After a more exciting stage today than anticipated, tomorrow should be another sprint as the climbing comes further from the finish.
Again tomorrow, they are moving southeast.
A quite tricky finale. A corner just before the flamme rouge, and a left turn with 300 meters to go.
More calm tomorrow than today. I saw some people being frightened of echelons on stage 2, but we rarely have echelons in Italy. A headwind sprint.
A good sprint train will mean the world tomorrow. Today, a lot of teams looked very good. FDJ, Lotto, Intermarché and Bahrain had the front with 4 km left. Then they hit the left-hander. Lotto split up, Israel – Premier Tech looked confident and BikeExchange Jayco looked good. Alpecin hit the front at the perfect moment before getting swarmed. Merlier was put in a good wheel. Quick-Step also nailed it for Ballerini who just did not have any speed whatsoever.
Merlier took the win today. The team did a good job keeping him in front, but not at the very front. He won today by being the fastest and taking Ballerini’s wheel. Tomorrow, positioning is key. If he can start his sprint from the fourth position again tomorrow, he will be hard to beat.
Cavendish was my pick for today. He said before the stage he currently has a cold, not good news for the team. He finished in the peloton, we will have to see if he gets better.
Ewan might be the fastest here, but as I feared the team is not in synergy. Shorten the train down, and try to hit the front with 2.5 km left. If he is in the first five positions tomorrow, I think he will win.
Kooij had a good sprint today, benefitting of the draft. The team does not have a good enough lead-out to let him take the win.
Groves had a fine lead-out today, but I think it will be even more difficult tomorrow for him to get on the podium.
Nizzolo had a good lead-out, but they got overtaken as they took the front too early. We have to hope they will do better, but it was the same problem in UAE Tour.
Viviani lost the wheel of Ben Swift. Heartbreaking to see, as the Brit with Ganna did a good lead-out. I think he stands a good chance tomorrow.
Who will win?
I think Lotto-Soudal will do better tomorrow and a headwind sprint is perfect for him.