Another day around 3000 climbing meters. However, no real climbs. It should be one of the few chances for the sprinters. However, we saw on the first stage that a lot of teams are not willing to take the initiative. We have a few teams with a fast man. Will they take responsibility or will a breakaway slip away in the first hilly 65.9 km?
We are going from west to east.
The last five km.
I think this somehow will come down to a sprint. We have a technical finish in Otura. A descent will lead them into the last 2 km. The peloton will arrive there will high speed before turning right. The road will slowly rise from 1.9km -> 0.75km. but we are only talking about 3%.
Then, with 250 meters left, we have a right turn. It is very important to be in a good position here. From the corner to the finish line, we have 250 meters at 2.9%. Nothing too hard for the sprinters.
Once again, fantastic weather for the riders.
It is a mix between the sprinters and the breakaway. Who will chase? We have a hard start with three categorized climbs in the first 65.9 km. UAE only has five riders, they can not catch the breakaway alone. Quick-Step, who normally would do a great job at taking initiative does not have a designated sprinter. Intermarché will likely pace for Girmay, perhaps we will see EOLO for Albanese and Direct Energie for Bonifazio.
It is likely we see a breakaway victory tomorrow too.
Trentin should be the designated sprinter of UAE. I can see a scenario where he might have to help Covi. The team only has five starters after all. He is in his usual good February form which should lead to a good result.
Senechal is normally not fast enough to win a bunch sprint. He did well on stage 1, finishing with the main group. The Wolfpack does not bring their A-team when it comes to lead out, which I could see as a problem given the corner with 250 meters left.
Girmay tried once again to be in the finale but it was too hard in the end. Intermarche is doing a fantastic job keeping him in front. Taco van der Horn and Peák should be at his disposal, and I think he can score a very good result.
Albanese is not too slow either. Given the level of the sprinters here and not the best, I think he will have a good shot at finishing high on the stage. EOLO does not have the best lead-out either.
Bonifazio attacked the last downhill today. A bit weird, but it shows he has good legs.
Galvan should also be a rider we see tomorrow. He has picked up good results this February.
Velasco – Breakaway option #1
Durbridge – Breakaway option #2
Taco van der Hoorn – Breakaway option #3
Kämna – Breakaway option #4
Who will win?
I will take a shot with Senechal. He both has the option to go in the morning breakaway or win in a bunch sprint.