Tour de Suisse Stage 6 Preview
Updated: Jun 20, 2019
Elia Viviani took his second win of the week in yet another strong sprint perfectly led out by Deceuninck. The stage saw Kung and Mohoric in the breakaway but only one more rider in Grellier so Bora didn't have an issue controlling the race. The trio were caught and it ended up being another pure sprint finish against the odds, where Deceuninck's superiority, in Asgreen/Lampaert/Morkov/Richeze, were able to deliver Viviani perfectly into the slight uphill technical finale, where he beat Sagan and had a big gap over 3rd placed.
Positive: Deceuninck had a proper leadout for Viviani in contrast of the Giro and perhaps it's what he needs. It's no shame depending on a leadout as long as he manages to deliver and from here he's taking his confidence back no doubt.
Negative: Nothing to point out in my eye.
Stage 6 is the first summit finish of the race and the first moment of the race that should settle serious gaps and see who will be in the fight for the win and who won't. The day in general is pretty flat, not completely but there's no serious climb to get some fatigue, and with it's only 121 kilometers in lenght it shouldn't be hard to control in case any team wants to go for the stage.
As for the final climb to Flumserberg it's quite a hard one. It's a constant one, it's 8.5Km long and has an average gradient of 9.1% and it pitches right up to the line with it's final 1.5Km at 10.5%. Pacing is key in this climb, and although being steep it will favour power climbers as it's a single-effort stage and it favours a constant pace throughout the final ascent.
A rainy day, not good news as it's set to be a rough race in terms of weather from now on. Luckily the wind won't be strong at all, if the gusts are felt it will come as a headwind mostly in the final climb, but in such gradients it will be all about the legs.
I would in normal circumstances point this as a good day for the breakaway but that has been far from the case so far, where all the breakaways seemed easily controlled. It's flat and the first mountain stage so I don't know which team would pick up the race to make sure the men in front are controlled, but perhaps Bora don't mind setting a good pace seeing they have Konrad in the team (I know it isn't the smartest move but I see it as a possibility).
With Geraint Thomas out and looking sharp, Egan Bernal is surely coming as the man to beat. Ever since joining INEOS he's had a good amount of injuries but always came back in great form, he's looked very good so far so there's no reason not to think of him for tomorrow, the steepness should also be to his liking.
The main competition should come from several sides, but not tomorrow. Of the riders targeting the Tour GC Enric Mas is the big gun to look at. His time-trial looked far from his best but he should be stronger tomorrow. Important to note it isn't necessary to be at top already, but Mas should be on a good enough level to challenge Bernal. Domenico Pozzovivo and Hugh Carthy coming from the Giro may be a bit of an unknown, but both finished the Giro in great form so they may have kept that sharpness.
Wilco Kelderman, Marc Soler should be strong pointing at the Tour, they have a good record in one-week races but have been having a tough season so far, if we are to consider rough seasons also Fabio Aru and Pierre Latour should be pointed out.
The Swiss, Mathias Frank has been very agressive so far and should be riding strong, and Simon Spilak the most Swiss Slovenian in the peloton is also expected to be riding in front and has won the race twice already so he knows what he's talking.
Bit of an outsider, Rohan Dennis for the stage no but he will surely be looking to test himself and can finish in the Top10 in a good day, he should like the single-effort stage it suits him. Brandon McNulty won the Giro di Sicilia and is looking to return to that great form, another power climber who should be fond of the effort for tomorrow. Astana have Jan Hirt and Merhawi Kudus as possibilities for the climb, UAE have too Sergio Henao who's looked good so far, and Rui Costa, who is reported with a virus, I'm not sure if he's recovered but if so is a rider with freedom for a breakaway or an early attack on the climb. There's also Patrick Konrad for Bora, Rob Britton may also be able to do something, and yeah I'll mention also Kasper Asgreen, why wouldn't I.
⭐ Soler, Frank, McNulty, Dennis, Kudus, Henao, Konrad, Asgreen
Since the begining Bernal already looked the best to me, and with Thomas out of the race it seems like a clear path for him to be the strongest in the mountains. Tomorrow may be the first day to see him win, I believe it.
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