Vuelta a España 2021 – Stage 8 preview

By David Hunter

Santa Pola > La Manga del Mar Menor 174km

Another sprint stage where we’ll be waiting to see if we get some echelons.

The bunch head down the coast, hugging the coastline for much of the day. It should be another big sprint; the GC riders will hope for a quiet day.

Weather

Another sunny day. The wind is coming from the north-east, before moving round a little to the east later in the day. This is the perfect direction, as we have a cross/tailwind for the start of the day. The problem is the strength, it just doesn’t look strong enough to cause splits. With the wind in the right direction it doesn’t take much to cause splits, but I don’t think we’ll see echelons.

Finale

The race almost finishes in the Med! Arrow straight, but the road isn’t very wide. The pavements are raised, you’ll want to stay away from the edge of the road. We’ve seen in the previous sprint stages that the lead out trains are evenly matched. Whoever gets it right has a great chance of taking the win.

Contenders

Jasper Philipsen – two wins out of three, that’s a very good return for the Belgian. His lead out train have done a good job for him, and he’s had the speed to finish it off. Philipsen has enjoyed a brilliant season, his consistency in grand tours has been remarkable. If he starts the sprint from a good position he’ll be challenging for the win.

Fabio Jakobsen – his train got it wrong the other day, but he still impressed by coming from deep to finish in second place. He has one win; he’d love to take more. His sprint train is a good one, but they didn’t perform to the level expected in the last sprint. I would say that Fabio is the fastest man in the race, he just needs to start his sprint near the front.

Arnaud Démare – I think he’ll be getting frustrated by now. Groupama – FDJ normally perform very well in the sprints, but they seem to be struggling without Miles Scotson in position 4. They did get it right in the uphill sprint, but Démare lost out to Jakobsen in the closing metres. He is fast enough to win, but his train need to get it together.

Prediction Time

It’s another toss-up between the big 3. I’ll go with Fabio Jakobsen, he looks the fastest to me.

David Hunter

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