Article submitted by twitter user @cyclingbolar

As expected yesterday was a sprint finish.

Onto today, the first mountaintop finish of the race. The climbs aren’t steep but they are long and with the heat, riders are going to struggle. The break has a good chance to make it all the way today, especially if it’s only Sky leading the peloton. I do expect Movistar to chase though, and expect it to be a GC showdown because Alejandro Valverde wants this stage.

Alejandro Valverde $3.50/$1.50 – This is the stage he is targeting. Movistar have a strong team and need results, especially in their home tour. Valverde and Quintana should be attacking today. Nairo Quintana $21/$4 may go first to soften things up and then Valverde follows wheels, so Quintana can’t be discounted. They also have Richard Carapaz $41/$11 whom can launch an attack and get away.

Michael Kwiatkowski $8.50/$2.50 – The Pole is in good form and he went too early on stage 2. The other contenders are better climbers than him, but with his form he is currently in, he can’t be discounted.

Simon Yates $15/$3.75 – After his performance in the Giro, he is the one to look for here. His odds are good. Mitchelton have Jack Haig whom will guide Yates far into the climb. I expect Simon to launch an attack at some point. If he does, he has a good chance to go away.

George Bennett $21/$4 – The Kiwi arrives as leader of Lotto NL Jumbo and his form seems to be good. He doesn’t struggle with the heat and he is a good chance to finish on the podium overall at the end of the race.

Miguel Angel Lopez $21/$4 – The Colombian leads the Astana team and he arrives at this race in good form. He has a strong team to support him. Expect him to be on the offensive today.

As mentioned, the break is a good chance to win.

Luis Angel Mate $101/$23 will probably be in the break again to pick up more KOM points. Team-mate Jose Herrada $251/$51 will try and join him. 4 minutes down, he will be allowed up the road and Cofidis are hunting stage wins and he might try to defend Mate’s jersey should Mate not be there.

Vincenzo Nibali $151/$29 is looking for stages. He is not here for the overall so he is looking to get his legs right for the World Championships, which is a major goal. If he makes the break, he is going to be one of the better climbers there.

Teijs Benoot $29/$6 is also hunting stages and this is pefect for him. We also can’t not mention his team-mate Thomas De Gendt $26/$5. Has been on the attack already and is a breakaway specialist. Will be disappointed he couldn’t land a stage at the Tour de France and will be motivated to land one here.

With Richie Porte out of contention, BMC will be looking for stage wins and both Dylan Teuns $21/$4 and Alessandro de Marchi $29/$6 are in good enough form to win this stage. Both will try and get in the break and I will be shocked if one isn’t there.

Pierre Rolland $21/$4 has been in the break on the last two stages and will no doubt try again. He is a solid climber and his form looks to be good, so I can see him challenging for the win if he is in the break. It will take a lot to drop him.

Also look to the continental team riders such as Mikel Bizkarra $81/$21 and the Caja Rural Team with riders like Alex Aranburu $251/$51, Jonathan Lastra $251/$51 and Antonio Molina $501/$126.

I do think the early break will be caught and it will be Simon Yates taking the stage with a well timed attack.

Predictions

  1. Simon Yates
  2. Alejandro Valverde
  3. Miguel Angel Lopez

Bets 

Odds found at Bet Easy

Simon Yates @ $15 (1)

Simon Yates over Thibaut Pinot @ $2 (9) – I really like this one. Pinot struggles in the heat and Yates if in the Giro form, will win this matchup.