204.5km of lumpy road that finishes with 1km at 4.8%. It’s a chance for the puncheurs to get involved and there’s a strong chance of some sketchy racing as the riders fight position on narrow, twisting roads.
Today’s stage was probably the best yet with a breakaway that went much further than expected and a sprint that wasn’t decided until the very final moment. As I predicted Demare was nowhere to be seen and Kittel again finished strongly winning our match up bet. The long-shot on Cavendish was looking good until the flamme rouge where he was struggling to hold the wheels. He had good position but simply doesn’t have the legs yet. Today was a much better performance from him and I’ll definitely be jumping in again on Cav when his odds inevitably drift out to the 30 mark.
Tomorrow’s stage should be an interesting one. The run-in is very technical and there are some rough, narrow roads that will make positioning vital. On paper this stage is made for Peter Sagan and with the form he’s in it would be tough to bet against him. Key to the final kilometre is the 4.8% average which brings into play a number of riders we haven’t seen too much of so far. Greg van Avermaet will fancy his chances of taking a win while in the yellow jersey and Michael Matthews and Sonny Colbrelli will be licking there lips at a finish that could really suit their styles. This is also a great chance for Philip Gilbert to take the stage win and the maillot jaune and so QS will be incredibly motivated to keep the race hard. Equally talented is Julian Alaphilippe however I suspect he would prefer a slightly harder finish.
Tomorrow really depends on which teams want to take it up. The stage is up and down for 98km and so there’s plenty of opportunity to rip it to shreds however I think the collective strength of a number of teams will mean that it’s hard to make any gaps stick. I would love to see Gilbert rewarded for his team efforts so far this year but I don’t think the final climb or the stage as a whole is hard enough for him. Instead I think it will be Peter Sagan who takes the stage.
The odds for Sagan are a bit too short for my liking so I’m going to leave the outright bets alone tomorrow. Instead I’ve gone with Demare to beat Gaviria. I think the stage will be too tough for Gaviria while Demare has improved markedly in hilly races over the past couple of seasons. He had a tough start to the race with crashes and as expected was off the pace in the straight line sprinting of today. Tomorrow is very different and I think he will fancy it.
2pts on Arnaud Demare tb Fernando Gaviria at 2 (unibet)
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