After hectic stage 1 with crosswinds, we have the second-hardest stage on paper. It is hilly, but is it hilly enough to disrupt the sprinters? We 2146 climbing meters.
The two climbs
Col de la Mort D’Imbert (5 km at 3.6%) tops 60 km from the finish. It will be with a tailwind. Nothing the sprinters can’t handle.
Col de l’Aire Dei Masco (6.3 km at 4.6%) is the climb closer to the finish. It tops 27.5 km from the line.
From the top, we have rolling terrain to the finish line, which is rising a tiny bit too.
The last km. It is a 5% sprint.
After echelons, the wind is calmer for the second stage. We have wind coming from the south, 3-5 m/s. There are wind gusts that seem strong enough for another day for echelons, but the chance is definitely much smaller. Once again, blue skies and temperatures around 12-13 degrees C.
We had some teams getting their chances spoiled on stage 1. This means there are still sprinters who will look for the stage win. On the flip side, we do not have that many sprinters here. It means it will be up to INEOS, Groupama-FDJ, Cofidis and perhaps Israel – Premier Tech to keep it together. It means Quick-Step won’t. The likes of Movistar neither. I think there will be enough teams for a bunch sprint but I will not exclude the chance of the breakaway winning it.
Viviani with his first win for INEOS and the second consecutive win for the team. The team is now more or less out of the GC contention. Hayter lost more than 8 minutes and Carapaz got dropped under the Flamme Rouge after doing a fantastic job for the team. I can only imagine they give the Italian another shot tomorrow.
Demare missed the splits today. I assumed I learned a lesson, it is far easier making the splits if you have a strong team to help you with it. After an “easier” day than the rest, I wonder if the Frenchman is in form to battle for the win tomorrow.
Coquard missing the split today. What he lacks in the crosswinds for a sprinter, he makes up for in climbing. I expect Cofidis to play a major role in controlling the stage tomorrow. An uphill sprint suits him even better.
Battistella with a 5th place today. He normally performs better after a harder day. He seems to have good legs, and he should not have any trouble with the climbs tomorrow.
Alaphillipe tried to jump the gap to Bodnar but wisely got reeled back after INEOS put Ganna in front. The legs are good and he will look to score more bonus seconds. We saw today there is a big gap between the likes of him and Viviani in a flat out sprint but the climbing meters and the 5% will make that gap smaller.
Hayter lost a lot of time today. He must be the second option for INEOS tomorrow.
Who will win?
INEOS look good at the moment. Given their win today, they can put some pressure on the other teams to do the main pulling in the peleton which will allow them to have a decent leadout in the end. INEOS will win their third stage in a row.