By David Hunter
Tadcaster – Harrogate 122.5km
A big stage for all the sprinters.
With just one categorised climb, this is an easy day for the bunch. The climb is very difficult, 1.7km at 11.4%, and does continue for a little while after the KOM, but coming with around 60km to go, this shouldn’t have a big impact on the stage. This day is all about the last 10km. Some of the uncategorised climbs will certainly test the legs of the sprinters and provide attackers with a chance of stealing the glory.
In terms of corners, this is an easy finish. The problem isn’t the corners, it’s the little kickers that the peloton have to climb.
The rise coming up to the flamme rouge is around 400m at 7%. After a fast descent, this won’t be hard for the bunch, but it will bring their speed down. The final ramp up to the line is around 400m at 5%. This is a finish for those with a huge amount of power.
Cast your mind back to the opening stage of the Tour de France in 2014, this is almost the same finish. That day, it was Marcel Kittel taking the win, but it was a very difficult sprint.
Another dry day for the peloton, with not much wind.
Caleb Ewan – loves an uphill sprint. I think back to his win in the 2015 Vuelta, beating Degenkolb and Sagan. He was good today, but not good enough to win. Today was his first race for one month, no doubt his legs will be better tomorrow.
Dylan Groenewegen – as I predicted, the Dutch sensation took his first win of 2017. He also likes an uphill sprint, remember he pushed Greipel all the way in the Algarve. He will be full of confidence after today and I do like the look of his lead out train. Keep an eye out for Jansen, he has the potential to go a long way.
Nacer Bouhanni – after making the front split, he’ll be very disappointed with only finishing 4th today. His team bossed the final kilometre and he was launched at 250m to go by Van Genechten. In an ideal world, that launch would have been at 200m to go. Saying that, Bouhanni seemed to lack his normal acceleration, which will really disappoint him and his teammates. Maybe he went too deep on Robin Hood’s Bay? Tomorrow is another day and we know he loves to come back out swinging.
Danny Van Poppel – held up by the crash, but I doubt he would have troubled the podium. He will love this finish and has a chance to take a home win for Team Sky. Looking at their squad, this stage looks like their best chance for a win this weekend.
Brenton Jones – made one of the initial breaks today, but was caught. He then crashed later in the stage, but should be okay to fight out the sprint tomorrow. The Aussie is another sprinter that loves a tough finish. A podium spot would be huge for him and his team.
Chris Opie – massive result today for the Brit and BIKE Channel Canyon. He looked super fast and will be delighted to have finished ahead of a rider like Bouhanni. Can he do even better tomorrow?
Steele Von Hoff – another of those tough Aussie that love a hard finish. He’ll be very happy with his performance today, but ONE Pro would have liked him to have been the best of the British teams. Tomorrow is another chance and I think he has a good chance of a top 5 finish.
I got stage 1 correct and think I’ll do the same with stage 2. Caleb Ewan to take the win for Orica-Scott, he loves finishes like this.
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