• Rúben Silva

Tour de France Stage 2 Preview

Mike Teunissen saw the biggest of surprises on his own hands in the opening stage of the Tour by taking an amazing win in front of Peter Sagan and Caleb Ewan. Teunissen benefited from the bad luck of Dylan Groenewegen who crashed in the run-in to the final kilometer, and in what was a very messy sprint that saw Matthews launch way too early, Sagan benefited from it but the Dutch came with speed from behind and had a small gap to Sagan to win. From the GC riders Jakob Fuglsang was the main protagonist, a crash in the final 20 kilometers and has a cut to his face, but managed to regain contact with the help of his team. Dan Martin and Enric Mas were caught behind in the cobbled sector halfway through the stage but it was nothing more than a nervous moment.

Positive: Jumbo. Groenewegen crashed but having a win like this, I can say that it's a positive for them, they have yellow and they're bound to keep it tomorrow, Teunissen can even hold this jersey until Planche des Belles Filles. Sagan has begun his run for green, Colbrelli is the rider that looked the best behind him with a strong finish and IS. Also a shoutout to van Avermaet, getting the polka dots in the climbs he knows the best like this is something special.

Negative: Fuglsang is sure to feel the effects of this crash for the next few days, but with some luck it was just superficial and won't affect his riding, he still has some days to recover from it before having to go to the limit. Mas and Martin didn't give good signs but had no loss in the end, Viviani lost his leadout which was always a risk.

The Route

Stage 2 is a team time-trial, not an usual appearance in the race but this year it will be a crucial challenge early on, where the first gaps between the favourites will emerge and team strenght will be tested.

Despite a somewhat flat route there's some bumps in it that will disturb the rhythm and may cause some issues in the less oiled TTT machines. As for the roads, it's expected that they'll be very fast, at least the technical point of view doesn't seem like it will have much of an influence.

The Weather

A nice day, and the wind will be noticeable, a strong 20Km/h wind from the northwest which will make for a straight headwind in the second half of the time-trial. Energy management will be crucial as the speeds will be slower than expected and there's still a decent distance to it.

The Favourites

Two teams seem the best when it comes to the effort. First is the last team to start off, Jumbo-Visma, they have had a big evolution this year and won the TTT in the UAE Tour, here they come with Wout van Aert and Tony Martin as main engines, but the whole squad is of powerful riders, Kruisjwijk, Teunissen and de Plus are also expected to be in the final riders to make it. The other is INEOS, not as strong in the specifity of the effort but they have a super strong squad, Castroviejo/Kwiatkowski/van Baarle are vital support that can really step up the team's game. Thomas is equally as strong but I won't even mention him, Poels and Bernal have no problem whatsoever in time-trialing aswell, on paper they are the strongest team.

Mitchelton won the Tirreno-Adriatico team time-trial, they come with a strong squad with some powerful riders, Durbridge/Hepburn/Juul-Jensen were all part of that win and they will again try to make it happen, carrying the Yates behind them for sure. Trentin and Haig are powerful riders aswell so the Australian is a serious team for the stage. Deceuninck should also ride well, Asgreen and Lampaert are big riders to set the pace and with Mas in the team it's sure that every effort will be made to leave him in a good position. Then there's EF, another team with a substantial upgrade on the results this season in this field, it's another very reliable team with Bettiol/Langeveld/Scully to power through, van Garderen and Kangert are also quite strong in it and Uran will have a very good support to back him up.

Those are the strongest team, for the win I consider no-one else but some teams will battle to get in those top places and limit their losses, Bora and Bahrain I expect them to ride very well too tomorrow if they're on a good day, but they depend too much on some riders which won't make for a good balance in the team. Astana, FDJ and Sunweb can also pull something good but they didn't come out with a focus on this stage, of these maybe Sunweb can ride the best as they have the experience but lacking riders like Dumoulin and Oomen on the train they are missing out on some of the best legs in the team that we're used to see propel them into good results in TTT's.

Prediction Time

Jumbo-Visma, INEOS

Mitchelton, EF

Deceuninck, Bahrain, Sunweb

I think Jumbo win again tomorrow and Teunissen keeps yellow in the yellow team. Jumbo are strong, very strong, their weakspot for tomorrow is indeed Groenewegen specially with the crash but I see power and speed everywhere in them. They won in convincing fashion in UAE and I've got no reason to believe they can't repeat the job.

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