By David Hunter
Bodrum > Kusadasi 161km
The final stage.
With just one second between the race leader and second place, this promises to be a tense affair. The intermediate sprint comes after just 23.4km, this has to be a big target for Alpecin-Fenix. With just four riders left in the race, do they have enough men to hold off the early break and sprint for the bonus seconds? As the sprint happens so close to the start I think they do, this is a huge chance for Jay Vine to win the race. After the sprint point has been passed, the race should settle down until the finale.
This cat 2 climb crests with 20km to go. Just like all the climbs in this race, it takes place on a wide highway which helps the bunch stay together, perfect for the fast men.
This little kicker, 1.2km at 5.6%, crests with just over 8km to go. It’s a good launchpad for a rider who doesn’t want a sprint.
Cresting with just 4km to go is another little hill, this time it’s 2km at 4.1%. It’s another great chance for someone to disappoint the sprinters, and with the GC so close it could even see some attacks from the climbers.
24 degrees and not very windy.
Jasper Philipsen – the punchy finish is perfect for the Belgian, can he win three in a row? His wins in recent stages have been excellent, especially after three consecutive 2nd places. Despite only having a team of four, Alpecin-Fenix have impressed in the last couple of stages. We’ll have to see how the GC situation plays out, if Jay Vine needs bonus seconds at the finish line the team will give him every opportunity to get them. That means we might even see Philipsen being used on the final climb to make the pace hard, it’s a team sport after all.
Mark Cavendish – he’s had an excellent week; can he win one more stage? He has spoken about some of his teammates getting opportunities, and Hodeg hasn’t had one yet, so we’ll have to wait and see how they play it in the finale. Three stage wins has been a good return this week, four would be even better.
Andre Greipel – he’s been close this week; it would be great to see him finally getting his stage win. The climb at the end isn’t ideal for him, but he has a strong team to help get him back in the right position for the final sprint.
The climbs at the end of the stage play into the hands of a certain Belgian. I think Jasper Philipsen will win the stage and thanks to getting seconds at the bonus sprint, Jay Vine will win the overall. It could be a very good day for Alpecin-Fenix.
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