2023 Giro d’Italia Stage 2 Preview

Teramo > San Salvo 202km

After the fun of the opening time trial, it’s time for the proper racing to start. The second stage sees the riders head down the coast, in what is a nailed-on sprint finish. This preview will take a close look at all the sprinters and their sprint trains.


Another cracking day with lots of sunshine. A headwind for much of the day will make life hard for the breakaway. The final sprint is also into a headwind.


It’s all about getting to the front nice and early, the final 10km is full of central reservations, which will make moving up very difficult. The roundabout with 1.3km to go will obviously be crucial, the riders must go the long way round. This is quickly followed by a right-hand turn, before hitting the long finishing straight. As it’s 1km in length, it is possible to move up the bunch, but most will want to be in the first 10 wheels for the last turn.

Sprint Trains

Trek-Segafredo – Tesfatsion, Vergaerde, Hoole, Kirsch, Pedersen. This is a very strong train, and crucially, one that’s worked very well together in the past. Tesfatsion is the addition to the line-up, I’m not sure exactly where he’ll slot in, he’s got the speed to be an important link. As Ciccone is not here, the team can throw everything behind Pedersen.

Rating – *****

Alpecin-Deceuninck – Riesebeek, Sbaragli, Krieger, Sinkeldam, Groves. Another team who can fully focus on their sprinter, this is an excellent train to support Groves. Alpecin are always good in the sprints, this race is a big chance for Groves to win big. One slight concern is that he’s never raced with Sinkeldam, it might take a few goes before they get it right.

Rating – *****

Movistar – Rojas, Torres, Kanter, Gaviria. They arrive with confidence as Gaviria just won in Romandie. Kanter worked well with Nando in the Tour of Oman, they have the speed to make a late surge.

Rating – ****

Groupama – FDJ – Konovalovas, Armirail, Van den Berg, Lienhard, Stewart. This is strong, and they know each other very well. Stewart isn’t normally regarded as a bunch sprinter, he prefers a harder day, but with these guys supporting him he can surprise in the flat sprints.

Rating – ****

Arkéa – Guernalec, Riou, Russo, Dekker. Not bad, they punch above their weight in sprint finishes.

Rating – ***

DSM – Märkl, Mayrhofer, Dainese. A short train, but a fast one. 

Rating – ***

Jayco – Pöstlberger, Scotson, Stewart, Matthews. They lack real pace required for flat sprints.

Rating – ***

Bahrain – Sütterlin, Pasqualon, Milan. A GC team who’ve brought an okay sprint train.

Rating – ***

UAE – Gibbons, Ackermann. With the focus on GC, Ackermann is lacking support.

Rating – **

Intermarché – Bystrøm, Marit, Bonifazio. They won’t have a long sprint train, which means they’ll need a little luck.

Rating – **

Cofidis – Cimolai, Consonni. Not good enough.

Rating – *

Astana – Battistella, Cavendish. They continue to arrive at big races with no support for Cavendish. 

Rating – *


Mads Pedersen – arrives here looking to win the sprint jersey, it’s a big goal of his. Last year he dominated in the Vuelta, winning three stages and the sprint jersey, that followed up his breakaway win in the Tour de France. Pedersen is a guy who can do just about everything, he’ll look at the speed of his rivals and believe he has a huge chance of winning multiple stages in this race. His sprint train is marshalled by his trusted friend, Alex Kirsch, these two are brilliant together. He’ll be in a good position for the sprint, then we’ll see if he has the legs to win.

Kaden Groves – like Pedersen, he took confidence from last year’s Vuelta, where he won a sprint stage. This season he won two stages in Catalunya, both times he looked very fast in the finale. He’s got an excellent sprint train, in the past he’s had some positional problems, a strong train will sort that out. 

Fernando Gaviria – full of confidence after an excellent win in Romandie, are we about to see the “old” Gaviria? This is a guy who looked unstoppable just a few years ago but was in danger of sliding into mediocrity after a couple of poor years. His move to Movistar has been a success, they’ll be hoping he can take his sixth Giro win in this stage.

Mark Cavendish – I actually feel sorry for him, his move to Astana has been a disaster, and it’s not his fault. Without support, he’s going to find it very hard. In his younger days, Cavendish was excellent at jumping from train to train, but as he gets older, he’s become more risk averse, which is only natural. If I was him, I’d forget about his own team, and try to use Pedersen his lead out man.

Alberto Dainese – he’s a frustrating rider to watch. He’s got undoubted talent, but often disappoints. He needs to show that his win last year wasn’t a fluke.

Jonathan Milan – he’s a monster of a man! Not far off 2m in height, he’s not someone who can easily out-muscle. He’s only got two riders to support, he’ll need some luck to get a good wheel in the finale, but he does have the speed required to win.

Pascal Ackermann – no win yet this season, and I think he’ll find the opening sprint stages frustrating. He doesn’t have much help, he’s another who’ll have to pray for some luck in the final 5km.

Niccolò Bonifazio – he’s a pest, without doubt, one of the most dangerous riders in a sprint finish. He’s fast, but not fast enough to win.

David Dekker – with a decent sprint train, Dekker has a chance of pulling off a surprise in this race. This season hasn’t been great, but a good Giro will change all of that. If he gets a good position, he has the speed to win.

Jake Stewart – I like the Groupama – FDJ sprint train, it looks one of the best in the race. Jakey doesn’t have the same top end speed as the likes of Gaviria and co, but a good position can make up for that. I hope to see him in the mix for the podium.

Michael Matthews – hasn’t won a bunch sprint since 2017, that tells you everything you need to know. He’ll be up there in the top 10, collecting points for the sprint jersey, but I don’t see him winning, especially with a relatively weak sprint train.

Prediction Time

With Trek-Segafredo and Alpecin-Deceuninck likely to dominate the final 10km, everyone else will be sitting in the wheels hoping to surge past them for the final roundabout, we’ll have to see if that tactic works.

Embed from Getty Images

Gaviria will launch first, despite the headwind, but I think the winner of the first sprint will be Mads Pedersen.


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