By David Hunter
Jerusalem 9.7km ITT
The race begins with a time trial in Jerusalem.
The route looks relatively technical, but it’s actually quite easy. There are a few corners as the riders turn for home, but the vast majority of the corners can be taken at speed. This is a TT for the specialists.
As you can see, there is little flat in the 9.7km. The gradients are nothing to worry about, but the kick to the finish line could catch a few out.
The bumpy nature of the course will certainly make it a little more exciting to watch.
Damn hot! The wind is light and constant throughout the day, meaning the weather won’t have an impact on the race.
Rohan Dennis – the Aussie starts as the massive favourite for the stage win and a spell in the pink jersey. He has a positive experience of this type of pressure, remember he won the opening stage of the Tour de France in 2015. The distance of around 10km is perfect for him and he has regularly beaten the majority of these riders in the last couple of years. I wouldn’t be overly concerned about him not winning the Romandie prologue, this is much more his style.
Tom Dumoulin – winner of the opening stage of the Giro back in 2016, when he just beat Primoz Roglic. The defending champion will be keen to get his race off to a good start and take time on his GC rivals. Dumoulin rarely wins TTs these days, apart from the World Championships! I think he can challenge Dennis for the win.
Jos Van Emden – won the final TT in the 2017 Giro, his first “big” win. The 33 year old is a classy TT rider, but he seems to have an issue with Rohan Dennis. The Aussie always seems capable of doing just enough to beat his rival, it’s hard to see that changing.
Alex Dowsett – would need a near perfect 10km to win the stage, but that’s not unachievable. The Englishman was a rider who many thought would go on to achieve great things, but he’s been stuck in the “average” category for a while.
Ryan Mullen – the Irishman is one of the rising stars of this discipline. Winning the stage will be beyond him, but he’ll be locked in a battle to take the white jersey. I expect to see him challenging for the top 5.
Tony Martin – the four time TT champion of the world will hope to turn back the clock. Now 33 years of age, it’s been a while since we’ve seen him challenging in a TT. This will have been his focus for a number of months and I think he can challenge for the win.
Victor Campenaerts – another of the rising stars. The Belgian is now with Lotto Soudal, a team not known for a fast TT bike. On his day, he can be up there with the best, but he can be inconsistent.
Mads Pedersen – the Dane will be fighting for the white jersey. The 22 year old is a fantastic TT rider and seems to be making huge progression in this discipline. He will have his eye on a podium finish and the white jersey.
Expect a big win for Rohan Dennis. The distance is perfect for him.
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