Tour de Romandie 2016 – Stage 2 Preview

By David Hunter

Moudin – Morgins 173.9km

Mountains!

romandía 2a

This stage could really all depend on the weather.

romandía 2

The riders are due to climb to over 1300metres. With quite a lot of snow around, the stage could be changed. The last two climbs are very difficult, with just a short descent in between. They are 7.1km at 7% and 7.3km at 7.1%. That is over 14km of climbing at 7%, no easy feat.

Weather

Luckily tomorrow is due to be a nice day. It might only get up to 4 degrees, but it should be sunny. Crucially, there will be no overnight snow, so the roads should be in an okay condition. To me, it looks like the stage will go ahead as planned. Good news!

Showdown on the Slopes

Froome, Quintana, Pinot, Zakarin, Spilak, Bardet, Majka, Porte, Van Garderen, Rui Costa, Izagirre, Thomas, Reichenbach, Uran.

That is one hell of a list of climbers. With most teams having multiple options, it should be a very tactical battle. Sky don’t have their usual strong squad with them. Froome looks like he’ll only have the support of Nieve and Thomas. There will be no Sky mountain train.

Instead, Movistar, are the strongest squad. Quintana can count upon the support of Herrada, Gorka Izagirre, Amador, Anacona and Ion Izagirre. That really is an impressive looking Movistar team, they will look to dictate the race and pressurise the other teams. It should be the objective of Movistar to reduce the other squads to single riders, giving them a numerical advantage.

BMC, FDJ and Katusha all have two options. I’m very interested to see what Thibaut Pinot can do. He really does look ready to make a big step forward and he’ll be keen to measure himself against the best in the world. He won the Queen stage in 2015, so is used to being on good form at this time of the year, plus he goes well in cold weather.

A breakaway stands little chance of winning, with gaps still relatively low. When the big favourites look at each other, riders like Mathias Frank, Louis Vervaeke, Miguel Angel Lopez and Davide Formolo will hope that they can escape. This is not very likely.

Prediction Time

I think four riders are above the rest:- Froome, Quintana, Pinot and Zakarin.

Movistar certainly have the strongest team, that should put Quintana at a serious advantage. Looking back at last year’s Tour de France, there isn’t a huge amount between him and Froome. This is the point where the Colombian will look to rise above Froome and strike a blow. It shall be interesting to see if Pinot and Zakarin can follow. Zakarin did look in great shape on Sunday, but with the Giro a week away, he’ll have to carefully manage his efforts.

I shall go for Nairo!

David Hunter

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