Stage 9 Preview
So my stage 9 predictions went pretty well. The excitement in me as my 66/1 pick Konig went for it after others including Anton had giving it a go was simply awesome. Just like in California he had the gears and his time trialling skills came in really useful as he flew past Anton with under a km to go and Basso chased with Moreno, Roche and Pinot. Pinot looks in shape again and these sort of stages will be his fancy but Konig looked stronger than him today when he tried to follow.
Nibali is rumoured to have dropped his chain on the climb and lost a handful of seconds to a few on the field. Roche being in the big break moved up into the leaders jersey. Konig moved up as well with his victory while Moreno and Basso announced that they are not just here for the fun of it. Its actually a sign of how strong Basso is right now that he went with a move today as he is more of grinder than one who attacks. He will be hoping he won’t peak too early here.
Stage 9 presents a different test to the one on Saturday. We get another climbing finish but its a short wall test seen in the Vuelta before. The pace into the wall will be quick as they will arrive from the downhill from the days only proper climb over Los Fralle about 6.2km at under 6%, so I don’t feel the race will be made here.. Both 2010 and 2011 were won by very light riders Anton and Rodriguez. The climb is about 800-900 metres and climbs about 80-90metres so its around the 10% mark with some steep ramps hitting past 20%. You need some serious legs to make it up in one piece.
In 2011 Rodriguez had team mate Moreno hit the front only Nibali and Poels managed to follow that move. With Roche in red now i do believe Saxo will be interested in chasing a break. Roche rode this climb in 10 and 2011 and was in top 10 both times, if he does same again then Moreno would need to win to take the red off him. With the race now reaching its half way point their is still about 20-30 riders with top 10 ambitions here. I think we will see another 2 or 3 tossed out here and losing about a minute. Betancur would have surely been involved had he been race fit but he is a bit overweight for this at the moment, team mate Pozzovivo could have a card to play the flyweight has not looked fully wound up but should suit this steep climb. Anton has won here before but is he the same rider he was in 2010 probably not and today his attack folded in the final km a match burnt.
Gilbert has been discussed for this but I don’t see him contending. The old Gilbert who managed these climbs would have never had a problem coming off Stybars wheel so there is no doubt for me hes not in the full swing of thing. Horner is one who could go well. He has got a similar build to the flyweights and he already has a stage win to his name. Ulissi is one who interests me hunting stages for Lampre, he crashed on Saturday but seemed ok and should be well rested.
.25pts Horner 22/1 boylesports (28s betfair)
.1pts Ulissi 66/1 paddy power
.1pt Pozzovivo 40/1 various
2pts Ulissi to beat Huzarski 17/20 bet365
1pt Henao to beat Valverde 2.85 pinnacle
1pts De Clercq to beat Zubledia 2.85 pinnacle
2pt Horner to beat Konig 1/2 888sport
1.5pts Mollema to beat S.Sanchez 1.84 pinnacle
2pts Majka to beat Anton 2.3 pinnacle