Paris - Roubaix 2017 Race Preview

Paris – Roubaix – Race Preview 2017

Course:

The season’s cobbled campaign reaches its crescendo at Paris – Roubaix once again, the preceding weeks of gruelling Spring races in Northern Europe having given us a glimpse of who is mostly likely to survive another ‘Sunday In Hell’. Stretching a total of 257km from the start at Compiègne – Choisy-Au-Bac to the historic finale at the Roubaix velodrome. Tackling 29 official sectors en route to the finish, riders will not only require the strength and determination to succeed, but also the light touch of luck to steer clear of danger throughout the maelstrom. The riders are gifted 100km to prepare themselves for the barrage of challenges, hitting their first cobbled sector after the century marker and finding little in the way of relief until the finish line is crossed or they climb off their bike. As ever, much anxiety will be heaped upon the riders’ passage through the crucial sectors of Care Four de l’Arbre, Mons-en-Pevele and Arenberg forest; the fight for position entering these being some of the most intense riding during the day. Of all the classics which form the monuments in cycling, Paris – Roubaix is perhaps the one which sees the greatest number of star riders lose out through bad luck rather than poor form, meaning an upset is always on the cards at this iconic race. Regardless, whomever is crowned 2017’s champion will have achieved it through no fluke, as every rider who enters the Roubaix velodrome does so gripped by exhaustion. There is no ‘easy’ way to win Paris – Roubaix.

Paris - Roubaix 2017 Race Preview Route

Contenders:

John Degenkolb was unable to defend his title last year due to a training accident which almost cost him a finger and will now be extremely motivated to compensate for his previous absence by performing strongly once again. The German seems built to dominate this race and it is easy to imagine that this 2017 edition may have been poised to complete a hat-trick of wins had he been able to contest the monument last year. His immense strength has seen him as one of the best riders behind the likes of Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet during the early semi-classics this year, but on many of those occasions it was the dreaded hellingen which prevented him from challenging for the win. Today features no such cobbled climbs, making it a levelling factor which plays into his hands. It will take plenty of effort to detach Degenkolb, should the frontrunners fail to achieve this, then nobody will be faster than the German at the end of this race as they enter Roubaix.

Peter Sagan saw his ambitions of defending his title at Ronde van Vlaanderen wiped out by a rogue coat, causing himself Oliver Naesen and Greg Van Avermaet to crash upon the cobblestones. His classics campaign has not been as easy as many expected, Sagan having to cope with negative riding and limited team support compared to teams such as Quick – Step and Trek – Segafredo. Though the results may not immediately demonstrate it, Sagan has been indomitable for much of these semi-classic races and will believe himself strong enough to compensate for a lack of team strength once the race becomes a ‘man vs man’ battle. He is not always the fastest at the end of a tough race such as this, so will need to focus upon conserving energy and allow Quick – Step to take control of affairs for the day.

Oliver Naesen has risen rapidly during the Spring to become one of the few riders capable of matching the likes of Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet. He was in a fantastic position at the Tour of Flanders, but was unfortunate enough to be taken out by a spectator alongside Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet before he could make any moves for victory. Naesen is an aggressive rider who will not wish to simply sit on the wheel and wait to be ridden off, capable of attacking solo from range, he is also talented enough to be a danger in a sprint. However, those most likely to match him are all faster than he is on paper, but nothing is guaranteed once Paris – Roubaix reaches its conclusion. The course suits Naesen’s skills extremely well, and if he rides a cunning enough race, he will be the most likely to cause an upset.

Greg Van Avermaet has become the classics specialists which many had long expected him to become, dominating 2017’s opening classics with apparent ease and the only man able to put Peter Sagan to the sword when given the chance. The Belgian is not as well suited to the rigours of Paris – Roubaix however, as much of Avermaet’s riding is built around his immense acceleration on some of Europe’s toughest cobbled climbs. He is in the form of his life right now, so he cannot be dismissed simply because the terrain is not perfect, instead it is likely that Avermaet will look to follow the wheel of favourites such as John Degenkolb and Peter Sagan, expecting to then dispatch them with ease in a sprint for the line.

Alexander Kristoff is not currently in the same monstrous form as that which delivered him immense success in 2015, yet there are signs to suggest he is once again on the rise to the top. Kristoff does not possess an eye-catching history at Paris – Roubaix, which is surprising when considering his physical attributes, though he certainly has what it takes to succeed if he commits everything to it. His ability to suffer through the hardest of days in the saddle is well documented, but given the encouraging weather forecast for the day, this year’s edition is unlikely to be the attritional affair which would see Kristoff become favourite.

