An excruciating Stage 8 saw our 33/1 pick Ilnur Zakarin close to odds on in running as he made the day’s breakaway as hoped and then took the race by the scruff on the day’s big climb. Unfortunately his going downhill was only marginally faster than his going uphill and he blew an apparently open goal. Even worse his efforts to get back to the lead, having looked likely to succeed, again cracked on another descent and fourth place was only good enough for an each way return with a handful of bookies.
Never mind, we’ll try again with another classic Pyrenean stage featuring a series of major climbs. The yellow jersey race will rage further with our pick Tadej Pogacar likely to continue yesterday’s fruitful attacks.
That said, another breakaway seems pretty likely and on yesterday’s evidence may well be allowed to succeed.
Regular breakaway merchants like Thomas de Gendt and Omar Fraile can be considered, but of the regulars it may be Zakarin’s team mate Alessandro De Marchi who bids for compensation and can be expected to make the break. A good climber and crucially a good descender, he has a lively chance.
We’d like Lennard Kamna, as a promising young rider, but the Bora team still have objectives for the green jersey, and also have Buchmann still in feasible GC contention, so we may need to wait longer for young Kamna to be give free reign.
One team who will now be looking to pot hunt has to be Groupama-FDJ after the annual collapse of Thibault Pinot in yesterday’s stage. It looks unlikely that Pinot can bounce back so quickly, but he was accompanied in yesterday’s near half hour loss by his main teammates. In particular, Swiss climbing ace Sebastian Reichenbach will have had a day coasting alongside the stricken Pinot having been climbing right up with the main GC guys on the previous hilly stages.
He can’t have taken much out of himself, is miles out of contention now, but is clearly in great shape. The team will need to get active now, and he could be a very dangerous contender if allowed to get away as part of an early break.
S Reichenbach, to win Stage 9 of the TdF, 1pt win, 66/1
A de Marchi, to win Stage 9 of the TdF, 1pt win, 50/1
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