1) There's a loop at the end of stage 2 designed to have mostly headwind and tailwind, so the chance of echelons is uncertain.
2) Formigal came rigth after a mountain stage with 4 brutal climbs, the easiest being Marie-Blanque. I can't see that kind of riding in stage 3 with legs still fresh. If they go all out in those climbs the best we can hope for is something like Gap after Col de Manse.
True Formigal came after a brutal stage - but Froomey can/should be caught off guard as early as possible and this is a terrific chance - and this is perhaps the best chance together with Bermejo (I am still split about stage 5&6 - could be epic - could be snoozzinh....)
It is too bad a fresh Poels is gonna babysit Froome. If that wasn't the case I think giro guys like Zakarin, Nibali and maybe Pozzovivo can crack him. He certainly is gonna jojo again, but I think at some point he may not be able to come back again and again with the form he has shown throughout this season.
Formolo is ill. He has been ill since the Tour of Poland where he was supposed to lead the team but fell ill and Cannondale started with only 6 riders. Villella, who is leaving to Astana, is going to this race so I don't think the issue is that Formolo leaves.
Rather uninspiring team and I don't thnk many chances for stage wins will come unless Woods is in good form. To me is doesn't look like a team they wanted to bring here but the shape of some riders is apparently not what they hoped to be.
He was 3rd in the two stages in Vuelta a Burgos with a punchy finish. In the first one he was the best from the bunch as the winner and runner up came from a break. The Vuelta has a stronger field than Burgos and his problem will be that if he wants to win from the main group he needs to up his game, and if he tries from a break he'll probably be treated like Sagan and everybody will ride against him.
It seems to happen now and then that a country that has been strong for years falls into a slump. The USA are not breaking records of late either for important wins. Although i read something last year I think it was written by Delgado who said he was worried about the state of Spanish cycling at the junior level and neo pro level. Seeing a long term team like Euskadel fold wasn't a good sign but they are not the only country suffering economically and with races disappearing off the calendar. How long were the Dutch waiting for a GT win ? Dumoulin delivered but the French are still waiting ! Take out the veteran Valverde and it looks even more bleak.
sprint yersey - someone who will be in TOP 6-8 in GC and has a good finish, maybe Chaves
KOM - Fraile the biggest favourite, but someone with GC ambitions who lose chance of good GC result after 3rd stage could challenge him.... or maybe some pro-konti rider like Warbasse