The peloton is very wicked
That’s the only conclusion one can draw, because they don’t get much rest. It was a rest day yesterday, but that still involves a couple of hours on the bike to remind their legs that there’s plenty more to do.
Today, it’s back to work and already there’s some serious climbing to be done, as can be seen in the video below:
Don’t let Dan Lloyd persuade you that this stage might only be hard because he’s not as fit as he was. I saw him skip up the Morridge climb in one of his Tour of Britain previews last year and I know from experience that hill is unssuitable for skipping. It’s far more suited to wheezy breathing.
Even if they’re a bit steep, both today’s climbs are long enough for Sky to do their mountain train thing where they pound away at the front in a big long (but steadily diminishing) line. The idea is to find a pace which your main guy can just about maintain for a prolonged period, but which his rivals can’t. Team-mates put in extra effort and sacrifice themselves in order to achieve this. It’s basically a game of ‘last man standing’.
Of course, this only works if your guy (Wiggins) is the strongest. On shallower climbs, he will be, because he can produce more power – that’s why he’s good at time trials. However, as skinny as he is, he can’t help but be 6ft 3ins (190cm) and so he is therefore slightly heavier than his rivals. The steeper it gets, the more significant the weight part of your power-to-weight ratio becomes.
It may be that Team Sky try and shed rivals before it gets super steep. The second climb features a long false flat, a brief kick and then around 4km at 8%. Perhaps they’ll try and hurt lighter riders on this stretch.
By the way, there’s a slope at 20% on that final climb. Domenico Pozzovivo DOES like that. If he’s not been dropped before then, you could actually get to see him do something.