Tour of Romandie Stage 5 Preview
Primoz Roglic took his second win this week in a sprint on the summit of the climb to Torgnon, beating Rui Costa and Geraint Thomas. The climb was attacked by several riders, mainly David Gaudu and Emanuel Buchmann, but Roglic with Kruisjwijk assisting seemed to control every move, inside the final kilometer he followed Buchmann's move and followed him before launching his sprint.
Positive: Roglic looked flawless, strong and never in distress, having Kruisjwijk helped but he was the one to finish off the work. Gaudu rode very strongly, was agressive but couldn't distance the others, but he can't be blamed really. Hirt finished very strong, also the Katusha riders seemed good in comparison to what their season has looked like.
Negative: Movistar didn't have a top rider but had 3 in contention and none finished in the front group, the stage shortening didn't help the riders that had planned to attack early but still a disapointment, Damien Howson also looked good all week but failed to perform where it mattered the most. There wasn't any other significant disapointment, the expected riders performed despite the cold and rain.
And just like the prologue, the final time-trial doesn't come very flat. It will be a somewhat hilly one with a couple of punchy climbs before the intermediate point, and from there on it is mostly downhill and flat roads until the line, it is 17 kilometers long so there is definetely a lot of space to create gaps between the specialists and the non-specialists, and after a hard week of racing the recovery will also come to play as it will be a very intense effort.
Not as technical as the prologue but that would be terrifying for the riders. In terms of that it will be a much more relaxed aproach, but the route climbs much more which will make for the main challenge. Only 17 kilometers so the long straight to the finish isn't that big, but there will be some minutes there where it will be pure power.
Block tailwind for the final stretch, it will mean the speed differences won't be very noticeable in end which gives the begining and bulk of the time-trial the importance. Whoever gets to the intermediate split in first place will for sure win the time-trial which will mean it will favour the time-trialists who can climb, and the big name is obvious isn't it.
Primoz Roglic really has everything it takes to win tomorrow. In 2017 he won a very similar time-trial here, his form looks good enough and his climbing prowess will give him an advantage over the other two main favourites.
Those are Stefan Kung who already won a stage this week in surprising circumstances, he is a very powerful rider and although a heavy one, he can go through these small pitches very well. The exact same can be said of Victor Campanaerts, both have essentially the same skillset and both are the best pure time-trialists in the race, Roglic's fatigue from the past stages may give them an edge if such exists.
Jumbo-Visma have Tony Martin and Jos van Emden, the longer distance will suit both better but they'll need a magical day to be able to beat the riders previously mentioned. Other double that can work well is Dylan van Baarle and Filipo Ganna, van Baarle has shown tremendous form this week and should like the uphill areas in the parcours, before taking advantage of his brute power on the flats. Also Geraint Thomas can be up for the job aswell, his motivation to enter the podium may provide the extra kick he needs but victory will be hard.
Baltic duo Jan Tratnik and Maciej Bodnar is to mention, Bodnar maybe past his prime but Tratnik just coming off a breakthrough World Tour win. There's Patrick Bevin and Joey Rosskopf of CCC also for a solid call, Damien Howson of Mitchelton and finally too Ryan Mullen.
⭐ Ganna, T.Martin, Mullen, Bodnar, Bevin, Rosskopf
He crashed on the prologue, tried during the week, karma says he is free to win tomorrow. I think he can do it, his super aero position will be something favourable in the headwind they will face for most of the time-trial, he can climb those steep pitches very well and his form is on spot, and honestly he deserves a win, and Kung/Roglic have had their glory this week.
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