Camaiore > Follonica 209.7km
The second stage is the first opportunity for the fast men with a sprint finish in Follonica. Ineos are in control of the leader’s jersey, they’ll do much of the chasing of the break, but they’ll also get help from the sprint teams, we have three big ones here.
Cloudy sun and temperatures will edge towards 15 degrees. The start of the stage will see wind of around 30km/h, but it’s to significantly decrease throughout the day, so echelons are unlikely.
Teams will have to watchful in the opening half of the stage as there are some exposed sections, but we rarely see echelons in this race.
Here’s the circuit the riders face to end the stage, they do one and a half laps. The final corner comes with over 3km to go, and the width of the road is typical for this race, a standard two-lane effort. At 300m to go, the peloton is funnelled into a single lane before the road widens again for the actual sprint. Sprinters who want to win this stage need to be very close to the front with 500 to go.
30km/h at the start of the stage will make the bunch nervous. The issue for those wanting to see splits is the wind looks to be cross/headwind to me. Also, this part of the world is full of town, villages, and trees, it’s not Paris-Nice.
Despite the early threat of wind, I think this will be a straightforward stage. With so many sprinters here, the break will be easy to control, and the real action won’t start until the final 10km. Due to the width of the roads in the finale, a good early position is vital, moving up the bunch can be tricky.
Fabio Jakobsen – he’s got a ridiculously strong sprint train; I don’t even know where to start. I think Alaphilippe will get involved, and then hand over to Pedersen, Van Lerberghe and Ballerini, this is a sprint train full of horsepower. Jakobsen normally works with Mørkøv, but Ballerini is an experienced last man, and I don’t think they’ll have any problems working together. After going a few races without a win, Jakobsen will be keen on taking this one.
Dylan Groenewegen – another sprinter who has an excellent sprint train at his disposal. Jayco have Reinders, Štybar and Mezgec to guide in the closing kilometres. Groenewegen does have a recent win to his name, he won a stage in the UAE Tour, so confidence will be high.
Jasper Philipsen – no win yet this season for Alpecin, but it will come very soon, maybe even in this stage. Philipsen will have van der Poel, Vermeersch and Sinkeldam as his lead out men, it’s the first time we get to see him working with Sinkeldam, a rider who is an excellent final man. The Belgian doesn’t have a lot of racing in his legs, it could take him a few stages to get them going.
Biniam Girmay – with Bonifazio and Teunissen to guide, Girmay should start the sprint from a good position. He’s not someone who regularly wins big sprints, but he does have the power required to compete for the podium.
Phil Bauhaus – he’ll be in and around the top 10, but his sprint train will struggle against those already mentioned.
Mark Cavendish – no win yet, but that’s not a surprise. It’s going to take Cavendish time to settle with Astana, especially if they insist on not keeping him and Bol together for all the big races.
Fernando Gaviria – impressed in San Juan, but it didn’t work out for him in the UAE Tour. He did finish 2nd in one of the stages but had to launch from a long way back due to poor positioning. The problem is his sprint train, it’s not good enough for a race like this.
Jordi Meeus – Bora have arrived with a GC team, Meeus looks like an afterthought. Challenging for the podium will be incredibly difficult for him.
Juan Molano – despite not having much of a sprint train in the UAE Tour, he took a win. Yet again, he arrives at a race without a sprint train, he’ll need a big slice of luck to take another win.
I see this a straight fight between QuickStep and Jayco, both sprint trains look incredibly strong to me.
I’ll go with who I think is the faster sprinter, it’s a win for Fabio Jakobsen.
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