By David Hunter
Lido Di Camaiore 21.5km TTT
The race begins with the usual TTT.
Flat as a pancake and very fast. We’ve seen this route many times and most of the riders here know it well. Time to taste some blood!
Not great for those that want the same conditions for all. The race begins at 1400CET, when the wind will be around 20mph and coming from the west. An hour later it is 15mph and at 1600CET it’s 9mph.
The other bad news is the rain, something we don’t usually get in Tirreno. It is expected to rain heavily just before the start of the stage and those out early will get wet roads. The rain is expected to get lighter and eventually stop for the last few teams. We don’t have many corners, but rain will certainly make the early teams go slower.
Jumbo Visma – the Dutch squad arrive with six of the seven men that won the TTT in Abu Dhabi, with Robert Gesink replacing Tom Leezer. That day was meant to be a try out for this stage, it certainly went very well. The Jumbo boys are very well drilled, and the additions of Tony Martin and Laurens De Plus certainly make them a lot faster than they were in 2018. When you consider they also have Primož Roglič and Jos Van Emden, you get an idea of the speed that they can generate. With Roglič looking to win the GC, they’ll be very keen on immediately taking time on their rivals.
Team Sky – they arrive with a very fast looking squad: Thomas, Ganna, Stannard, Poels, Moscon, Puccio and Castroviejo. That looks strong enough to push the Jumbo boys very close, but only if all of their riders are at 100%.
Team Sunweb – after losing to the Jumbo boys in the UAE Tour, you can bet that Sunweb are looking to get back on top. They arrive with Dumoulin, Haga, Kragh Andersen, Arndt, Oomen, Power and Roche, but compared to Jumbo and Sky, they seem to have a couple of weak links. The presence of Power and Roche will slow Sunweb down a little and I can’t see them taking the win.
QuickStep – the might lack some of the big names, but I think they look fast: Asgreen, Alaphilippe, Lampaert, Mørkøv, Richeze, Štybar and Viviani. Given the current form of some of their riders, I think they’ll be confident of challenging for the top 3 and getting Alaphilippe off to a good start in the GC battle.
Mitchelton Scott – the Aussies always go well here. They arrive with: Adam Yates, Bookwalter, Durbridge, Edmondson, Hepburn, Howson and Juul-Jensen. This squad has a huge amount of experience, not to mention power. The weakest link is Adam Yates, but he was also part of the squad that finished 2nd here in 2018. Yates needs to be protected, but he performs better in this discipline than an ITT.
Looking at the merits of each of the squads, I just can’t see past Jumbo-Visma, but starting at 1515 means they don’t get the best of the weather. Instead, I’ll go with Mitchelton-Scott, who start last and get the best of the weather.
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