Tour de France 2020 | Stage 2 (Nice Haut Pays - Nice, 186 km)

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Wout van Aert is more or less fully committed in supporting the captain, hence he will only get a green light if the opportunity won't go against it. Alaphilippe in my opinion wasted way too much energy today, chasing the peloton multiple times. His legs will likely remember that tomorrow.
 
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Given the buildup and stage 1, this would have been the perfect day to test people on the first 2 climbs, but apart from JV probably no team is strong enough to do that and control the finish.

My guess would be snail pace on the Colmiane and something half-hearted on the Turini. Probably from Astana indeed
Sadly, I tend to agree with this view... After today, I see Astana as the only one team that could try something in terms of isolating the big names, not necessarily trying to drop Pinot, Bernal or Dumoulin on Colmiane or Turini...

If Astana wanted to set a hard pace up the Turini, I see the big guys from JV and INEOS responding solidly (Roglic's body language and presence today looked strong and I wouldn't think INEOS would have let Sivakov lose all that time if they doubted Bernal...).
Still, some leaders could find themselves relatively isolated with a long ways to go and a testing final bit of the stage with the climbs to Eze and 4Chemins, where it's pretty much anyone's game on a classics-type of terrain with selective but not super-sharp climbing and descending on very technical and changing roads
 
Must say that Bernal looked a bit off today, expression on his face. Possibly back pain involved? Or maybe just related to bad weather and not enjoying the experience.

P.S. Stage 2 should give more definite answers, regarding that.
 
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Aug 29, 2020
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Must say that Bernal looked a bit off today, expression on his face. Possibly back pain involved? Or maybe just related to bad weather and not enjoying the experience.

P.S. Stage 2 should give more definite answers, regarding that.
He doesn't look super, but i think today for him was probably just a hard day full of nerves seeing everybody crashing all over the place because he had everything to lose and nothing to win
 
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What I think it would happen is that they will just waste the first two climbs as @roundabout said, and do some sort of effort to pick up the pace in the last 2 short climbs, getting a small group to the finish.
What I would like to see is some teams built with climbers, to put a controlled effort in the hard sections of Colmiane and Turini, so we can get some chases going on before Col d'Eze and not Tony Martin dictating the pace up until the first pass on the finish line.
 
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Well, the dim possibility of something crazy happening will have me watching the whole stage anyway I guess... if I squint I could see a good climber testing things on one of the early climbs, a couple of potential contenders not being able to follow the main bunch, and then a regrouping where those in the first group drill it for the rest of the stage to eliminate threats early, depending on teammates/makeup of the front group. But I haven't really seen so much of glimmers of that in the Tour in 16 years of watching. But one can hope!
 
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Be a lot of sore bodies who won't enjoy the start of the stage. Be interesting to see how hard the GC riders race the climbs at this stage of the race. The break could succeed with the right group of riders. Could be a stage for a few early casualties on GC but not the top tier of contenders.
 
Won’t be easy to get a break clear, since if the break stays away whomever wins will be in yellow. For the same reason some puncheurs’s teams would try to keep the break close enough so they can attack and get yellow. Too bad Gilbert is out (for his sake too) since he would be my pick for today. Instead I will go with Sagan from the group that includes some sprinters who come on the descent.
 
Nobody is mentioning "the old man" Valverde. He was decent in not so mountainous and hard stages in Burgos and Dauphine coming 3rd and 4th... I think he form is on the rise, he could be a factor here...
 
Yesterday I was totally wrong. I thought that more riders would want to go in the break. I think with more then 3 riders there would have been a little chance especially under that circumstances.
Tomorrow is again the chance to get the yellow jersey for the good punchy climbers. A lot of guys want to be in the break, so I think there will some hard racing for the first kilometers or even until the first climb. It will be really hard for a team to control or reduce the gap on the hard climbs. I don't know if Jumbo wants to control it from the beginning Tony Martin for sure. There will be no fight for the general classification but I can't imagine other good climbers want to miss the chance for yellow tomorrow or even slip away unter the radar to get a bit of a gap like Alaphilippe last year.
 
Won’t be easy to get a break clear, since if the break stays away whomever wins will be in yellow. For the same reason some puncheurs’s teams would try to keep the break close enough so they can attack and get yellow. Too bad Gilbert is out (for his sake too) since he would be my pick for today. Instead I will go with Sagan from the group that includes some sprinters who come on the descent.
I think this will be the main reason why the pace won´t be as slow as some people expect. Medium mountain stage without an established GC order. In the 3rd week guys like Formolo, Nieve, Lutsenko or Bilbao would be in the break on a stage like this. I don´t think that is going to happen today. To big of a risk for the GC guys.
I also think that GC teams will target the bonus sprint to gain some seconds. Veteran move to get the team car in a better position.
 
