Reims – Nancy
Date: July 9, 2019
There are just two fourth-category climbs on route but nothing difficult at all, the second, the Côte de Maron, comes just 16km from the finish, but won’t be enough to trouble the sprinters. There is a tricky u-turn to negotiate inside the last 2kms and the finish will be in to a slight headwind.
This is one for the pure sprinters and there are plenty of them here with their top leadout teams, so we should be treated to quite a battle.
Dylan Groenewegen looks to be the fastest sprinter in the peloton this year and won two stages in the Tour last year. His chances are complicated somewhat by the fact he crashed on Saturday in the final 2kms, could he still be feeling the affects of that? They lost the yellow jersey today to Alaphilippe, so they won’t be having to look after Teunissen tomorrow, but they will need to make sure that Kruijswijk stays safe as he is currently the best-placed GC man.
Elia Viviani looked keen and fast at the intermediate sprint on stage 3, beating Sagan to take the 10pts that were left after the break. He will have the full services of the team, and they just happen to be one of the best leadout teams in the business.
Yves Lampaert, Max Richeze and Mikel Morkov will pick it up with 5kms to go and will get him in the best position possible hitting the last 250m, and he should definitely be right up there fighting for the win. The team will be buzzing after Alaphilippe’s stage win and yellow jersey so expect them to be flying tomorrow.
Caleb Ewan was a double stage winner in the Giro and is here just to try to win stages in the opening week. He was close in stage 1, taking 3rd, but got blocked close to the finish line, he might have been closer. He has a good team to lead him out too, but they need to hide away a bit longer this time, they took it up far too early in stage 1 and then weren’t really there for him at the finish. He will be close though, his aero sprinting position will be a help in to the headwind on the final straight.
Peter Sagan also has a superbly strong team with him, and you just know that he’ll get himself in to a great position on the wheels of Deceuninck and Lotto-Soudal going in to the finishing straight and he’ll probably kick early to see if he can power it to the finish and hold them all off. He showed in stages 1 and 3 just how strong he is, and although he might not be the fastest flat finish sprinter, he won’t be far off at all.
Michael Matthews sprinted brilliantly up the hill today, I thought he seemed to be a little off his best level so far in this race, but that was impressive from him. He’d have liked a tougher finish though, there will be too many that are faster than him on a flat finish like this.
And the same could be said about Sonny Colbrelli and Matteo Trentin. Giacomo Nizzolo seems to be in good form though, he managed an impressive 4th in stage 1, he wasn’t far off at all. He won his first race for a year at the Tour of Oman this year on a flat sprint, and then took another win in the Tour of Slovenia on a flat finish and a 2nd place on the first stage behind Pascal Ackermann.
Alexander Kristofff, Christophe Laporte, Jasper Philipsen, Andre Greipel and Daryl Impey might all be fighting for the top 10 places too, but I think this is could be an Italian day with Elia Viviani taking the win and Giacomo Nizzolo a big-priced outsider to fight for an each-way place.
- 2pts win Elia Vivani at +225
- 0.5pts each-way on Giacomo Nizzolo at +2200