Tour of Romandie Stage 2 Preview
Primoz Roglic took a strong win in a small bunch sprint made of the climbers who were able to resist the hard day out. The breakaway was big but was never given much of a leash, with EF destroying the peloton in the final categorized climb, and in the final sharp ascent Thomas, Gaudu and Woods attacking after Buchmann, it all ended up coming back together where it was then decided in a sprint.
Positive: Roglic and Kruijswijk didn't look good in the climbs but they played their cards well and managed to net the win and important bonifications, Roglic is building a solid buffer for the mountain stage. Thomas also looked very sharp, Movstar strong being the only team with 3 riders in front, Woods and Gaudu almost saw their explosiveness gaining valuable time.
Negative: Daniel Martinez, Merhawi Kudus lost around 50 seconds today, Remco Evenepoel also dropped out of contention. Bahrain had the leader Tratnik, stage favourite Colbrelli and GC hope Pernsteiner but all didn't manage to go over the climbs, so it wasn't a day for them, maybe tomorrow.
In such a hard edition it would seem as this is the most sprinter-friendly stage, it isn't completely flat, it's the complete opposite in fact. It's rolling roads and a long drag halfway through the stage make it a breakaway suited stage, but the teams of the fastest riders will surely try to keep the escapees under control.
The quality of the breakaway and the pace that the climbs will be ridden will make a huge difference though, and from the final sprint to the finish in 17 kilometers they will come down over 200 meters in height, so if there's any remaining riders in front until that point they need to quickly be shut down as it will be a very fast aproach to the line.
Rain and a south wind. The rain can make things very slick on the descents and make the chase harder, but on the other hand the aproach to Morges will be done in a moderate headwind, around 15Km/H with 35Km/h gusts it will make life hard for who's ahead, it will balance out. It will also mean the bulk of the stage, including the climb will be raced in a headwind so it will make like somewhat easier for the sprinters.
With the conditions looking favourable for the sprinters it will certainly be their day, Bora and Deceuninck will have their golden chance to fight for the win for themselves if nothing out of the ordinary happens.
Sam Bennett and Elia Viviani are the obvious favourites, they are the fastest men. Deceuninck is the team with the leadout, Bora have lot of focus on the GC too but as we've seen this season it's not like Bennett depends on a perfect leadout as he's a very good bike handler. That being said it does give Viviani a bit of an edge, but he really suffered today as he was dropped very early on so things look perfectly balanced between them.
Behind come the Italian fleet. Colbrelli loves racing in the rain, loves the climbing that can shed the sprinters, but it may not be enough for him. His team isn't looking very strong and the headwind on the main climb will make it easier than he may have wanted. He doesn't have the same top speed but the harder the race the better he looks.
Giacomo Nizzolo, Simone Consonni and Andrea Pasqualon offer some solid chances of being in the stage contention, they will surely be right behind the main favourites and with some luck they can take a prestigious win.
Outside of those there aren't many riders to contest, Patrick Bevin looked good today but he needs a very hard race, there's Matteo Moschetti and Dion Smith as outsiders, and then some riders who can make a last bid for the line like Dylan van Baarle and Stefan Kung but the headwind will almost nullify the chances of such scenario succeding.
⭐ Nizzolo, Consonni, Pasqualon, Bevin, Moschetti
I have to say I'm leaning towards Colbrelli, in the rain he's a demon and he looked very good today, it was just one for the climbers. But even with fatigue Bennett and Viviani are on a league of their own, so I believe Bennett will carry on his Turkey form and take the win.
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