By David Hunter
Jurançon – Pau 36.2km
Another huge day in the battle for the red jersey.
This is not an easy time trial. The climbing starts almost immediately with 2.4km at 6.5%, good afternoon! The next 20km is constantly rolling, there’s no serious climbs, but it will be impossible to settle into any type of rhythm.
We then have 2km of descending, before 4km of flat. Some riders will use this to catch their breath, the others will be pushing on as big gains can be made on the flat. Next up is almost 3km at 4.2%, before a relatively short descent. This leads directly into the final 10km, which is almost pan flat, with just a small rise near the finish. This is a demanding TT, one that could mean the climbers do a little better than expected, but there is no guarantee.
A lovely day, with just a hint of wind coming from the north. Perfect conditions for the TT.
Primož Roglič – it’s not even if he wins, it’s simply by how much. The Slovenian starts as the overwhelming favourite, it would take an act of God for him not to take this one. The big question is how much time he can put into his GC rivals. As the TT is 36.2km, he’ll be aiming for over 1:30 on Valverde and López, potentially 2:30 to Quintana. He knows this is the day he can all but seal the red jersey. I know that we’ve still got a long way to go, but taking that amount of time back on him will be almost impossible, especially as his team are looking good in the mountains. This is a huge day in the career of Primož Roglič.
Tadej Pogačar – after his amazing win on Sunday, the young Slovenian will be hoping to stay close to his countryman. He’s the national TT champion, although Roglič didn’t ride that day, and he also has some impressive TT performances to his name. Back at the start of the season, he was 5th in the Algarve TT, just 17 seconds behind Stefan Küng. If he has a very good day, and the others don’t show up, he could end on the podium.
Vasıl Kiriyienka – the former world champion usually saves his best performances for grand tours. As he’s been able to take it easy during the whole race, he should have plenty of energy to put in a big ride. It’s still going to be hard to win, but he should be finishing on the podium.
Nelson Oliveira – hugely consistent Portugese TT specialist. He’s another who is challenging for the podium.
Paddy Bevin – the Kiwi is a rider I really do like. He’s been close on a number of occasions to taking his first big TT win, but has just fallen short. It would be pretty special to win a TT in a grand tour.
Thomas De Gendt – given the way he performed in the Giro and Tour de France TTs, it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sitting in the hot seat for a long time. The Belgian has been quiet in the race, but that’s to be expected as it’s his third grand tour of 2019.
Primož Roglič, and it won’t even be close.
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