A stage for the sprinters in a race with few sprinters? The big name sprinters are missing but many others will fancy their chances today.
Stage 1 Wrap: a win for Team Sky, milliseconds ahead of Movistar. Sky won and Movistar lost, the Spanish team tried to put Alejandro Valverde in front but the manoeuvring must have cost them time. The stage win is anecdotal, the more significant matter is the relative standings of the riders. Tinkoff and Cannondale were both 52 seconds down and Lampre-Merida were last meaning Louis Meintjes surrenders two minutes in one stage.
The Route: 160.8km and a ride to the coast in Baiona. The Alto de Fontefria is the climb of the day, 8.2km but just 3.2% and few other obstacles along the way but this is Galicia and the Vuelta and what looks like a gentle stage still has over 2,000 metres of vertical gain which is a lot for an easy day.
Remember there are time bonuses of 3-2-1 at the intermediate sprint in Vigo and then 10-6-4 on the finish line.
The Finish: fast and flat on a seafront esplanade.
The Contenders: a sprint finish only there are no big name sprinters in the race. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a sprint, teams like Trek-Segafredo will back Niccolò Bonifazio, Etixx-Quickstep for Gianni Meersman and Giant-Alpecin for Nikias Arndt each knowing that they might not have the world’s best sprinter but neither do their rivals so they might as well aim for a sprint. Ditto BMC Racing and Jean-Pierre “Jempy” Drucker, Orica-Greenedge for Magnus Cort Nielsen and IAM Cycling with Jonas Van Genechten. Among all these riders many would prefer a hillier, harder finish. Van Genechten and Arndt are the picks for a pure sprint but Meersman and Drucker seem to be the form picks.
The paucity of sprinters means fewer teams and less commitment to a sprint finish
|Gianni Meersman, J-P Drucker
|Niccolò Bonifazio, Nikias Arndt
|Van Genechten, Sbaragli
Weather: warm and sunny with a top temperature of 26°C