A day that looks good for the sprinters. However, we do have a cat-4 climb quite close to the finish. We have 2427 climbing meters over 211.4 km which is quite hard. The profile below is doing a good job hiding the climbing meters. It is very rolling terrain in the first half of the stage. It will not be a walk in the park for the sprinters.
The riders head towards Spain before going south towards the finish.
It is not the hardest, but its 3.6 km at 4%, followed by 3.25 km at 3.7%. On paper to easy, but I think Intermarche and Cofidis would like to put pressure on Jakobsen and Merlier.
The last five km
Not too difficult, but an important corner with 500 meters to go. The road goes up towards the line, but nothing the sprinters can not handle.
The wind will blow tomorrow. I’m not certain it will be enough for echelons but they have crosswind/tailwind the whole day tomorrow. The wind, for now, seems quite calm towards the finish, blowing merely 2 m/s in Tavira but the closer they get to the cat-4 and São Brás de Alportel, the wind picks up. I’ve been on Google Maps and I doubt we will see echelons, the terrain does not look good enough.
Jakobsen has something the others do not have – Evenepoel. He might save himself (Remco) with the TT on Saturday, but Asgreen, Lampy, Bert and Evenepoel should give Jakobsen a very good lead-out.
Merlier was poorly positioned, as he did not hold his lead-out man’s wheel in the final (De Bondt). In the sprint, he was boxed and didn’t even bother to give it a go. I don’t think they have the team to challenge Quick-Step – he will need to be in Jakobsen’s wheel.
Kristoff is going to love tomorrow’s stage. Climbing meters, a chance of echelons and the length. Did he have to speed on the first stage to beat Jakobsen? I’m not sure but we never found out. He has good support – I expect a podium.
Coquard and Cofidis are likely to try something tomorrow. They have lost two riders, leaving them at five. It makes it harder for them to put the other sprinters under pressure and do a prober lead-out. The 3-4% sprint is very good news for him.
Meeus did not have the pace at all to follow Jakobsen on stage 1. I think the punishment for him was tough. He only tried to stay in the slipstream of Jakobsen. However, rules and rules and safety is the most important thing for the riders.
Who will win?
I will take another win for Jakobsen.