Really hard to go past Alaphillippe for this one. Very good form, very strong team, parcours that looks great for him, a yellow to play for. Not many could withstand a big attack of his on the D'eze; two that could won't be there - Matthews and Gilbert. Anyone else who can hang on probs won't be able to match him in the sprint.

So I suppose I'm saying: maybe age has finally caught up with Bala.
 
Really hard to go past Alaphillippe for this one. Very good form, very strong team, parcours that looks great for him, a yellow to play for. Not many could withstand a big attack of his on the D'eze; two that could won't be there - Matthews and Gilbert. Anyone else who can hang on probs won't be able to match him in the sprint.

So I suppose I'm saying: maybe age has finally caught up with Bala.
I’d agree he’s just about the favourite but certainly not an overwhelming one.
I’d suggest his form isn’t that great. Decent enough but easy to pick holes in (got away with super strong Wout in MSR, got clear twice in the Dauphiné but was roundly thumped by Formolo and Kamna).
Again, DQS look decent enough but not exceptional. Some big engines and high quality riders but there isn’t a great deal of flat on stage 2 so it may not be ideal for them.
 
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Today some of the masks will drop off - figuratively speaking. I don't expect an open battle between the GC favorites, but some of the guys in lesser shape will probably lose time, e.g. Adam Yates, Zakarin, D. Martin etc. Riders who crashed heavily yesterday could also lose time. It will become clearer who the favorites are. Jumbo will probably control the race.

In the attacking department Alaphilippe is certainly a candidate, but I'm also looking at Pogacar. He was the only GC rider in the first group yesterday and he seems eager to prove something in his first Tour. Maybe Daniel Martinez could try something as well. I hope the racing will be agressive, not just a sprint with forty.
 
Perhaps the easiest way for the "GC" teams to control this stage is to put a second tier rider into the scrum for the break and force someone else to chase. Obviously depends on condition after yesterday's disarray but we could see Gesink (all hail) or G Bennett up there. More difficult for Ineos as their second tier GC men had horrible days yesterday.
 
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I don't get this theory that teams wouldn't want to get the yellow yersey "too soon" as if they are obliged to defend it afterwards? Why not just take time on your opponents and not bother to waste energy defending the jersey? I feel like I'm missing something obvious here.
Having yellow means more ceremonies, interviews, controls etc., so you arrive later in your hotel. If you have to maintain that for three weeks it can be a disadvantage. A GC favorite would rather be second or third in the first half of the Tour.

There's also some kind of unwritten rule that the team of the yellow jersey is supposed to control the race to defend the jersey, but that's an unwritten rule and not always true. Usually there are other teams with a reason to work: sprint, team classification... The team with the yellow jersey can also decide to give ten minutes to a breakaway if no one dangerous is in it.
 
Having yellow means more ceremonies, interviews, controls etc., so you arrive later in your hotel. If you have to maintain that for three weeks it can be a disadvantage. A GC favorite would rather be second or third in the first half of the Tour.
That seems like a dangerous way to think though; what if you have your best legs in the beginning of the race and you missed your best shots at distancing your rivals? I doubt the disadvantage of having to go to these ceremonies outweighs the missed opportunities tbh
 
That seems like a dangerous way to think though; what if you have your best legs in the beginning of the race and you missed your best shots at distancing your rivals? I doubt the disadvantage of having to go to these ceremonies outweighs the missed opportunities tbh
One; distancing your rivals, doesn't exclude the other; not wanting to have yellow the entire time.
It's not unheard of that the GC teams allow second-tier riders get away and take the leader's jersey for a few days,
 
That seems like a dangerous way to think though; what if you have your best legs in the beginning of the race and you missed your best shots at distancing your rivals? I doubt the disadvantage of having to go to these ceremonies outweighs the missed opportunities tbh
This is usually a moot point as normally, there are very few opportunities for GC men to take yellow in the first week.
I'd estimate that the ceremonies, interviews and controls mean the leader would arrive at the team hotel between 2-3 hours after his teammates. Multiply that by 10-15 days and clearly that's a significant amount of time talking to media or peeing in a bottle that could be spent recuperating .
 
It is a great opportunity to test those who is coming into this Tour with some question marks attached to their name, and after yesterday.

I hope it begins with a longer drawn-out fight to go in the break.

Col de la Comaine may not be the hardest of climbs, but it is still a long climb. If they dont soft-pedal it completely, then Col de la Turini comes right after it and thats a bit tougher and almost as long. I hope a team tries to drill it just to see if anyone struggles/drops. Create a smaller peloton/group. Sets up for an exciting finale. Where I hope for some attacks.
 
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