Today’s stage looks most likely like a breakaway. Sky won’t chase, and the guys that suit this climb like Alejandro Valverde are far enough down to go in the break.

Let’s assume the break takes this, then these riders will be the ones eyeing it.

Julian Alaphilippe ($4/$1.80) – As he is going for the KOM jersey, he should actually save his energy today and go in the break tomorrow, but this finish suits him. If he is in the break, he is going to very hard to beat as no one will be able to outsprint him unless the following rider is there.

Alejandro Valverde ($17/$4) – He is far enough down that he can go in the break today. If he does, then he is definitely one of the favourites for the stage. Maybe Movistar might chase the break instead knowing this is perfect for Valverde?

Omar Fraile ($17/$4) – The Spaniard is well suited to this finale. Astana have sent men up the road on the last few mountain stages to help Fuglsang later in the stage, but Fraile was never one of them. So he has kept his powder dry. Maybe for this stage?

Ion Izagirre ($26/$7) & Gorka Izagirre – With Nibali out, Bahrain are going for stage wins. The Izagirre brothers have been going in the breaks but they haven’t really been that strong. But this finish does suit Gorka.

Lilian Calmejane ($34/$9) – Has been active in the breaks and looking for a stage win. Is he good enough?

Jelle Vanendert ($34/$9) – Final climb suits him and I’ve expected him to be in breakaways but he hasn’t been. So he is probably keeping his power dry for this stage.

David Gaudu ($41/$11) – Has been in the breaks and is strong enough to contend for the win here. Rudy Molard ($51/$13) from the same team also will look to try something and it does suit him.

Serge Pauwels ($67/$17) – It does suit him and I expect him to be there. He’s been chasing breaks and it will be a shock if he misses today’s.

Other guys that will look for a break are Mikel Nieve, Darwin Atapuma, Guillaume Martin, Tom-Jelte Slagter, Soren Kragh Anderson, Simon Geshke, Rafal Majka and a few others.

If it’s a GC day, then you can’t look past Valverde to take the win. Romain Bardet and Primoz Roglic are also good from the peloton. It does suit Dan Martin but he is struggling.

Bets I’m on at Crownbet Australia

Too many variables this stage. Just the one head to head

Alejandro Valverde over Dan Martin @ $1.95 (5)

Predictions

Break takes it and Alaphilippe takes his second stage victory

  1. Julian Alaphilippe
  2. Serge Pauwels
  3. Jelle Vanendert