Tom Boonen bids farewell to life as a professional cyclist with one final appearance at Paris – Roubaix, a race which he has conquered on four occasions, confirming himself as one of the greatest Belgians to have ridden this race. Boonen will be inspired to deliver a famous farewell to the sport, aiming to claim victory for a fifth time and become its most successful competitor in history. Quick – Step are once again the strongest team in this one day classic, but their mix of potential victors means Boonen will not be afforded total support. Plenty needs to go in his favour throughout the day to arrive at Roubaix with the leading riders, but should he do so, there is no doubt that he has the gritty determination to lift the cobblestone one last time.

Others who are anticipated to animate the race and challenge for the win are Niki TerpstraZdenek StybarLuke DurbridgeIan StannardLuke Rowe and Florian Sénéchal.

Outcome:

1st Oliver Naesen 2nd Peter Sagan 3rd Tom Boonen

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E3 Harelbeke 2017 Race Preview

E3 Harelbeke – Race Preview 2017

Course:

With barely a pause for breath in the wake of a hectic Dwars Door Vlaanderen, the peloton once again charges headlong into another contest of hellingen and cobblestones, poised to tackle the ever entertaining E3 Harelbeke. Considered by many to be the closest thing to a practice run of next month’s Ronde Van Vlaanderen, riders who perform well here are often earmarked as the main protagonists to watch during the second monument of 2017. Comprising a 205km route from Harelbeke and back again, the race organisers have once again completed the task of seemingly featuring every possible hill, pavé section or both combined to truly make this an attritional affair. Despite many being all too familiar with the likes of the Taaienberg, Eikenberg and Paterberg, these hellish obstacles never soften, forever skilled at breaking the toughest riders en route to the finish. Given the gruelling profile of E3 Harelbeke, it is rare for a large group to sprint amongst themselves to decide the victor, so expect to see a series of elite riders trading blows until a handful of the strongest splinter from the chasing pack and set about crowning 2017’s champion.

E3 Harelbeke 2017 Race Preview

Contenders:

Peter Sagan is enjoying monstrous form in 2017 and will be given the title of ‘man to beat’ yet again as the peloton spend another arduous day surfing the cobblestones of Belgium. He always rises to expectations of putting on a show for fans, animating races regardless of how it may impact upon his hopes of winning, but today is the kind of race which looks ideal for Sagan showboating en route to victory. Having defended his rainbow bands for another year, being the most watched man in the peloton is hardly of note to him now, no doubt relishing the attention as he seeks to make life as hard as possible for his rivals.

Greg Van Avermaet has been closest thing to a thorn in the side of Peter Sagan, beginning to acquire a convincing record in head to head sprints and diminishing the air of invincibility surrounding the reigning world champion. He often seeks to follow the rear wheel of Sagan, hoping to get the better of him in a sprint at the end of a tough race like this which often sees the Belgian with a faster turn of pace. It is unlikely that Avermaet will be afforded an inch to attack, so himself and his BMC teammates will do their utmost to position him well and leave him in the best shape possible to contest the win from a lead group.

Tiesj Benoot will once again be feeling the strain to convert his potential on the cobblestones into a victory at last, despite only recently turning 23 years old, the native fans are eager to see a new Belgian hero emerge. His performance during Dwars Door Vlaanderen bordered upon the anonymous, yet he still secured 7th place behind the leading group of four riders which decided the race. Benoot knows these climbs well and is not afraid of riding an aggressive race, looking to chip away at his main rivals in hope of arriving solo in Harelbeke. 

Sep Vanmarcke missed all the major moves during Dwars Door Vlaanderen and was surely unimpressed by his Cannondale – Drapac teammates’ lack of impetus to chase the break down. Regardless, we have since learned that Vanmarcke has been suffering from a mixture of illness and a bruised rib, yet has assured fans that he will be in contention once again at E3 Harelbeke; perhaps the greatest threat to Peter Sagan if fighting fit.

