Starting the race in Lido di Camaiore as in last year. The TT is almost the same but it has been shortened.
It should be one for the sprinters.
A very long stage with 2600 climbing meters. Nonetheless, it will be a day for the spriunters.
A few laps around Tortoreto. The climb is 3 km at 6.9%. I doubt we will see big gaps in the GC.
The mountain stage this year. 12.5km at 7.3%. It is up or down the whole day, so the stage will likely be harder than it looks. For some reason, I am not very sure the best can distance one another.
This is a lovely stage. Cobbled climbs, narrow roads. Problem for me is the long gaps between these ascends. 35 km laps are perhaps just a bit too long.
Day two for the sprinters. This could be a fun stage with a breakaway having go at taking the win too, they can build a large gap in the first half.
Difficult to predict, but at the moment it looks like fairly good weather.
INEOS – well, who will they ride for? My best guess is Arensman. The course suits him very well and he has already proven this season that he is in good form. Then, what about Pidcock? I can’t figure him out. I bet when I start accepting his top-level which we currently are seeing, he will start having off-days again. It is rumored he is climbing well and he did take a stage win on Alpe d’Huez last season. I think both of them are capable of challenging for the podium.
JV – Roglic back racing. Usually, he would be my favorite but he has not raced in a long time. Why did he decide to start the season earlier? My best guess is he is feeling better than anticipated. Kelderman is supposedly the captain, let’s see if he isn’t already a level or two better than the last few seasons. Despite Kelderman being in different colors, I still doubt he can win. Roglic can if he is at 100% already.
Mas – podium contender for sure. He will be one of the best on the mountain stage and the hilly stages. He is one of the favorites for the overall and he should be. I see him finishing on the podium.
A. Yates – he managed to salvage a good result in UAE. I think he will be very difficult to beat after switching to UAE, it just seems a few teams know how to maximize the potential of their riders better than the rest. I think he will finish on the podium.
O’Connor – a solid top-10 performance.
Bahrain – Victorious – with Landa and Buitrago. None of them go well against the clock making it very difficult for them to win. I could see them still managing to finish in the top-10 and being contenders for some of the stages this week.
Bora – Hansgrohe – they bring a duo too. Vlasov and Hindley. Since we are in the early March, I think Vlasov will be in better shape than Hindley. I think Vlasov will do very well, potentially finishing in the top-5.
Carthy – a solid top-10 performance.
Alaphilippe – It wouldn’t surprise me if he sneaks in a good result. The mountain stage is difficult but he has climbed very well before.
Who will win?
I will go for the same rider as I did in UAE Tour. A win for Adam Yates. He is good against the clock, climbing very well this early on in the season and the team UAE Team Emirates have send with him to win is fantastic.