By David Hunter
Neuhausen am Rheinfall > Lachen 178km
A typical Tour de Suisse sprint stage.
The sprinters will take a look at the road book and think they have a chance, but any hope will soon fade once they hit the final 50km. As usual, the organisers have managed to place some tough climbs quite close to the finish. Bad news for the sprinters, could news for the puncheurs.
The cat 2 climb, Oberricken, is 7.7km at 5.2%. Coming with 47km to go, this will mark the start of the finale of the stage. Once this has been dealt with we have two wall climbs in the final 20km.
1.1km at 9.6%, this one is unclassified! The top of it is just 16km from home.
1.9km at 9.4%, this one is a cat 2 climb. Once over, the bunch is just under 7km from home. A late attack can certainly stick.
Another day where the bunch will play hide and seek with the rain.
The final two climbs will explode the race, they are far too hard for the sprinters. I would expect the big attacks to be saved for the final wall, we can see a selection at this point. We’ve seen these stages many times in the Tour de Suisse, attacks will come from puncheurs and some GC riders, they just can’t help themselves. If the right combination gets a gap it will be very hard to bring them back. It is also good for a strong rider to go solo, especially if they aren’t a GC rider.
Benoît Cosnefroy – injury has seriously impacted his 2021 season, but recent signs have been positive. This is a perfect stage for him, he really is one of the best on a wall climb. Also going in his favour is that he isn’t a GC rider, when he attacks who will follow? If he is now fully recovered I would expect to see him challenging for the win.
Max Schachmann – he is a GC threat, which means that when he attacks others will respond. The punchy finish is good for the German, this is the type of stage he normally excels in.
Omar Fraile – it feels like he hasn’t been at his best for quite some time. The Basque Country did hint at a return to form, something I’m excited about. Fraile is one of my favourite riders, I love his attacking style. Hopefully we see the old him in this stage.
Marc Hirschi – so much was rightly made about his transfer to UAE, but it hasn’t been a success, yet. His form did improve in the Ardennes, I think we’ll now start to see the best of him. Cast your mind back to 2020, he was one of the best in the world, I want to see that level again. This stage is perfect for him, he can fly up the climbs and has a fast sprint.
Richard Carapaz – will he throw in an attack to test some legs? Given his attacking style I think we might see him make a move, but it’s unlikely to be a winning one. If he goes it will get a big response from the other GC favourites.
Michael Matthews – he’ll be hoping the attacks fail and it ends in a reduced sprint. This is a brilliant stage for Matthews, he won’t be dropped and will have one of the fastest sprints in the front group. He’ll be eager to get his first win for BikeExchange, but this stage also suits Chaves and Hamilton. With options to play in the finale, BikeExchange have a good chance of winning this one.
Tiesj Benoot – another who’ll love this finish. He would have hoped for a better spring, but illness that he picked up at the end of Paris-Nice did slow him down. The punchy nature of the finish is perfect for him, this stage looks like something we’d see in Belgium. He’ll attack, we’ll have to see if it sticks.
Gonzalo Serrano – his move to Movistar surprised a few, but it was a great bit of business by the Spaniards. Serrano is a rider who goes very well on short climbs, and he has a good sprint finish. His stage win in Andalucía was great to see, he’ll approach this race with confidence. Can he take his first world tour win?
Mathieu van der Poel – it’s all about Tokyo for the big man, he is dreaming of gold. He won’t have even looked at his road bike since Flanders, so predicting what he can do in this stage is rather hard. He’ll either simply use it as a training ride or win, you decide.
Julian Alaphilippe – yet another rider who’ll love this stage. Positioning for the final climb will be important, you can guarantee his teammates will ensure he starts it in the best possible position. Will he attack? Of course he will!
Michael Woods – he would like the climbs to be a little harder, I don’t see him winning.
The final climb is going to be carnage, I expect lots of attacks. With just 7km from the top of the final climb until the finish I don’t think we’ll see a sprint, an attack will take the day. I’ll go for Julian Alaphilippe, it’s his kind of stage.
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