Tom Boonen may be lining up for the Spring classics once again, but the reality is that the Belgian cycling icon is currently riding in the Autumn of his career. As part of another incredibly strong Quick – Step squad, the likelihood is that Boonen will be allowed to remain in the main bunch, hoping for a sprint finish to decide the day’s outcome; from which he will be a favourite. The antics of his teammates may well tire other favourites ahead of the finale, allowing Boonen to take advantage to stir some emotions in the Belgian fans of previous triumphs.

Philippe Gilbert worked well with teammate Yves Lampaert to deliver Quick – Step the win at Dwars Door Vlaanderenperhaps even sacrificing his chances of victory to assure the team did not suffer another tactical embarrassment on home soil. He will be further down the pecking order during E3 Harelbeke, where he could be tasked with forcing the hand of rival riders by animating the race late on. If a tactical race begins to play out in the latter stages, Gilbert is certainly a strong enough rider to make a late move stick right the way to the finish line.

Zdenek Stybar is leading the attack for Quick – Step here as they utilise their entire arsenal of riders to try and put Peter Sagan to the sword. In terms of possessing the power required to bridge over to decisive moves and attack rivals on the day’s hellingen, Stybar is perhaps the closest match to Sagan when in his best form. He will be well protected by his teammates and should be a guaranteed face amongst the lead group which pushes onwards to the finish in Harelbeke at the end of the 205km.

Luke Rowe may be given the task of stepping into the shoes of teammate and fellow Welshman Geraint Thomas, who has previously enjoyed victory here amongst several other good performances. Despite Rowe stating that his recent time at Paris – Nice was one of the toughest ever, he caught the eye with his potent efforts to keep protected riders in the best position possible during crucial moments. Being given the chance to ride this race with much greater freedom than normal could deliver Team Sky an unexpected win; Rowe certainly not scared of attacking the bigger name riders.

John Degenkolb is targeting Paris – Roubaix in a few weeks time, though might be tempted to test his form at E3 Harelbeke, despite the course not being a typical fit for his talents. The German is extremely powerful, being the last man to be dropped by Peter Sagan’s attack during the final moments of Milan – San Remo and is often the fastest man present in races which stretch onwards from 200km. This may not be an obvious target for him, yet he will certainly seize the opportunity should he find himself at the front of affairs as part of a race deciding group.

Outcome:

1st Tiesj Benoot 2nd Peter Sagan 3rd Luke Rowe

Tour Down Under 2017

TOUR DOWN UNDER 2017 – STAGE 3 PREVIEW

Course:

Sprinters should be gifted another opportunity for victory at this year’s Tour Down Under on this 144km route from Glenelg to Victor Harbor. The lumpy nature of Stage 3 is evident when glancing at the profile, likely to be combined with tricky crosswinds, making this favourable for the classics styled strongman to snatch the day’s honours. Having negotiated the only categorised climb of the day, the peloton will progress onwards to begin the first of four 12.9km laps which comprise the finale in Victor Harbor. A technically demanding run into the finish, with a couple of tight corners, will make having an organised leadout train at the front of affairs a great advantage to guide a sprinter safely into the finishing straight. It does look like a day for a sprint of sorts, but the stresses of the last kilometre may be enough to swing the odds in the favour of some of the more experienced and canny riders who relish these hectic contests at the expense of the thoroughbred fast men.

Tour Down Under 2017 - Stage 3 Preview

Contenders:

Peter Sagan has the skills required to perform well today, but there is a question mark as to whether his team Bora-Hansgrohe shall aim to protect him or sprinter Sam Bennett during Stage 3. The former’s status as World Champion makes him an obvious man to watch in the sprints, thus making it difficult to really catch opponents off guard when it matters most, though the technical finale today is likely to play into Sagan’s hands and limit this factor somewhat. If the route fails to prove as tough as expected, the wind perhaps not coming into play for example, then Bennett will be the better option for Bora-Hansgrohe to try and capture victory at Victor Harbor.

Caleb Ewan enters the day as an awkward contender to estimate, the fastest man in the race is rarely a fan of disorganised finishes and can become lost as rivals find the best lines to follow. ORICA-Scott are an efficient outfit when it comes to leading their talented young Australian out and may be able to provide the guidance which offers him a clear run at the finish line where it is tough to see anyone else other than Ewan emerging victorious.

Niccolo Bonifazio may have arrived at this year’s Tour Down Under without a strong team to support him in the sprints, but Stage 3’s technical demands offer him a level playing field where he can catch the faster riders napping. Bonifazio will look to remain hidden by the stronger trains of his rivals, before bursting through the pack from a good position after exiting the final tight corner.

