He who must not be named - Casinos - Lutsenko
Good thing I didn’t start up that Sportsbet account two days ago as I would be in the negative after my predictions last night. We got the “good day for the breakaway” part right but the personnel not so much. Perhaps we overestimated the quality of the potential break, not taking any credit away from the riders in it which included Alaphilippe and former u23 World Champion Alexey Lutsenko. Davide Villella, took more points in the KOM to keep the climbers jersey and unlike 2013 Trofeo Piva on the KOM climb, he didn’t grab anyone (Caleb Ewan) by the helmet and try to throw them against the wall. Bravo Davide! Contador’s performance was a talking point. I haven’t seen a rider bounce back from a dismal outing like his of stage 3 since Floyd Landis in the 2006 Tour de France. One thing is for sure, like Lord Voldemort, he just won’t go away and will keep fighting right till the death! Bardet lost 50 odd seconds to the Froome-Chaves group, possibly confirming our thoughts that he went too deep in July. Michael Woods was ultra-impressive finishing with the top favourites on a punchy finale well suited for the Canadian. In his second Grand Tour for the year and only his second ever so it will be interesting to follow his progress over the three weeks.
As expected there was a large group that went clear in the early stages of the race with 17 riders making the days fuga. With a parcour, that dished up five categorised climbs and many teams being represented in the break, the chasing was all left to team Sky who seemed happy for the escapees to battle it out for stage honours. The breakaway started to splinter in the final 40km, two former u23 world champions (Lutsenko, Mohoric) were joined by Haller forming the group that the victor of the stage would come from. Like all good team directors will tell you “NEVER GET DROPPED FROM THE BREAK”. And that’s exactly what the 22-year-old Mohoric did on a slight uprise after too much work in the valley. In layman’s terms it like trying to be a hero at pre-drinks and not making it out with the group. Young head on young shoulders. Lutsenko would drop Haller on the final climb and hold on for his first Grand Tour stage win. In the peloton, the final climb was lit up by team Sky, especially by Gianni Moscon who took his 10th wicket for the series. He has been the man who has most impressed me so far in the opening week. There were no real genuine attacks with Froome and Chaves looking the strongest and it was hard to not notice the ride from Bendigo’s Jack Haig who came in ahead of Nibali who lost 26 seconds to Froome. No doubt we will see the shark come up to 100% in the third week and claim some victims.
Today sees a similar profile as stage 4 with four Cat 3 climbs and a Cat 2 climb topping out with 36km to go being the last major obstacle of the day. With a comparable stage to yesterday, I expect the break away to succeed again. Like playing at the roulette table, we will spin with the same numbers as yesterday for riders to make the break - Majka, De Marchi, Kragh Andersen, Warbasse, S. Clarke, Costa, Jungles and Fraile. Similar to roulette, these stages are a lottery to pick the winner. Maybe Quickstep will try bringing it back together for a reduced bunch gallop for Alaphillipe if they are not represented in the escape. Costa from the break is our tip…. This is what is great about cycling, always so many unknowns, so many possible outcomes.
Jeee, like the riders I’m hanging for the rest day so I can stop churning out this nonsense for a day.
Trofeo Piva- A u23 Italian amateur race
Fuga- The breakaway
Parcour- The stage profile/ map
See you back at the social club