The Tour Take | GIRO D'ITALIA Stage 2
1st – Elia Viviani
2nd – Jakub Mareczko s.t.
3rd – Sam Bennett s.t.
167 kilometres of flatland fun from Haifa to Tel Aviv; the pancakes I had for breakfast were lumpier than this, and not just because I used some fairly questionable milk. The only inclines to deal with were two miniscule lumps in the middle of the stage; the second was a cat 4 climb, and hosted a battle royal between the Pro-Conti teams for a day in the Maglia Azzurra. The sprint itself was pretty technical though, with a lot of testing corners, but it was arrow straight for the last 800m.
Rohan Dennis took the Maglia Rosa – BMC chased down the early break, and then led out Dennis in the second intermediate sprint of the day. The 3-second time bonus was enough to overhaul Dumoulin’s advantage from the ITT.
Enrico Barbin of Bardiani wears the Maglia Azzura for the KOM, while Viviani takes the Maglia Ciclamino for the points competition. Max Schachmann holds onto the Maglia Bianca for the Young Riders classification.
The early break took a while to go, and they didn’t last long either. Lars Bak and David Ballerini were joined by Guillaume Boivin, but were brought back before the categorised climb in the middle of the stage, and we had some battles for the Maglias Rosa and Azzura. After the sprint, Campenaerts had a solo break, before Guillaume Boivin had another crack with 60km to go. Boivin got a minute’s gap, but the peloton was just in a holding pattern until they caught him with 16km to go.
As with all sprints in Grand Tours, this was hectic. Surprisingly, QuickStep were pretty unorganised, but it didn’t matter. Drapac lead it out for Modolo with 500 to go, and just as Sam Bennett’s Bora were coming around the outside, Bardiani’s Jakub Mareczko took a flyer from a long way back. Viviani followed his wheel and came around the outside as easy as you like. Sam Bennett could only come home third. An ominous warning for the sprints at this Giro considering how little help Viviani got.
The GC Movers and Shakers
The 3 seconds Rohan Dennis took likely won’t decide the Giro, and it helps everyone out; Dennis completes his collection of Grand Tour leaders jerseys, and it takes the pressure off of Sunweb to chase. Dumoulin said yesterday they’d likely try to find someone to take the Maglia Rosa for a little while. As long as he’s wearing it in Rome on the final day, he’ll be happy. One of the Team Sky ‘emergencies’ Wout Poels lost 40 seconds and Belgian Ben Hermans lost 1:05, perhaps revealing he is here to sniff out a stage win rather than the GC.
20th - Zac Dempster @ st
38th - Rohan Dennis @ st
39th – Adam Hansen @ st
59th – Ben O’ Connor @ st
160th – Jack Haig @ 1:05
161st – Chris Hamilton @ 1:05
171st- Mitch Docker @ 1:54
Tonight’s 229km stage from Be’er Sheva to Ellat is the second longest stage of the race and the last in Israel. Over the first 80km, the stage gradually ascends from 300m to 800m above sea level, before a slightly rolling route takes them back down, incorporating another Category 4 climb along the way.
There’s nothing overly testing all day, (the Faran River climb only averages 7.2% for 1.2km), and it should end in a sprint. A hairpin roundabout with 1.6km to go, a turn with about 300m to go; you want to be second or third wheel through that corner.
With the corner at 300m to go, you want a strong leadout – Viviani is the strongest rider here by the length of the Flemington straight, but Quickstep wernt much chop in this stage. If he’s near the front, he’ll win. Simple as that.
See you back at the social club,