Sam Bennett and his Bora-Argon 18 team will be licking their lips at this one: a pan-flat stage that’s most likely going to end in a bunch sprint.
The Carrick on Suir man is one of the fastest in the world right now and if his teammates can get him to the line in reasonable shape, it might be Sam’s best chance of a stage win.
This is a day where Dan Martin (pictured below) could take the yellow jersey. The time he’s going to lose to the fastest men in today’s individual time-trial may be less than the time he’ll gain on the final ramp up to the finish at Huy on Monday.
It’s a finishing circuit the Garmin-Cannondale man knows well, having gone agonisingly close to winning Fleche-Wallone on it a few times.
A nailed-on cert for a bunch gallop and if Bennett has recovered from the previous day on the cobbles, he could well be in contention here.
It’s up and down day all day today with two category two climbs and two category four ramps to negotiate.
The final kick up to the finish in Mende is ugly, however, and has an average gradient of more than 10% for three kilometres. It reaches a maximum gradient of 13% and if Dan has his climbing legs, he’ll love the look of this.
A lot will depend on where he sits on GC but either way, the parcours looks perfect for Dan. That means one thing, climbing, and lots of it.
There’s a staggering seven climbs but if Martin is on the money, he’ll give it a lash.