By David Hunter
Banyoles – Banyoles 41km TTT
The second stage is TTT day. At 41km long, this will have a massive impact on the GC.
Although we don’t have any categorised climbs, the opening 27km is rarely flat. A TTT is a difficult art form to master, when there are climbs to deal with, some teams just blow! This is a tough stage for all concerned.
A nice day, with a constant light wind throughout. Perfect conditions for the riders.
BMC – they come here fresh from an amazing display in Tirreno. They beat QuickStep by 17 seconds, over a course just 10km long, that was a brilliant effort. Of that squad, Dennis and Van Garderen are here, two of their best. Dennis also won the ITT in Tirreno and we’ll see him doing long pulls on the front. BMC might not have their very best squad here, but all of their riders have a good base level when it comes to this discipline. They start as the favourites.
QuickStep – not their strongest squad. They will hope to make the podium, but I see them being a considerable distance behind BMC. Not great news for Dan Martin’s overall chances.
Team Sky – this looks like a serious squad. As the route has lots of climbing, they will be pleased to have Froome, Thomas, Rosa and Kennaugh. They also have the huge engine of Vasil Kiryienka and remember that Team Sky won the Vuelta TTT back in August. Sky have a real chance of winning this stage and putting Froome and Thomas into a strong overall position.
Movistar – always go well on home soil, but will rely heavily on Jonathan Castroviejo. The team are made up of strong riders, they will like this route. Valverde will be hoping for a strong performance, he doesn’t want to lose time to the Sky riders. As we have two big mountain stages ahead, the Spaniard will hope to be defending his position, not trying to attack Team Sky.
Orica Scott – the Aussies bring a nice mix of climbers and strong riders, perfect for this terrain. After a strong performance in Tirreno, they will be hopefully for a spot on the podium, placing Adam Yates in a strong overall position. They used to be the best TTT squad in the world, but not any more. Despite looking strong, I don’t see them challenging for the win.
Lotto Jumbo – top 6 material. Not overly strong, but good enough for a decent time.
This should be a three way fight between BMC, Sky and Movistar. Despite the presence of Rohan Dennis, I think we’ll see an upset and Team Sky will emerge victoriuous. I really like the look of their squad.
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