• Rúben Silva

Tour de Suisse Stage 9 Preview

Updated: Jun 29, 2019

Yves Lampaert took a brilliant win the race's second individual time-trial after an early start and perhaps benefiting from the fatigue of some of the other contenders. Of the GC men Dennis was obviously the fastest but his margin wasn't as big as thought, in fact the fastest excluding the Australian was Bernal, 11th despite almost crashing near the end, lost only 19 seconds and stays in yellow confortably. Besides those it was very balanced between the others, no more than a bit of time between each other.

Positive: Bernal was the undeniable winner of the day. He won't even have to go on the attacks as he kept the lead confortably and distanced all the other riders, it was a brilliant test ahead of the Tour and his confidence will be sky high after this race overall. Kamna, and Soler had a better day recovering a bit of time.

Negative: The win can't be blamed, but Dennis seemed to lack the power of the begining of the race. Fatigue is a factor but seeing how well Bernal rode I can't help feeling more time could have been dealt. Pozzovivo too, for the fight for the podium he didn't loose as much ground but he dropped some time and podium looks to be too far for the Italian, I had seen a leap in his time-trialing last year but 2019 is proving a much more dificult challenge.

The Route

There's been a change in the day's route and arguably it's been made even more explosive than it already was, instead of Goms the stage will make a loop around the town of Ulrichen, right by the previous.

The day literally starts off climbing hard with the brutal Nufenenpass, arguably the hardest climb of the day and the peloton is set to explode right there as it's a climb hard enough to make serious differences even between the GC contenders, but it's unlikely they'll make a move that early, at leat the Top10 riders.

The riders will then descend to Airolo where they will once again climb the San Gottardo, exactly the same as the stage 7 finish. Normally it would be target of criticism for repeating a climb as such but I think no-one can complain as it's one of the best looking climbs in the Alps. It's hard enough as we saw to make serious moves and it summits with 52Km to go.

The final climb of the day is the Furkapass and it doesn't get any easier. Summits with 26Km to go at over 2400 meters of altitude in a short spiked day, should be the place where a great show will occur, the final climb of the race and if there wasn't damage done until now it's the final chance for it.

After there is a technical descent and a short flat run-in back to Ulrichen.

The Weather

Will be good, cold but sunny and as it's the last stage getting sick isn't something to be concerned about.

The Favourites

Well I was expecting Dennis to take the lead, and for INEOS to attack the stage hard, Dennis to have Pozzovivo's support to try and keep the lead, but at least to keep second place. But, that's far from the situation, Dennis isn't in the lead and isn't in a small range, Bernal has no need to attack so INEOS will likely just control the race by tempo, if Bernal needs to go alone he can handle the situation. Dennis will be defensive, he can form alliances with some other as he's strong enough, and who can attack well let's see, it's pretty much going to be a battle of the riders in the Top10 tomorrow.

Pozzovivo to attack I don't know, only if Dennis is feeling very good and is able to ride with the main men, to attack and blow up his teammates chances would be stupid so the duo will wait for the final climb if any move is to be made. Konrad will also be defensive, wouldn't be surprised by an alliance between Bahrain and him.

Benoot, Hirt, they are close to the podium, they may wait but will give everything they've got until the finale of the Furkapass, as for Mas and Spilak I expect the offensive racing to come from them.

Outside of those, honestly, I think there's a big gap to everyone else. Men like Betancur, Roche, they don't have the legs to attack the race, far from it, and they are having great results they'll want to keep, and the same scenario with the riders behind (Kamna, Schelling, Aru coming back, etc). One that will likely try is Soler, 15th right now in the overall, he's got nothing to loose really so I suspect he'll try to move on the first climb of the day.

Some riders like Rui Costa, Matthias Frank, Antwan Tolhoek. Also Pierre Latour, Hugh Carthy and why not Kasper Asgreen!

Prediction Time

Bernal, R.Costa, Carthy

Mas, Spilak, Konrad, Benoot

Dennis, Pozzovivo, Hirt, Soler, Frank, Tolhoek, Asgreen

I'll go with a little outsider bet, with INEOS set to likely control the race it'll be to the advantage of a breakaway, or a rider who can benefit from moment of suspicion between the GC riders. The Portuguese entered the race sick, but he didn't look very bad in the Flumserberg and looks to be recovering, plus he's been saving himself, clearly targetting now the final stage. He always goes well in Suisse, if not a GC result then maybe a stage win.

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