Time Trial day. The penultimate stage of the race sees the riders face a 31km individual TT across a tough course that includes 4 notable climbs.
Today was the last day for the climbers to make the difference but despite Bardet, Landa and Zakarin’s best efforts Thomas remained too strong and lost only 19 seconds to Roglic who managed to glide off the front on the descent.
While the yellow jersey looks all but wrapped up there is still a very tight battle for the podium as Dumoulin, Roglic and Froome are all seperated by less than 40 seconds. On paper they’re all great time triallers but tomorrow could be a different test with it’s steep, irregular climbs.
World time trial champion Tom Dumoulin is clearly favourite tomorrow. His World TT win was on a course with a punchy climb at the end so the hills tomorrow won’t faze him. He’ll have had this stage penned in as both a place to pick up a stage win and take time on GC. He hasn’t shown any weakness in the race so far and I fancy him heavily for tomorrow.
As it happens his biggest competition is the man closest to him on GC, Primoz Roglic. He was the man to come closest to Dumoulin back at that World Champs and will also like the technical, up and down nature of this course. He’s looked stronger as the race has progressed and his confidence will be sky high after dictating tempo on the Aubisque before clipping away for the stage win. I think Dumoulin edges it but there’s no doubt it’ll be close.
Outside of these two it’s tough to see who else can win. The Sky boys Froome and Thomas will definitely go well and I think we could see Thomas continuing his great form and edging out Froome on this course. I’m also expecting a strong ride from Bernal, who despite being in his first GT is still riding strong right into the third week. Last but not least of the Sky boys is Kwiatkowski although I think the distance might get to him and I think he’s been tiring into this third week of racing.
Zakarin has improved throughout the race and tomorrow could see him leapfrog Quintana in the GC standings while Jungels could also fancy himself for a strong time but I think the top 1o out of reach, going in over 5 minutes down.
Of the non-GC guys the a few that might fancy their chances and put in a solid ride. Edvald Boasson Hagen put in his best sprint performance 2 days ago and go will in a punchy time trial like this. Stefan Kung is one of the most powerful in the peloton but would prefer a flatter course. The same can be said of QS’s powerhouse pairing of Terpstra and Lampaert and last year’s time trial winner Maciej Bodnar.
Betting-wise there’s not a huge amount of value in backing either of Dumoulin or Roglic so I’m just going with a h2h for now. Zakarin has looked to be gaining strength and is a great time trialler, a discipline in which Kruiswijk has never been much of a specialist. I think 2.5 for Zaka to win is way too big so that’s what we’re going with.
3pts on Ilnur Zakarin tb Steven Kruiswijk @ 2.5 (bet365)
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