Fast and flat and potentially a repeat of yesterday’s stage, only if Marcel Kittel can win again he’ll take the overall lead in the race.
Stage 2 Wrap: Marcel Kittel won with apparent ease. Several other sprinters and their teams were derailed with only FDJ keeping things together at the end at least until EQS’s Fabio Sabatini jumped prompting FDJ to react early. No matter, Kittel launched his sprint before FDJ had even finished their manoeuvres for what looked like an easy win. The German is showing what the Italians call “great health”.
The Route: another stage as flat as a pannenkoek. Today’s stage is almost the reverse of yesterday’s route, instead of Arnhem to Nijmegen now it’s Nijmegen to Arnhem only with a loop to the east instead of to the west but it’s equally as flat. There is the climb to the Posbank on a ridge and like yesterday a genuine hill but unlike yesterday’s wooded climb this is an exposed effort on open terrain.
The Finish: two laps in and around Arnhem before a long curving finishing straight, just like yesterday. It’s as simple as that although the run to the line is slightly downhill which increases the chance of a crash.
The Contenders: yesterday’s preview cited all the reasons why Kittel was going to win and now we can add the ease of his win yesterday and add the prospect of the pink jersey on top. If anything it feels too much and many will be queuing on his wheel and relaunching their sprint trains.
Among all the rest there’s still too much quality in the field, it’s a matter of several teams being able to drop their sprinter in contention. Easier written than done but surely more teams will deliver today.
|André Greipel, Arnaud Démare
|Hofland, Viviani, Modolo, Viviani
Weather: warm, sunny and a top temperature of 25°C. The wind gets up to 25km/h, stronger than yesterday and enough for teams to exploit in places.
TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm Euro time with TV coverage beginning at 2.15pm but save yourself and tune in later.
Eurosport is covering the race across most of Europe. beIN SPORT has the rights in the US and France while Italian host broadcaster RAI offers the best coverage with experienced commentators as well as roving reporters on motorbikes to add extra coverage. As ever cyclingfans.com, cyclinghub and steephill.tv are the go-to sites for schedules and pirata feeds. The timing will vary but the finish is expected for around 5.15pm CET each day.