• Rúben Silva

Gree - Tour of Guangxi Stage 5 Preview

The queen stage of the race proved it's status, more so as the climb was extended leaving it for a total of 4.4Km, this really benefited the climbers which unsurprisingly ruled with the new circumstances to play. It was a calm day in general, in the base of the climb Deceuninck played their first card in Cavagna, he was caught and past the supposed finish line Dani Martinez attacked, Tolhoek too later with Mas and Martinez and as the first one cracked, Mas easily won in a sprint in the final meters in a quite steep road to the finish gaining a second on Martinez and 8 on Diego Rosa who finished third, and the overall is shaped the same.

Positive: No big surprises, the extension favoured the climbers so the expectation is that they fill the top places, Tusveld and Koch some nice surprises in the first places.

Negative: Guillaume Martin absolutely, a bad day I'll assume as he seemed to spark the race the most so far, Riabushenko another negative surprise as he was nowhere near the front.

The Route

Initially I thought this stage could be lit up as the gaps would be quite short after the summit finish but they ended up much bigger than expected, I believed in the opportunity for some riders to try their luck in the climbs but the scenario is less likely now. That could make the stage interesting, however the sprinter teams will surely get in the fight to bring it all back if needed to deliver another one for the fast men if it's needed.. The difference in this stage comes in it's lenght, after a long long season there are riders who just can't be at their best racing over 215 kilometers, specially if they are raced hard.

The Weather

Read previous days, nothing to talk about here.

The Favourites

I thought at first the puncheurs and climbers, someone would try to make a move for the GC. At this point I would only see that coming from Astana as they've done so and it's just their type of racing, between Villella and Kudus maybe they'll have intentions of making a move as they don't really have anything to loose, perhaps that feeling in several riders, as the last race of the season, could motivate moves. I'd have a breakaway scenario as a possibility but the roads are very easy to chase here, and above all the distance is high which allows the teams to chase organised and there is a long way from the climbs to the finish.

However seeing how well riders like Trentin and Ackermann have been riding I have my serious doubts, Mitchelton may up the pace in the climb in order to distance the faster sprinters but they don't have a mega team for that honestly, only with support from a team like CCC would they be able to make damage but with Mareczko in the team they may withold, so riders like Ackermann and Bauhaus the Germans who made it in stage 3 should be there again as their form seems sharp.

As for the other sprinters it's pretty much a matter of sticking to the wheels, try to stay in the peloton and if not just have their teammates chase hard, should be possible to regain to the peloton. Gaviria included, this group has some of the other sprinters who have marked the previous stages such as Dan McLay, Jakub Mareczko and Jonas Koch, and Matteo Moschetti.

As for all others, Davide Ballerini, Timothy Dupont and Nikias Arndt are names to consider, whilst some engines like Cavagna, Campenaerts and Vanmarcke could be a threat if the peloton suffers throughout the day.

Prediction Time

Ackermann, Trentin

Gaviria, Bauhaus

Koch, Mareczko, Ballerini, McLay, Moschetti, Vanmarcke

You know what, I'm not gonna fall into a curse, I touted him twice and he finished second both times, and then next day he won. I couldn't deal with it if he won again tomorrow so I'm going with him. Now watch him come second ;)

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