A short and intense 108km as the riders continue through the alps. This stage is a carbon copy of the 6th stage in this years Criterium du Dauphine.
Today was the first true mountain stage and as so often happens it was a bit of a standoff between the GC men and their teams. Alaphilippe was the winner on the day taking a minute and a half out of the breakaway which he’d been highly influential in forming. Of the major GC players no-one lost time although Valverde looked to be struggling over the top of the Col de Romme and the likes of Mollema, Uran and Zakarin faltered at the first hurdle and came in a minute down on the Froome group.
Onto tomorrow and it should be another intriguing day. The GC guys were really quite tentative today, none of them putting out any serious attacks. In the Dauphine, Pello Bilbao won from the breakaway, holding off a GC group which was headed up by Geraint Thomas. On paper it’s not a particularly hard day but being so short there’s a chance a team will want to take it up early and put the hurt on. The final climb has a pretty benign 4.7% average gradient but this masks a middle 6km which average over 8%. It’s a tough climb and being a summit finish the GC guys will feel more comfortable in their ability to hold an advantage to the finish. In my opinion this suits Dan Martin down to the ground. He was outdone by Thomas at the Dauphine but is in better form here and will back himself to take it up in the final kilometre.
If it turns into a another GC stalemate then this could be the day for Warren Barguil who has said in the press that he has been targeting the next couple of stages (although this is hard to believe when in that same interview he said he was going to deliberately lose time today only to go and attack the GC group). Otherwise I think Tom Skujins is likely to want to get up the road for mountains points and has been in great form so far. Damiano Caruso could also go well being the only BMC rider currently capable of winning a stage (bar TVG who I think will wait until he’s over his crash before going hunting). Pierre Rolland could also go well here although I think he would prefer a longer stage, he’s not the most explosive rider and will struggle against others with more punch. We could well see Gesink and Pauwels going for it again tomorrow but surely today will have taken too much out of them.
It’s a tough one to call but there’s no chance you’ll see me going near prices as short as 6s or 7s for the likes of Barguil or Quintana. Instead I’ve gone with Dan Martin in the case of a GC sprint and Tom Skujins as my outsider for a breakaway.
1pts on Dan Martin to win at 15 (bet365)
0.1pts on Tom Skujins to win at 251 (bet365)
Thanks for reading, I may well add a couple more small outsiders as more prices come out so keep checking back or head over to my Twitter @eachwayvelo