"On paper, this stage looks quite challenging," head sports director at Mitchelton-Scott, Matt White, tells Cyclingnews. "There are over 3,300 metres of climbing, and when you consider that this is the first heavy effort of the season for many of the riders, it could be enough to cause some damage within the peloton.
"The finishing circuit is going to be decisive, and overall this is going to be a solid day of racing and one that should separate the men from the boys," he continues. "What will be interesting to see is who controls the race, because a sprinter should still be in the leader's jersey, but is he willing to commit to keep the jersey on such difficult terrain? The answer depends on who it is and which team they are, because you don't want to burn off your team if your plan is to then concentrate on the sprint. This could open up the race for some potential GC action in the final."