Yesterday’s dramatic and chaotic opening stage of the 100th Edition of the Tour de France provided a heart stopping beginning to the greatest cycling show on earth.
Under any other circumstances, that may seem like a gross over exaggeration, however, this is not the case when you’re talking about the most well known of the three Grand Tours.
From Orica GreenEdge getting stuck on the finish line, to poor Johnny Hoogerland getting tangled in the bunting to the numerous crashes heading into the finish line, it was a nail biting stage. Speaking of Johnny Hoogerland, you do have to ask if the poor bloke can take a trick in the TdF.
All of the big name sprinters went down with the exception of Germany’s Marcel Kittel who won the stage. Even a few of the GC lads meet with the bitumen, including Alberto Contador, who I’m hoping will win the race.
Today’s stage will be a very different race to yesterday’s chaos. The sprinters will have the chance to spend the 156 kilometre stage from Bastia to Ajaccio, nursing their wounds as those who love to climb will have some fun on the day’s four categorized climbs.
There will be a sprint at the thirty three kilometre mark, then the peloton will head toward the category three climb, the Col de Bellagranajo. This Cat Three climb is a climb of 6.6 kilometres and has a gradient of 4.6%. Around fifteen ks further down the road the boys will find themselves pushing up the Cat Two Col de la Serra. This is steeper and longer at 5.2 kilometres with a gradient of 6.9%. There will be no rest for the wicked though, with the second Cat Two climb just up ahead. Riders will face the 4.6 km Col de Vizzavona with its gradient of 6.5% at around the 95 kilometre mark of the stage.
The climbs don’t finish here though, with a final Cat Three climb twelve kilometres from the finish. It is a short 1 kilometre climb but its gradient of 8.9% at the end of what is looking like a hard day in the saddle will test riders, especially those nursing wounds from yesterday.
The ride from here to the finish isn’t exactly flat with a few more lumps for the riders to contend with.
Today is a day that once again could cause carnage, although for different reasons to yesterday’s stage. Any GC contender will need to be on their toes as time lost early on may prove very difficult to make up.
Join me from 10pm AEST for tonight’s live blog of Stage 2 of the Tour de France.