• Rúben Silva

Tour de Pologne Stage 2 Preview

It was a quiet and calm start to the race, the flatlands of Poland offered an ideal setting for a pure sprint finish and so we had one with the main sprinters all bunched up at the front. It was Pascal Ackermann who won, proving the fastest man in a messy sprint, taking advantage of Gaviria's acidental early launch to top him in the final 50 meters. The podium was completed by Fabio Jakobsen.

Positive: Ackermann repeated his feat of last year and keeps proving to be a world-class sprinter by now.

Negative: Cofidis lost two riders in a crash, Mate and Fortin in what was a very sad incident, leaving Cofidis on the ropes. Jan Hirt lost 3 minutes, wasn't sure what happened but he is out of the GC contention.

The Route

Stage 2 is somewhat similar to the opening day, it's another rather short day only with 152 kilometers in distance, the profile is misleading as it is a completely flat day. The similarities are clear as this day also finishes in a circuit.

It's a little under 20 kilometers, it's flat but with a small incline into the final kilometer which will then turn into a small negative grade down the avenue they came up, so it will be a very fast finish for the powerhouse sprinters, and again it won't be a technical finish.

The Weather

Northwestern wind at around 15Km/h, not set to be defining in the stage, as for the sprint it will come as a tailwind so it will benefit the power sprinters.

The Favourites

Well who fits in that category exactly? Today's winner, Ackermann. It's hard to feel like he can be beaten, there were riders in the same level as him but Bora and his leadout are functioning so well, he's a very complete sprinter and can really pull the wins seemingly easy. In this finale I would also put Max Walscheid as a main contender, the sprint will be very fast, he is just about the heaviest sprinter on the loose and it fits him very well, mark my words.

Fernando Gaviria looked very good today, recovered from the injury above all, his leadout was good but he had the mistake of taking a different direction than Consonni when overtaking a rider and ended up in the wind too early. If it weren't for that he might have won but today's finish was more suited to him than tomorrow, and as for Fabio Jakobsen he was good today but the other two seemed on another level.

I would also put Luka Mezgec as a wildcard for tomorrow, another rider good in long sprints, besides him we've seen a good Danny van Poppel today, both him and his team rode the final kilometers well and he has shown good presence, behind him finished Jakub Mareczko and Sacha Modolo, solid sprints by them and I expect them in the Top10 as they do have the legs for it, John Degenkolb and Marc Sarreau were there.

It was a nice surprise seeing Pawel Franczak in the Top10, he is one of the riders that should be around in the sprints and show his quality, riding for the national team, and the result doesn't show but INEOS had intentions with Ben Swift today, he didn't pull off a good one today but tomorrow he's a possibility again.

Prediction Time

Ackermann, Gaviria, Walscheid

Jakobesen, van Poppel

Mareczko, Modolo Degenkolb, Sarreau, Mezgec

Why not? He did the exact same thing last year, he is a sprinter that gives confidence and consistency, there is no big explanation to why I think he'll win, in my opinion he is THE best in the race.

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