Tirreno Adriatico Stage 2 Preview
Mitchelton-Scott took a surprising win on the opening day, forcing a very high pace throughout the whole TTT and beating several specialist teams. Crossing the line first was Michael Hepburn so the Australian is wearing blue tomorrow.
The day was marked for a nothing but unusual accident involving the Bora-Hangrohe team. A pedestrian crossed the road in front of the team and caused Oscar Gatto and Rafal Majka to crash, bringing to a halt the ambitions of a good result and hampering the GC hopes of Formolo, aswell as obviously Majka.
Miraculously, the winning team also had a lucky dash of a similar incident happening...
EF were the first team to set a strong benchmark time, followed next-up by Deceuninck. When Jumbo-Visma crossed the line with a 30-second advantage over the Belgian team it looked as if it would be a re-run of the UAE Tour about to happen. As Sky and Sunweb passed the stage looke done and dusted, but there was one more team on the road.
And sure enough the Australian team took the lead by 7 seconds in the end, propelling Adam Yates into prime overall position and handing Hepburn the lead for tomorrow.
First challenge of the week, both in 2016 and 2017 we saw late attacks work by Zdenek Stybar and Geraint Thomas respectively. The stage is somewhat shorter than both those editions, and it doesn't have as much climbing beforehand so it may favour a more compact finish.
The truth is there's been a bunch sprint on both occasions but in both of those there was someone ahead. The stage favours the kind of sprinter who can climb and if there is a constant pace in the main group those will fight it out for the win. With a slightly easier approach to the climb this might be the year where we'll see a sprint for the win.
The wind won't likely be a factor, it'll be a crosswind during the climb but a weak one so it shouldn't make any difference.
Who can we expect to see?
With the custom in a bunch finish we can surely expect one, and obviously Peter Sagan and Greg van Avermaet stand out as favourites, as both already proved themselves in this climb. Sagan was reported sick so we don't really know how his legs will be, so it's a bit of an unknown ground for him.
As for the other sprinters it may be too hard for them, Gaviria can climb but it seems like too much for him, perhaps teammate Consonni can be the team's option for the day, with Stuyven and Ballerini two other outsiders who can sprint.
The two former winner Stybar and Thomas are here, both are ideal riders for a late attack the question is if once again the stage is won by an attacker. In such case those two alongside Julian Alaphillipe are some of the biggest favourites. Without discarding Wellens/Benoot and Fuglsang/Lutsenko duos.
⭐ Benoot, Fuglsang, Dumoulin, Stuyven, Consonni, Simon, Moscon, SK.Andersen, S.Clarke
It's a hard finale to predict, I think Tim Wellens can win here, either from a late attack or from a sprint he's got good chances, and with Sagan's lack of racing and Bora's start of the race I don't see it come down well for him.
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