Volta a Catalunya 2018 – Stage 5 Preview

By David Hunter

Llívia – Vielha 213km

Could be a classic breakaway day.

Who wants to try and chase all day? Given that we have an HC climb, a cat 1 climb and 11.8km at 4.6% cresting with 14km remaining, I doubt any team will try and control this one. It could be one of those classic days, where we have two races within one.

The GC group will look at this finish and think that gaps can be made. The final climb might be uncategorised, but we could see some gaps. If the gaps aren’t made on the climb, we could see some on the descent.

The descent has some technical sections at the start, but it does get easier and a lot of the road is very straight. It might be straight, but it is very steep. Expect to see some crazy speeds as we head for home. The other thing to note is that 5 km of the descent is in a tunnel, this look crazy!

Finale

A ski jump finish, a shame Roglic isn’t here! After the descent, the final 500m gradually rises to the line.

Weather

There could be some rain around. Although the wind is light, it again is a headwind for much of the finish.

Contenders

Steve Cummings – rolling at the back of the bunch all week. Is this one for him? We all know it’s almost impossible to predict which race he is targeting, but on paper, this is a good stage for him. Now watch him roll over the line in last place!

Jetse Bol – I do like watching him ride. Now with Manzana, he provides them with some real attacking quality. This is a must make break for the team and Bol would be a good option.

Jacques Janse Van Rensburg – gives Dimension Data another solid option. Van Rensburg is a very good climber, he’ll like the look of this stage. After finishing 2nd to Impey in the South African RR, he had a quiet time in Oman. Maybe this is the stage for him.

Sander Armée – took a breakaway win in the Vuelta, a breakthrough moment in his career. He is a great climber, but the finish isn’t perfect for him.

Maxime Monfort – another great breakaway rider. After spending most of his career finishing 13th in Grand Tours, the Belgian is now turning into a breakaway specialist.

Giovanni Visconti – down out of the GC picture, he’d be a very dangerous man in this move. He can climb, descend and sprint!

Alejandro Valverde – if it turns into a GC day, it should be another for Bala. He is a brilliant descender and the final kick means it’s Valverde time!

Egan Bernal – today was a massive confirmation of his talent. The only rider capable of following the Movistar trio, he can walk away feeling very happy with himself. Team Sky will also be delighted, it looks like they have a rider who will soon challenge in the biggest races. We have already seen that he packs a fast sprint, but it will be very hard to beat Valverde.

Prediction Time

No GC team will surely risk chasing. With only 7 men in a team, it’s unlikely that they can keep the break at a catchable distance and save enough men to control the final 20km. That should mean the break will have their day.

Movistar will likely control the start as the intermediate sprint is only have 6km. After that, we have a long downhill section. This makes it hard for the little climbers to make the morning move.

That means I’m going for Steve Cummings.

In the GC group, Movistar should be able to mark any move from the main rivals, but a lesser rider could well sneak away and take a few seconds.

*Overall Preview

David Hunter

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