The peloton here are about as reliable as that from the 2015 Giro!
They left the chase for the break too late and the early morning move stayed away to take the win for the second stage out of three.
It was young Koen Bouwman who sprinted to the win, with Siskevicius and Backaert rounding out the podium. Not a bad race to take your first professional victory in!
Behind Démare “won” the bunch sprint for 7th but I’m sure he’ll be bitterly disappointed knowing he could have and probably should have, taken another win.
Let’s have a look at what’s in store for the riders tomorrow.
We’ll see the first proper GC shake up with a relatively long ITT.
The official profile isn’t overly helpful, so instead I’ve made my own. As is TT tradition! However, I’ve used Cronoescalada this time instead of Strava.
You can view the interactive profile I made here.
As you can see, it’s not the toughest TT course ever but does include a few tricky climbs over its 23.5km.
The riders will actually lose more altitude than they gain over the route; 288m gain compared to a 378m loss.
The climbing can’t be discounted but it only makes up just over a fifth of the stage, so to me it seems that this stage is much more suited to the specialist time trial riders. The real powerful riders of the peloton who will be able to churn a big gear on the downhill sections.
Aside from when leaving the start town and entering the finish town the course is very straightforward, with very few turns where the riders will have to apply the breaks.
As is often is the case in TTs, the weather can play a massive part in the outcome of the stage.
Thankfully the riders should all face the same, fairly benign conditions. Should mean an even contest throughout the day!
Tony Martin – The current World Champion should be suited to this course perfectly. He’s strong enough to be able to flatten the few kilometres of hills we have but also able to churn out a massive amount of power on the flat/downhill sections. His form is a bit unknown, but he really should be the guy to beat.
Chris Froome – On paper this TT isn’t ideal for Froome, I’m sure he’d prefer the hills ever so slightly longer. Nonetheless, he can produce a very good flat TT when needed! It will be interesting to see where his form is less than a month out from the Tour. I mean, it’s very unlikely that he’ll be as low as his Romandie level but you never know!
Richie Porte – The former Aussie TT champ is also not averse to putting in a good “flat” time trial. Arguably one of the riders of the season so far, he’ll sprint up those climbs. Can he hold it together on the downhill? Is he willing to take many risks with the Tour not so far away?
Those three are the top of the pile but there are certainly a few others who can challenge.
Michal Kwiatkowski is no stranger to a good TT. He was strong in the discipline before moving to Sky but this season he seems to have re-found that good form. A very powerful rider and great bike handler, he has a great chance at the podium.
Edvald Boasson Hagen would probably prefer a shorter course but given his current for, he can’t be ruled out either.
Alejandro Valverde has gone well this season so far in TTs but they tend to involve more climbing than this one. Nonetheless, with the year he is having, you can’t write him off too early!
For a proper outsider…
The former U23 TT World Champion turned super-domestique certainly has the background and pedigree for this type of event. He rolled home today, possibly saving himself for days to come. If he gets the nod to go full gas, he could surprise!
I’m going to go for none of the big 3, instead, I’ll go for one of their team-mates: Kwiatkowski.
The Sky rider has regained his mojo this season and is now riding with a lot of confidence again which will be a huge lift to his performance. Returning from training camp with Froome, he has been attentive at the front of every stage so far which makes me think he’s going well. It would be of benefit for Sky to have two riders high on GC and I’m sure Kwiatkowski would happily oblige!
1.3pt EW Kwiatkowski @ 18/1
0.2pt EW Howson @ 300/1
(Both 365, 1/5 odds)
Thanks as always for reading. Who do you think will win tomorrow? If you’ve not already, check out my preview for the first stage of the women’s tour! Anyway,
Those were My Two Spokes Worth.