Danny van Poppel has perhaps surprised a few people with his strong form already at the race, marking him out as one of the fastest riders behind Caleb Ewan currently. Losing teammate Owain Doull on the eve of the race has reduced the firepower of the Sky leadout train, but he still turned in a great performance on Stage 1 and can rely on his sharp acceleration to make the most of this tricky run into home.

Other contenders with a chance of Stage 3 honours are Nikias ArndtEdward TheunsMarko Kump and Sean De Bie.

Outcome:

1st Peter Sagan 2nd Danny van Poppel 3rd Niccolo Bonifazio

La Vuelta a España Preview

La Vuelta a España 2016 – Stage 21 Preview

Course:

The final day of 2016’s La Vuelta a España is finally here and the red jersey of race leader looks destined to cross the line in Madrid upon the shoulders of Nairo Quintana. Though all the drama in the general classification has been put to bed for another year, there is still plenty of excitement on offer as the race completes its three week adventure with a chance for the sprinters to make their presence felt here. Lasting a brief 104.8km from Las Rozas to Madrid, much of the day will be a leisurely parade for the riders and cameras to enjoy, with a few glasses of champagne making their way around the bunch too. There is not a great deal to analyse of today’s stage, the opening 57.7km building towards the first of eight 5.8km laps which form the finale of Stage 21. The circuits are flat and are primarily based on the same design which has often provided this last day of racing in Madrid, offering an advantage to those riders who have previously ridden La Vuelta’s closing stage. A combination of several u-turns and a couple of 90-degree bends makes this a technical course, but after several laps, it should be plain sailing for teams looking to set their sprinters up for glory in the capital.

La Vuelta a España - Stage 21 Preview

Contenders:

Nikias Arndt should already have a win under his belt at this year’s race, but for several reasons, the Giant-Alpecin rider has failed to do so. He is still the fastest man left in contention for a sprint and has form for managing fatigue well as stage races reach their conclusion. The team are capable of delivering him perfectly into position for victory and proved this fact well when only just missing out on Stage 18 to Magnus Cort. In a simple drag race to the line, Nikias Arndt will be the man to beat and should be confident of being manoeuvred neatly into position by his teammates today.

Gianni Meersman was victim of a very poor leadout by Etixx-QuickStep in the final moments of Stage 18 and failed to even contest the outcome seriously. They shall be extremely motivated to remedy this fact and know how well they can execute a sprint given Meersman’s two victories already at the race. Today’s circuits do not suit his attributes that well, especially given the nature of a short stage and his lesser sprint speed, but the power of his team may be enough to swing fortune in his favour to secure a hat trick of wins.

Magnus Cort has performed incredibly well at his debut grand tour and caught the eye with his convincing victor on Stage 18. Today is the only real opportunity for the pure sprinters to take glory, and given how few of those are in attendance, Cort is a real danger to the hopes of everyone with an eye on today. Most interestingly of all however, the fact this is the finale stage should mean Cort is offered a greater level of support in the final kilometres, a factor which will only further push him into contention.

Jempy Drucker put in much quicker sprints than expected at this year’s La Vuelta and will be in the hunt once again today. With the support of BMC, Drucker will be provided enough protection to prevent him expending any unnecessary energy before the last lap. He copes well with the attritional nature of stage races, levelling the playing field to a degree and subsequently giving him a real chance of making the day’s podium at a minimum.

Rudiger Selig has plenty of raw power to mix it up on Stage 21, let alone the strength of his leadout team which features both Scott Thwaites and Michael Schwarzmann; arguably on par with both Etixx-QuickStep and Giant-Alpecin. Bora-Argon 18 should give Selig the nod to carry their hopes on the final day and should perform convincingly on this power based sprint to the line.

Others expected to feature in the day’s final top ten placings are Daniele BennatiJonas Van GenechtenKristian Sbaragli and Kiel Reijnen.

