Stage 2 sees the riders travel 186.6km from Carlisle to Beast Banks.All those familiar with the area know that these roads are very lumpy.
The last 500 metres rises at around 8%.
Incredibly the bookies have opened thinking it will be a sprint finish like on stage 1,but it won’t!
The Chestnut hill climb is 3.5km at an average of 5%,but a maximum of 10%.
Fangs Brow is short but steep.It’s only 1.4km but has ramps of 9,10 and 11%.
These climbs ensure that we should be left with a fairly small bunch at the end.
Then they have the 500 metres at 8% to deal with at the finish.This is an extremely difficult day,and to make it worse we are expected to have rain and 20mph winds.
To win this stage you must be able to climb well and then deal with a short,sharp climb at the finish.
We have Wiggins,Golas,Elmiger,Pirazzi,Engoulvent,Quintana,Visconti,De Maar,Marangoni,Pardilla and Dan Martin.
We don’t know if Movistar are going to go with Quintana or Visconti but on paper the strongest is Quintana followed by Dan Martin.
The bookies are being very silly with the odds for stage 2!Most think it’ll be a sprint finish with Cavendish favourite with one of them.There is a lot of value to be had,depending on who you like.Visconti seems like the logical favourite but he won’t have a chance if Quintana wants it.
Dan Martin should go well but he hasn’t raced since leaving the Vuelta early.
I’ve decided to stick with MTN and picked Sergio Pardilla at 80/1.The race is being shown live in South Africa and the team want to do well for their fans.Pardilla won a stage in the Tour of Portugal and this was a mountaintop finish,so the hills and finish should suit him.
I’ve also taken Bongiorno of Bardiani.This is a risky bet as Pirazzi will fancy the stage but the young man finished 3rd in a recent Italian race and was the best young rider.He can also climb extremely well and likes an uphill finish,although,it will depend on Pirazzi.Although I did find an article where Bardiani say that Bongiorno is their man for GC,not Pirazzi.