Villa San Agustin > San José de Jáchal 201.5km
The second stage in San Juan has the worst cat 1 climb in the world! This will be a standard sprint stage; nothing will stop the world tour teams from ensuring we get a bunch kick.
Another warm day and the wind is down compared to the opening stage.
Nice and straightforward, the turns at 1.2km and 800m to go are very important in terms of position. The final straight is 800m long, that means you don’t need to be right at the front to win the sprint, a late surge could well steal the day.
Eh, make sure the break contains local riders, and then position your sprinter well for the finale. Sometimes life is simple!
Fabio Jakobsen – Remco, Lampaert, Mørkøv and then over to Jakobsen. This is an excellent sprint train, but they didn’t deliver the win yesterday. The team will look at what went wrong and go again. It looked like Jakobsen got caught on the wrong side of the road, that can be put down as one of those things. Considering their train, QuickStep will expect to win this one.
Sam Bennett – Mullen, Koch, van Poppel and Bennett is a very strong train, and they nailed it yesterday. The key for Bora is the presence of van Poppel, I expect him to become the best lead out man in the world in 2023. It sounds easy but Bennett “just” has to follow his wheel. He arrived with the hope of taking one stage, with that chalked off already he’ll be hoping for number 2.
Fernando Gaviria – not much of a lead out, that makes his life much harder than some of his rivals. To be honest, I no longer believe in him.
Elia Viviani – with Ganna to help with positioning, the Italian should be able to start the sprint from a decent spot. His days of winning at this level seem over, but he’ll still believe in his own ability.
Peter Sagan – isn’t going to win in this company.
Sam Welsford – the Aussie has some serious horsepower but doesn’t have a great train at this race. His best chance is if the sprint gets messy, this is where he can use his track smarts to challenge the best.
Giacomo Nizzolo – no longer fast enough to win stages like this.
Gleb Syritsa – don’t get in his way, you’ve been warned! I’m just disappointed he doesn’t race in green as he’s a dead ringer for the Hulk. Given who he’s up against, finishing on the podium would be an excellent result.
Flip a coin to decide who wins between Bennett and Jakobsen. I think QuickStep will address what went wrong yesterday (go on the correct side of the road!) and Fabio Jakobsen will take the win.