Allerød > Køge 222.5km
The opening stage of the Tour of Denmark is a long one, and it could be a touch on the boring side, but not if the wind blows. It’s still likely to end in a sprint, but there is a chance of echelons.
A hot one up in Denmark with temperatures close to 30 degrees, but what about the wind? The opening 25km is mainly crosswind, which is then followed by 100 km of headwind. Then the road heads east and we get more crosswind sections. The wind will be around 20km/h for most of the day, which is strong enough to cause some problems, but I’m not sure we’ll see major splits. The problem is that the exposed sections don’t last too long, but hopefully someone still puts it in the gutter.
The stage finishes with this circuit, it is done on three full occasions. There is a cobbled section of road that lasts around 500m, and last time of asking finishes with 2km to go. They’re a little bit rougher than your normal town centre cobbles, but still shouldn’t cause the pros any problem.
The circuit itself has several corners, which will help the sprint teams line out the bunch. The last of these comes with 1.3km to go, before a long finishing straight that curves to the right. Sprinters take note, the finishing straight is into a strong headwind, don’t go too soon.
Does anyone want to try and put it in the gutter? Jumbo-Visma and Ineos look the most likely to try something, they come here with riders who perform well in windy conditions. I get the feeling we’ll see attempts to create echelons, but nothing will stick, and we’ll get a big sprint.
The first intermediate sprint of the day comes after just 20km. Jumbo-Visma and EF will be keen on controlling the opening kilometres to set up a sprint for Laporte and Cort. Ineos arrive with a strong squad, but they don’t have a quick man to threaten in the sprint, making it easy seconds in the GC fight.
The circuit is a good one for sprint teams. It’s technical enough to line things out, but not overly technical to the point where it becomes dangerous. Teams will need a good position for the final 3km, as we have a few corners in the next 2km and cobbles.
Jasper Philipsen – two wins in the Tour de France was a brilliant return for the Belgian, he cemented his place at the top table of sprinting. He arrives in Denmark without his usual sprint train, but given the level at this race, he should still be up the front for the final 3km. This is his first outing since the Tour, we’ll have to see how his legs respond.
Olav Kooij – took his first World Tour win over in Poland, the youngster is an enormous star of the future. Jumbo-Visma arrive with a brilliant sprint train, expect to see Van Der Sande and Laporte as his final men. Van Dijke was excellent in position 4 in Poland, but they also have Eenkhoorn at this race, he’ll likely be used earlier in the stage. They should dominate the finale of the stage and release Kooij from the front.
Ethan Vernon – he’ll have Štybar and Mørkøv as his lead out men, which will give him a good chance of fighting for the win. He took a win early in the season in Catalunya and was very close to getting a second in the Tour of Norway. He’ll see this week as a big chance of getting another win.
Stanisław Aniołkowski – started the season well but has fallen away a bit. He’s capable of challenging for the podium.
Sasha Weemaes – after a successful season, I’m expecting him to move to the World Tour for 2023. He’s consistently been in the mix in sprints this year, he’s another who’ll see this is a chance to land a big win.
Alexander Salby – I thought he was brilliant in the ZLM Tour, he was very unlucky not to take a win. The 24-year-old rides for Riwal, and has a brilliant lead out man in Elmar Reinders, he’s off to join BikeExchange next year. If he gets Salby into a good spot for the sprint, he’s got the speed to surprise the big names.
It should be a straight fight between Kooij and Philipsen. Given the way he rode at the Tour de France, I’ll take a win for Jasper Philipsen.