Each stage, the Rouleur panel of ‘experts’ will give their picks for the following day’s race. Top tipster Cycling Mole, meanwhile, will dismantle our choices and give his own prediction for the likely winner. Who will win?
Stage 6: 155km, Huércal-Overa to San Javier. Mar Menor
Nacer Bouhanni – Cofidis
I might have been the only one, but I believed Bouhanni when he said a dropped chain cost him stage 3. Anyone got any magic beans to sell me?
Max Walscheid – Sunweb
La Vuelta have described the profile of stage 6 as flat and for once it almost actually is. So I’m going to hedge my bets on Walscheid again…
Elia Viviani – Quick Step
The Italian champion brought home the goods for me on stage three. I’m sticking with my man.
Giacomo Nizzolo – Trek-Segafredo
It would be a feel-good triumph if the former Italian champion finally took a Grand Tour stage win after so many podium stage placings on his home race and a 2017 season derailed by knee problems. However, he’ll need something up his sleeve to get the run on Viviani – who consigned him to yet another runner-up finish on day three – and Sagan.
Danny van Poppel – LottoNL-Jumbo
It’s a tough call being a sprinter when your father was one of the best in the business. Jean-Paul scored 22 Grand Tour stage victories, while the younger of his two sons has just the one so far, and that was back in 2015. No matter. Time to double that tally.
At last an easy sprint stage! After struggling through the opening stages, the quick men will be licking their lips at this stage. One little word of warning, as the riders turn left and head to the finishing line we have the chance of crosswinds. That being said, a big sprint is the most likely outcome.
Nick – it’s good to see someone go with Bouhanni. After a horrible season, he’s in Spain looking to find redemption. He doesn’t have a sprint train, making it very hard to win the stage, but he could make the podium.
Hannah – the pick of Walsheid is a strange one. The German will have been struggling this week, which will have slowed down his sprint. Even on top form, he will struggle against the other sprinters here, as this isn’t the Tour of Hainan!
Hugo – no surprises with the pick of Viviani. The Italian is enjoying his best ever season and Quick Step have the fastest sprint train.
Andy – after a strong showing on Monday, it makes a lot of sense to go with Nizzolo. The problem is that he’s very unlikely to beat Sagan and Viviani, but you got to try!
Ian – I’m a big fan of Van Poppel. His power numbers are very similar to Dylan Groenewegen, but he doesn’t have the same number of wins. When he gets it right, he’s hard to stop.
My pick – I find it surprising that no one has picked Sagan, but who am I to judge? I’ll go with Viviani, he’ll be very hard to beat.
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