Outcome:

1st Nikias Arndt 2nd Magnus Cort 3rd Rudiger Selig

La Vuelta a España Preview

La Vuelta a España 2016 – Stage 2 Preview

Course:

Though this year’s edition lacks the top ranking sprinters of other grand tours, the 160.8km trip from Ourense Capital Termal to Baiona should bring the small pack of fast finishers to the fore on day two. The majority of the day is flat, but the Category 3 Alto de Fontefria shall look to break up the day’s riding somewhat; even though the gradient struggles to exceed 5% for the majority. The decisive kilometres to the line are populated by roundabouts and other tricky road furniture, after which the sprinters shall have more than a kilometre to the line to truly put the power down and contest the win.  La Vuelta a España - Stage 1 PreviewContenders:

Niccolo Bonifazio is a stand out contender for stage honours on the second day, as the Italian seeks to increase his tally of major career wins in 2016. As ever, his team Trek-Segafredo have assembled a team which shall not struggle to meet the demands of leading Bonifazio out and shall be confident of securing at least a podium spot on Stage 2.

Kristian Sbaragli is an extremely talented finisher, one who could challenge for the win today and subsequently begin his campaign upon the points jersey. An attritional race would improve his hopes of winning here, but it remains a big test as to whether or not he can beat rivals typically faster than him so early on in the race.

Nikias Arndt should be poised to capitalise on this type of opportunity and demonstrate the level he can perform at when given the chance to lead the team’s sprinting hopes. He appears to be fresh heading into the race and has a strong support team for the leadout who will be encouraged to ride aggressively during the final kilometres into the finish,

Beyond those mentioned above, there are an array of teams who shall all seek to secure a victory early on at this year’s edition of La Vuelta a España. Tosh van der SandeGianni Meersman and Jose Joaquin Rojas all have the potential to steal the win here, making them dangerous riders who will need watching by the bigger name sprinters’ teams.

 Outcome:

1st Niccolo Bonifazio 2nd Tosh van der Sande 3rd Nikias Arndt

Giro d'Italia Stage 20 Preview

Giro d’Italia Stage 19 Preview

Course:

Yesterday proved to be a more tame affair than anticipated for the general classification contenders, instead they were pleased to allow the day’s breakaway to acquire a lengthy lead and decide the stage’s outcome from within their ranks. Having kept their powder dry yesterday, today’s first of two stages in the Alps should see life at the front of the general classification animated once again in 2016’s Giro d’Italia. Stage 19 comprises a 162km trip from Pinerolo to Risoul, spending the majority of time creeping upwards for around 80km, ultimately concluding with the 12.8km ascent to Risoul.

Giro d'Italia Stage 19 Preview

Giro d'Italia Stage 19 Preview

Giro d'Italia Stage 19 PreviewGiro d'Italia Stage 19 Preview

 

Contenders:

Steven Kruijswijk appears to have cemented himself as the strongest climber in this race after all attempts so far from his rivals have failed to crack him. Though he may not be directly pursuing this stage as a target for victory, the impetus of other general classification focused teams is likely to reel in the breakaway late on and may inadvertently set the Dutchman up for victory. The climb to Risoul is relatively consistent throughout its ascent and should subsequently play to the strengths of the Dutchman; marking him out as the most likely GC rider to win here.

Esteban Chaves is still relatively unconfirmed in regards to surviving the concluding week of a grand tour, but is certainly one of the best climbers here on paper at least. It looks like it will take a perfectly timed and potent attack to finally drop Kruijswijk, so his chances of a stage win are more realistic if he sits back within the lead general classification group and aim to beat the rest in an uphill dash.

Ilnur Zakarin looks to be gaining strength as the race enters its final decisive moments and could well be in search of an opportunity to gain time on his rivals and step up to the podium. The Russian’s chances of succeeding here increase the longer we have to wait for action from the overall contenders, Zakarin likely to come unstuck if the tempo increases too early on the final climb. Should the action remain limited until the final few kilometres however, Zakarin will be one of the favourites to take time and possibly a stage win.

Darwin Atapuma will be aware that a good performance on Stage 19 will place him firmly in the mix to win the mountains classification jersey at this year’s Giro d’Italia. His performance upon the queen stage deserved the win, but he was robbed by Esteban Chaves and his fellow escapees in the final kilometres. With a showing such as that already in the bag, there is no doubt that Atapuma could go the whole way today and win.

Sky are still searching hard for another victory and are likely to turn to the likes of Nicloas Roche and David Lopez. Both have demonstrated encouraging signs in the last few days, be it sticking with the GC frontrunners or turning in solid breakaway efforts, thus marking them out as clear contenders. It may also be worth keeping an eye upon Philip Deignan, the Irishman has been anonymous up to now and subsequently makes him a very difficult rider to assess, but his ability to climb should be enough to keep him in the mind of Sky.

