Each stage, the Rouleur panel of ‘experts’ will give their picks for the following day’s race.
David Hunter, AKA Cycling Mole, is a top tipster who spends far more time studying the odds than we do. In a daily battle of wits, Team Rouleur will give their predictions before Moley runs his scathing eye over them and comes up with his own. Who will win?
Stage 7: Puerto-Lumbreras to Pozo Alcón, 185km
Matteo Trentin – Mitchelton-Scott
Hardly a summit but this definitely counts as an uphill finish, so not one for the true sprinters. Tempted to go with one of the other Quick-Step riders but instead I’m plumping for an ex.
Tiesj Benoot – Lotto-Soudal
When in doubt what kind of day it could turn out to be pick a Belgian is my motto. Admittedly it’s not tried and tested, but I’m going to go with it.
Peter Sagan – Bora-Hansgrohe
The final 20km is tricky business, with a third category climb and a draggy run-in. I’m not totally convinced by Peter Sagan’s condition right now, but he does have a week’s racing under his belt. If he’s still there at the finish, it’s all his.
Daniel Moreno – EF Education First- Drapac
Eduard Prades – Euskadi-Murias
I’m going totally wildcard on this one. This man’s hit the form of his life lately: second on GC at Tour de Yorkshire and winner of Tour of Norway. Would be great to see one of the ‘little guys’ score something. And anyone who remembers the orange-clad Basque team of the 2000s loves Euskadi, don’t they?
On paper, it’s a sprint stage, but in reality this is the Vuelta! The stage is nice and easy, right up until the final 20km. We then have a typical Vuelta cat 3, followed by an unclassified lump and then a drag up to the finishing line. Yet again, this sprint finish is too hard for the sprinters.
Nick – the pick of Matteo Trentin is awful. The Italian is looking out of sorts, especially when the road goes uphill. This is not the 2017 edition of Trentin, he has no chance.
Hannah – at last, she’s getting the hang of it. Hannah has gone with my buddy, Tiesj Benoot. Her logic might be debatable, but this is a good finish for the Strade Bianche winner. He’ll love the final climbs and packs a fast sprint.
Hugo – these writers are still thinking that Sagan is on form. The World Champion is a shadow of himself, the finish will be too hard for him.
Andy – I’ve seen many people make Andy’s mistake. In a grand tour, the vast majority of riders are here to work for a team leader. Dani Moreno is a fine cyclist, but he will be working for Uran and won’t have freedom to chase personal glory.
Ian – poor Ian, he’s following his heart and not his head. Prades has enjoyed a good season, but we’re talking about a Grand Tour stage. If you hang around for five minutes, you might just see him crossing the finishing line.
My pick – sometimes cycling is very easy, it has to be another win for Alejandro Valverde. The Murcia man is riding on home roads, we all know he’s going to win!