Giro d'Italia Stage 2 Preview
Primoz Roglic took the win in the opening stage of the Giro by quite some margin, continuing to display his great form and ease at beating his rivals, he's gotten a buffer over some of his main rivals but quite a serious gap over some of the Top5 contenders. Simon Yates and Vincenzo Nivali surprised to finish in the podium just ahead of Miguel Angel Lopez and Tom Dumoulin.
Positive: Roglic obviously. If he's coming in way too good form is something to discover late in the race, but so far he's entered with the right foot. Lopez and Yates haven't raced since Catalunya but also entered very strong, and Nibali as expected is also entering the race in good form, he is a specialist in backloaded GT's so he can be the one who is most profiting from the start. Majka, Hart, Mollema and De la Parte are surprises to be in the first places, all riders who might be in to fight for other classifications but coming in strong, GC contenders so far. Ciccone took a bold aproach focusing on the climb, and with the fastest ascent was able to net 9 points and the lead so far.
Negative: It's not that Dumoulin looked bad, he said it himself he's entering the race in lower form than last year, but it's a kick to the confidence to be the slowest of the Top5 contenders of the race in a time-trial. Landa and Zakarin had majour time losses, 1:07 and 1:20, same can be said for Ion Izagirre who lost 1:01.
Carapaz raced to a solid 14th place, 47 seconds down on eventual winner Roglic. As we can see this time-trial was pretty much half in flat half in climb in terms of time, so it was vital to time it well. Lots of riders said to have blown up in the climb, it's not surprising looking at the sheer gradients in it, it's a very inconsistent climb so it suited lightweight riders like Carapaz who could really kick in the steep section, that were essentially 3 throughout the climb. He clearly saved himself during the flat section so he could have the power in the climb, and he seemed to have the legs until the end as his power in that final ramp matched the power in the brute gradients he faced beforehand.
In the case of Luke Durbridge, who also had a strong time-trial, we can see that even though his power/Kg values aren't so high he was fastest in the flat section, there's a 16Kg difference that clearly gave the Australian the advantage. However despite a nicely paced climb there was little Durbridge could do as the steep gradients made him loose time he had gained very quickly, and descending from 8th in the intermediate point to 24th in the finish line.
The first road stage will be one for the sprinters. It isn't completely flat though, there's a somewhat rolling profile to the backend of the stage, the Montalbano climb is 5.8Km long at 6.8% average gradient and comes with only 48Km to the finish, this can play a big part as some of the sprinters may have serious dificulties with such a long effort, that will depend on how the climb is ridden.
There is another categorized climb on the way to the finish that will add more fatigue, but in normal circumstances the climbs should be ridden in a confortable pace which will allow them to get to the finish without any issues. A somewhat technical finish but nothing that should bother experienced leadout trains.
Sketchy weather for tomorrow, the rain will be present, likely not at the finish but there's a ig chance to see the riders in wet roads. Luckily for the sprinters, this will mean a headwind on both the climbs, but a tailwind for most of the day that with such distance and rugged terrain will make it hard to chase. The wind will be around 15Km/h, it isn't majorly strong so if some team decides to step on the gas in the Montalbano climb there's certainly space to distance most of the sprinters, and some will be praying for an easy pace.
Like Jakub Mareczko, one of those who has serious dificulties climbing but his team will be there for him.
Besides him all sprinters seem to be in the same level of climbing pretty much, we have Fernando Gaviria and Elia Viviani as perhaps the strongest sprinters on the start line, they both have a strong leadout but not the strongest, but it will come to the pure power in the end for sure as there will be plenty of teams looking to position their riders.
In those three pop quite quickly, Bora with Pascal Ackermann, Lotto-Soudal with Caleb Ewan and Groupama-FDJ with Arnaud Dèmare. The latter two bring a squad without any GC intentions, so there is total freedom for the riders to help the team for a stage win and with these riders leading there's good chances of it. Bora have some riders for the overall, but those setting up for Ackermann are very decent, he has a leadout just as strong pretty much.
Outside of those, there's the double of Giacomo Nizzolo and Ryan Gibbons. The latter should be quite happy if there's a serious push in the climbing as he is used to it, but without it he should be in duty for the Italian. EF have Sacha Modolo, there's Davide Cimolai of Israel Cycling Academy, Matteo Moschetti of Trek, Marco Haller of Katusha and likely Androni will be up there aswell, either with Manuel Belletti or Andrea Vandreame.
I think it's too early for a breakaway to succeed. It's sure that it isn't a bad stage for the case but there's a limited number of sprint stages in the race and lots of sprinters to fight for them, so it will be tremendously hard to pull it off, but I do expect a big fight to get in it and a hard stage.
⭐ Gibbons, Modolo, Cimolai, Moschetti, Haller, Belletti, Mareczko
Have you taken a look at Viviani's new equipment? I'm a big fan, and everyone knows a cool equipment automatically makes a rider faster. So I'll use that as an excuse to why I think he'll take the win tomorrow, as many of the sprinters he took it a bit easier today of course, and although he doesn't have the leadout some other teams have, what will matter is to have a couple of riders who can stick with him until the end and position him properly, and I think Sabatini and Sénéchal are great riders for that. So he's my call.
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