Rapido Guide – Tour of Oman 2018 – Stage 5

Rapido Guide – Tour of Oman 2018 – Stage 3

Course:

As highlighted in yesterday’s preview, Nathan Haas was earmarked as a rider most likely to benefit from a tough finale and heavily reduced numbers heading into the finish, thus it was of little surprise to see him take a much deserved win in the end. Stage 3 is a 179.5km route from the German University of Technology to Wadi Dayqah Dam, featuring plenty of rolling terrain, with the majority of the focus upon the final few kilometres which culminate in an uphill dash to the line.

Tour of Oman 2018 - Stage 3

Contenders:

Greg Van Avermaet was a key protagonist during Stage 2 and there is no doubt that many would have backed the BMC rider to take the win from the reduced lead group, but the Belgian was well beaten by Haas unexpectedly. Regardless, today is another well suited opportunity to pursue victory and Avermaet is bound to find himself the favourite yet again. If he can stay in the lead group and get a clear run to the line, then it shall be a huge ask to deny the Belgian classics specialist for a second consecutive day.

Nathan Haas is now an interesting prospect in the contest for the overall victory and may emerge as a tough rider to relinquish his ownership of the leader’s jersey. If he so wishes, he can now look to ride defensively and even lean upon his rivals to chase down those who are considered a threat to everyone hoping to win 2018’s Tour of Oman. This is another day which plays to his strengths, and given his current form, he should not be discounted from doubling up here on Stage 3.

Søren Kragh Andersen was unfortunate enough to be snarled up by two separate accidents yesterday, the last of which was only 15km from the finish, meaning he waved goodbye to any chance of contesting the sprint. He does not seem to have been affected by these crashes though and shall be extremely motivated to seek redemption of sorts by working hard for the win here. If he does manage to make the cut, he could be the fastest man present and would surely lead the charge to the line home with ease.

Fabio Felline performed well yesterday, showcasing the talent we had seen little of during a disastrous 2017 season previously. The Italian rider is pleased with his return to action thus far, now sensing some semblance of form and eager to find himself atop the podium again soon. He is a tactically astute rider who often reads the race better than most from a breakaway or small bunch, meaning one well timed attack on the final slopes could be enough for Felline to take the win.

Others to consider are Magnus CortAlexander KristoffAlexey LutsenkoDries Devenyns and Giovanni Visconti.

Outcome:

1st Søren Kragh Andersen 2nd Greg Van Avermaet 3rd Fabio Felline

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La Vuelta a España 2017 - Stage Preview

La Vuelta a España 2017 – Stage 7 Preview

Course:

Stage 7 is another day in excess of 200km to travel for the peloton, taking the riders on a lumpy route from Llíria to Cuenca, though featuring only three Category 3 climbs. Regardless, there is not much in the way of flat riding to be done here, making for a draining affair and another opportunity for the breakaway to decide the outcome. As has often been the theme during this year’s Vuelta a España, the course rises almost immediately after the day’s departure from Llíria, building steadily towards the foot of the Category 3 Puerto La Montalbana, an 8km climb which averages 4.3% which should be easy to float over after around 50km of racing already in the legs of the riders. The peloton briefly drop downhill not long after this in order to climb the Category 3 Puerto de Sta. Cruz de Moya. The 8.7km long climb averages 4% and will place the riders atop a rolling plateau from which they never really descend from for the rest of the day. No other significant features occur until less than 20km of racing remain, as the Category 3 Alto del Castillo is the final recognised climb of the day at 2km long and averages a reasonably draining 7.2% gradient. The concluding kilometres are simple enough and should not pose any problems for either a solo breakaway or large group arriving into Cuenca.

La Vuelta a España 2017 - Stage 7 Preview

Contenders:

Alexey Lutsenko confirmed his immense form when securing a stage victory just a couple of days ago and could be asked by Astana to produce a repeat performance if possible. The former under-23 World Champion has immense talent to say the least and would not surprise many if he does indeed rise to the occasion once again already. However, fatigue will be an issue when trying to make the selection on Stage 7, as Lutsenko will be recovering from his previous exploits and from the effort he invested in supporting teammates yesterday.

Matej Mohoric was another of the riders who performed well during Lutsenko’s victory on Stage 5, the young Slovenian reminding pundits as to the reason why he garnered such hype a few years ago. Today’s profile is perhaps more fitting, though it is difficult to gauge his development right now, but it will definitely be on his radar if the legs are still in good condition after his encouraging display a couple of days ago.

Alexis Gougeard has been an active prescence during the opening week of racing at 2017’s La Vuelta a España and is a good bet to be animating the day once again. Whereas he struggled to follow the concluding moves on Stage 5, today’s offering plays to his strengths more so, especially with a finale which could allow him to utilise his sprinting ability to finish off any rivals.

Julian Alaphilippe still promises to deliver a stage winning performance at the race, though is not quite on his perfect form during this first week, but does appear to be coming round to his best as the Vuelta progresses. Once again, he has all the requisite skills to perform strongly, but will need to make sure he manages to feature in the crucial moves of the day before he can dream of a win. If he does, then a small sprint is likely to be his ideal conclusion, as after 207km of racing there are few faster than the Frenchman.

Pello Bilbao will view the challenges of Stage 7 as being well within his capabilities, offering Astana yet another card for them to play during this opening week of racing. He often performs strongly on these rolling days and is certainly tough enough to make the cut, especially during what is bound to be a hectic fight for the breakaway to form early on.

Others to look for in the moves on Stage 7 are Jetse BolRicardo VilelaMarc SolerStephane Rossetto and Lachlan Morton.

Outcome:

1st Pello Bilbao 2nd Matej Mohoric  3rd Ricardo Vilela