By David Hunter
Castrojeriz – Villadeigo 168km
A nice and easy day in the saddle, with no categorised climbs. What the profile doesn’t show is a small bump with just 8km to go.
This certainly spices things up a bit. The climb is 1.4km at 5.8%, which is tough enough for some riders to think about launching a late attack, especially as the road is relatively narrow and a fast descent follows. Sprint teams will need to set a fast pace on the climb to discourage any moves, but someone will attack. The climb isn’t long enough to put the sprinters into difficulty, but they could find themselves sliding down the peloton. With so many fresh legs it is unlikely the move will be successful as teams will have plenty of riders to mark moves and ensure we get a sprint.
A lovely day for a bicycle ride.
The fast corner with around 400m to go is the point everyone will be racing for. A slight descent in the final 2km means that the bunch will be flying, and it could get a little tasty as the sprinters fight for position. The team who delivers the best lead out will have a great chance of winning the stage.
Sam Bennett – I would imagine we’ll see QuickStep go with Lampaert, Archbold and Mørkøv in front of Bennett, that is a very strong sprint train. The Irishman was nowhere to be seen today, but this stage should be much more to his liking. As he has the best sprint train, he should start his sprint in the ideal position, it will then be over to his legs.
Edward Theuns – looked in good shape today, he and his Trek teammates were the main reason the race split in the wind. At the end of last season we started to see Theuns back to his very best, which was great to see. Trek also have a very strong sprint train at this race, they basically have five sprinters in their squad. It will be great to see Trek and QuickStep go head to head in the closing stages to try and control the final corner.
Fernando Gaviria – the Colombian will have Molano and Richeze to help position him in the closing kilometres. This isn’t the longest train here, but it’s still very strong. After catching corona virus back at the UAE Tour, Gaviria was one of the lucky ones to not suffer long lasting symptoms and he’s been back in full training for quite some time. On his day he is one of the best sprinters in the world, but will it be this day?
Giacomo Nizzolo – not a great sprint train, which will make life very difficult for him. At best I see him finishing third.
Arnaud Démare – the French sprinter always has a good sprint train with him, this race is no different. With Guarnieri and Sinkeldam in front of him, he will be put in a good position for the final corner. Démare might not be as fast he as used to be, but experience counts for a lot in this game. Expect to see him around the top 5.
QuickStep v Trek in the closing kilometres and Sam Bennett to take the win.
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