Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var 2021 – Stage 2 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var 2021 – Stage 2 Preview

By David Hunter

Fayence > Fayence 168km

My type of stage.

The day has 2885m of climbing, so the overall stage isn’t too difficult, but the end certainly is.

As mentioned in my overall preview, Paris-Nice visited Fayence in 2014 and 2017, with Betancur and Simon Yates taking the wins. This climb is the same, it’s just that this time we turn left at the top, not right. We have 1.2km at 9.6%, with a maximum gradient of 20.3%. This is a real leg breaker of an effort, the type of hill that most pros hate but we fans love. To give you a useful comparison, the Mur de Huy is 1.3km at 9.3%, these climbs are very similar to each other.

Once the bunch turn right onto the climb they are immediately faced with gradients over 10%. It then eases off to around 6% for the next 300m, before the real horror hits the riders. The next 400m is up around 15%, before it eventually levels off for the finish. This is a brilliant climb, exactly the finish I love to watch.


Another sunny day with very little wind.


The first ascent of the climb tops out with 33km to go. I would imagine the morning break will have been caught by this point and we’ll see riders attacking and trying to create a new group. It will be interesting to see if any of the big hitters will take a risk and attack early, some teams have enough options to do this, but it takes balls as your GC chances will be blown if the move is caught. As we have a lot of big teams, and the stage isn’t too hard, there should be enough fresh legs to close this move down and set up a big finish.

Positioning for the start of the climb will be important. The riders approach on a wide road, there will be a fight for what is a relatively tight corner. Being at the front ensures you can cover any moves, but it also means you’re not wasting energy trying to move up the pack. Looking at the teams, I would think that Ineos will likely have the best position.

DS Cycling Mole

Time for me to move over to Israel Start-Up Nation.

Right lads, 4th and 16th today, not bad, but how the fuck did Bauke Mollema beat you in a sprint? Stage 2 is brilliant for both Woodsy and Danny. The rest of you boys have one job to do, get them to the front of the bunch for the final climb. Dan, if I see you starting the climb in 40th place, do not come back onto the bus, you can cycle back to the hotel. No silly early attacks, I want both of you near the front monitoring the situation. Woodsy, you watch out for Fugls. Danny, you watch out for Trek. The gradient is perfect for both of you, as long as you don’t do anything daft we’ll win this stage.

One more thing, do not get beaten by Bauke Mollema ever again.


ISUN – they have two great options for this type of finish: Woods and Martin. Michael Woods was 3rd in Flèche Wallonne and won a stage in Tirreno that featured a brutal ramp. He’ll start as the favourite, but Dan Martin shouldn’t be underestimated. He has a very good record at Flèche, he was 5th last year despite starting the climb in around 40th place. After the initial punch of the climb, it does flatten out for 250m, which is perfect for someone to launch a long-range attack. Having two options allows the team a little flexibility in how they approach the finish.

FDJ – my initial thought was this would be a great finish for David Gaudu, and he’s done a recon of this stage too. However, his previous results in this type of finish aren’t actually that great, possibly because he just hasn’t done that many of them. The team also have Valentin Madouas, he was 11th in Flèche last year. I would expect them to go for Gaudu, no way he’s done a recon for nothing.

Ineos – just like today they have a number of options for this type of finish. Narváez and Pidcock are probably best suited to this one. Pidcock obviously doesn’t have many reference points, but Narváez does have previous in this type of climb. In the Tour de Wallonie, he smashed up 700m at 12.5% leading a pack which included Van Avermaet and Štybar. In Coppi Bartali, he was 2nd to Andrea Bagioli in a similarly steep finish. Both riders were off the pace today, but that doesn’t mean they can’t win this one. As this stage is a little easier, it brings Pidcock into the equation.

Trek Segafredo – the steep finish probably suits Mollema a little more than Ciccone, but both are a real threat. Mollema is a regular at Flèche Wallonne, he usually finishes in the top 10. Confidence will be high after today’s brilliant win, I didn’t see Bauke winning on that type of finish. With two strong cards to play, the team will be hopeful of consecutive wins.

Jakob Fuglsang – he’s massively improved in this type of finish over the last couple of years. I wouldn’t say he’s the favourite to win the stage, but I do think he should be challenging for the top 5. The Dane has spoken about his winter training being a little lighter than in previous years, so we’ll have to wait and see if his current shape is good enough to challenge for the win.

Prediction Time

In this type of finish, I think it should be between Fuglsang, Martin, Woods and Gaudu, but those Trek boys are clearly in good form. Given the steepness of the finish I have to go for Michael Woods.

David Hunter

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