UAE Tour 2021 – Stage 2 preview

By David Hunter

Al Hudayriyat Island 13.1km ITT

TT day.

The route looks like the drawing of a young child. The corners are wide enough that riders won’t have to use their brakes much, perfect for the powerhouses of the peloton.

Weather

Another nice day and we have a northerly wind of around 15km/h. The route is mainly headwind and the wind is to slightly increase throughout the day.

Contenders

Filippo Ganna – obviously starts as the enormous favourite, the rest are racing for second. Ganna won the TT in Bessèges, and this one suits him even better. The flat circuit is perfect for him, he really is a monster on the bike. Only a mechanical can stop him from taking another win.

João Almeida – the climber is very good on the TT bike, just think back to the Giro. He’s in a big fight with Pogačar to try and win this race, he needs a good result in this stage. He has the power required to challenge for the podium.

Thomas De Gendt – despite his results, some continue to underestimate his ability on the TT bike. He usually saves his best performances for grand tours, but he is capable of the podium.

Mikkel Bjerg – the three time under 23 ITT world champion will be looking forward to this one. He did a fair bit of work today in the crosswinds, but that shouldn’t have any impact on this stage. He’s another who’ll be eyeing up the podium.

Stefan Bissegger – the young Swiss rider is one who has already impressed on his TT bike, he was 3rd in the BinckBank Tour TT last year. EF are a team who normally do well in TTs, and this kid is a big star of the future.

Mattia Cattaneo – he looked in very good form today, almost coming home with the win. The Italian is looking at home with DQS, a team who’ll get the very best out of him. He ended 2020 in fine form, and seems to have enjoyed his winter. He should be challenging for the top 10.

Tadej Pogačar – given the importance of the race to his sponsors, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him challenging for the podium in this stage.

Prediction Time

Easy for Filippo Ganna, and not much between Almeida and Pogačar. Adam Yates will be desperately hoping to finish within 20 seconds of his main GC rivals.

David Hunter

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