.3km at 6.5%. The climb begins 20km into the stage and it’s likely the break will move at this point. The climb is difficult and features many steep sections.
Next up is Klausenpass, 23.2km at 6.2%. This is the hardest climb of the race, the final 12km is very challenging, but the long distance from the crest to finish will likely put off any GC attacks.
The final 3km is not easy, with a steep kick from 2.5km to go. This lasts until the flamme rouge, with a gentler incline to the finishing line. The kick is around 9%, which means that the GC riders will have to be careful not to drop time.
The long flat section after the second climb is the problem. If a team makes the pace very fast, they could slim the bunch down, but domestiques will be required for that part of the race. If you blow the race apart and don’t have domestiques left, you could lose time in the chaotic finish. The only way a GC team attacks is if they sense a rival is in difficulty. That should ensure a day for the breakaway.
This should be a better day for the bunch, with only a small chance of rain. The wind is light, but it will be a headwind for most of the day.
Lilian Calmejane – the Direct Energie rider has been incredibly active in this race, but sometimes mistiming his attacks. 2017 was a breakthrough season for him, taking an epic win in the Tour de France. This has been followed up by a good 2018, but he would dearly love another world tour win. He sits 5:44 behind Richie Porte, which could see BMC allow him to join the morning move.
Omar Fraile – the finish is wonderful for him, remember he beat Sonny Colbrelli in an uphill sprint in Romandie. He was active today, but was dropped from the counterattack. The Spaniard is a firm favourite of the fans and he would be a very popular winner.
José Gonçalves – lost time today, this could have been his Giro hangover. As we witnessed in the Dauphiné, it is possible for a rider to bounce back the next day. The Katusha rider has a fine finish and he would be a serious threat, if he makes the break.
Patrick Konrad – see above.
Silvan Dillier – the first Swiss option. Dillier might not be a brilliant climber, but the HC climbs are far from the finish, meaning the break won’t go full gas.
Diego Rosa – the Sky rider has been anonymous in this race, has he been holding back for one big stage?
Diego Ulissi – if the GC riders race it hard, Ulissi would again be the favourite to win from a reduced bunch. This isn’t very likely.
Enric Mas – his second place from today cannot be ignored. The Spaniard is clearly in good form and if we get a GC fight, I hope he doesn’t wait for the sprint. An attack on the steep section of the final climb should be his tactic.
Michael Albasini – there is one more scenario that needs to be considered. It is possible for the peloton to ensure a small break gets away. The peloton then ride a steady tempo to the top of the second climb, ensuring that some of the quick men remain. The final 70km is then used to catch the break and set up a sprint. It’s not very likely to happen, but if it does, Albasini will be the man to benefit.
Has to be one for the breakaway, but which rider wins? I think we’ll see another Giro rider take the win and it will be José Gonçalves crossing the line first. There will be very little change in the GC standings.
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