Budapest 9.2km ITT
The second stage is a relatively short TT.
We have 8km of flat, followed by 1.2km at 5.1%.
The flat section is technical, it contains lots of corners, but not is all what it seems. Most of the roads are incredibly wide, which means the corners are also wide and can be taken at pace. The flat section is where the TT specialists will hope to gain some seconds, they’ll need a little buffer for the climb.
The climb starts with some very steep slopes, but they don’t last for long. It quickly settles in at 5% and starts to ease towards the line. This climb also has some city centre cobbles, nothing that will have an impact on the outcome of the stage.
A wind does fluctuate a little throughout the day, but not by much. As we are racing in the city centre, most of the route is well protected from the elements.
Edoardo Affini – came very close to winning the opening TT last year but was denied by Ganna. The climb isn’t great for him, but will he be able to gain enough seconds on his rivals in the opening 8km? He’s probably going to need 10 seconds of a lead, which will be hard to achieve.
João Almeida – you could say it’s a perfect TT for him. Almeida has a brilliant TT record, even on the flat. The addition of the hill is also good for him, he has a strong punch and he’ll also like the technical nature of the flat section. He’s 14 seconds behind van der Poel on GC, so moving into pink is unlikely, but he will hope to take some time on his main rivals for the pink jersey.
Tom Dumoulin – it all depends on what Dumoulin we get. Back in his pomp, he would have smashed this TT, but is his current form good enough to take the win? I suppose none of us really know, we’ll have to see how he does once on the road.
Mathieu van der Poel – lots of corners is great news for the big man, he can take time on most of his rivals in the corners. Today he looked not only on his limit, but over it, and then he still takes the win. Van der Poel is capable of suffering like a dog and still doing the incredible. This is a good route for him, but a win would still be a surprise.
Jan Tratnik – crashed today, we’ll have to see how he responds.
Tobias Ludvigsson – he’s always capable of pulling something out the bag in a TT like this. I expect a solid top 10 result.
Lawson Craddock – another who is a certainty for the top 10.
Matteo Sobrero – and another top 10 candidate.
Tobias Foss – hardly raced this year, so it’s very hard to predict what he’ll do in this stage, one that would normally suit him well. The lack of racing will surely end his chances.
I think this is the perfect TT for João Almeida, with van der Poel remaining in pink.