Giovanni Visconti saved his efforts yesterday and is thus likely to have an eye upon a good performance here in an attempt to make gains in the mountains classification; much like Atapuma. If he is totally focused upon accumulating points, then it is likely he will be out of contention for the stage win as a result of doing his utmost to be first over the Colle Dell’Agnello. Should events develop in a manner which see him part of a lead group deciding the win, then Visconti’s sprinting ability could be enough to better most rivals.

For further breakaway contenders; Tanel KangertIan Boswell, Joe DombrowskiBlel Kadri, Giulio CicconeRubén Plaza and Amets Txurruka could all play a part.

Outcome:

1st Steven Kruijswijk 2nd Esteban Chaves 3rd Ilnur Zakarin

Breakaway: 1st Darwin Atapuma 2nd Giovanni Visconti 3rd Philip Deignan

Giro d'Italia Stage 20 Preview

Giro d’Italia Stage 17 Preview

Course:

As anticipated, yesterday’s tinderbox of a stage was ignited early on as the general classification leaders took the initiative by the scruff of the neck and saw the likes of Vincenzo Nibali and Esteban Chaves lose time to the day’s winning triumvirate of Alejandro Valverde, Steven Kruijswijk and Ilnur Zakarin. Today’s challenge is likely to be a contrasting affair altogether, pulling focus back to the (remaining) sprinters as they are afforded the seldom opportunity of a sprint finish; assuming the breakaway do not have something else to say. The 196km trip from Molveno to Cassano d’Adda has an extended rolling section to begin with, and if the day’s breakaway is comprised of the right riders, it could prove difficult for Trek-Segafredo and Lampre-Merida to bring it back for a sprint.

Giro d'Italia Stage 17 Preview

Contenders:

Giacomo Nizzolo is in the midst of some of his best grand tour form ever at 2016’s Giro d’Italia, though is still yet to secure his maiden win at this level. The Italian has been within touching distance of André Greipel and Marcel Kittel earlier in the race, both of whom have now departed the race (along with Caleb Ewan and Elia Viviani), leaving Nizzolo as the clear favourite for stage honours here in Cassano d’Adda. However, along with his sprinting rivals, Nizzolo has now lost two crucial components in is effective leadout train; Fabian Cancellara and Boy Van Poppel. The result of this should be that Lampre-Merida emerge as the strongest team during the final kilometres, marking Sacha Modolo out as the main man standing between him and grand tour glory.

Sacha Modolo possesses a far superior record at this level than his compatriot Nizzolo, yet has not performed at a comparable level to him at this year’s Giro thus far. However, he now finds himself in a stronger position than his rival thanks to a leadout train which has not suffered the same abandonments as Trek-Segafredo. There is a strong likelihood that Modolo will be allowed to lead everyone else through the final corners as a result of his team’s strength, with a greater battle occurring behind as others fight for his wheel. It would be cruel for Nizzolo to leave the Giro once again without a victory, but Modolo certainly ticks all the boxes as the pantomime villain poised to spoil the fairytale.

Luka Mezgec will now step up to lead Orica-GreenEDGE in the sprints after the young Caleb Ewan left the race last week and will be a danger to the bigger favourites. Mezgec’s wins often come off the back of a tough day in the saddle, so today does not quite fulfil that requirement, but the attritional nature of a grand tour will compensate for this somewhat. Should the Australian outfit miss the day’s breakaway, it seems obvious they will contribute some riders to bring the escapees back, but their focus upon the safety of Esteban Chaves will limit this to a degree.
EDIT – Mezgec has since retired from the race due to a fractured scaphoid.

Alexander Porsev has seen his consistent sprinting at the Giro d’Italia up to now attract him little press, yet few have featured so regularly in the spinrts as the Russian thus far. With a greater reduction in the strength of his rival team’s leadout trains by this point of the race, Porsev may find life a little easier with less wheels to negotiate his way to the front, especially given his small sprint support here.

The breakaway has the potential to cause real trouble here, as the number of teams truly committed to bringing things back together is essentially limited to Trek-Segafredo and Lampre-Merida. Nicola BoemRamunas NavardauskasPim Ligthart and Svein Tuft are just some riders who may have exited yesterday’s tough stage in a strong enough condition to challenge here.

Outcome:

1st Giacomo Nizzolo 2nd Sacha Modolo 3rd Alexander Porsev