This stage is classified as flat but it has nine climbs so it’s up and down all day before they hit Sheffield.
Sunday 6th July: Stage 2 – York to Sheffield, flat, 201km
If some riders were surprised by the severity of yesterday’s three climbs, I really hope they’ve read their road-books overnight. Nine climbs today – starting with the wonderfully named Côte de Blubberhouses – three cat 4s, five cat 3s and one cat 2, so it’s more like a Belgian classic than a straightforward sprint stage.
Four of those hills come in the final 35km – the last just 5km from the finish – with average gradients of 6.1%, 7.4%, 9.1% and finally 10.8% on the 800-metre ascent of Jenkin Road. And if a solo rider or a small group can get away, a flat final 4km that twists and turns fiendishly will be helpful in holding off the peloton.
This is the kind of territory that Ardennes specialists and strong men such as Peter Sagan will love. Or Fabian Cancellara* might just think he’s in Flanders and make a break to time-trial his way to the finish.
If it does come down to a bunch sprint, it’ll be scrappy and the peloton will be a lot thinner than yesterday. Marcel Kittel‘s stint in the maillot jaune could come to an abrupt end today. And, after yesterday’s crash left him with a dislocated shoulder, it will be an achievement for Mark Cavendish to even make it to the start and finish.
* I’m going to keep saying it until Fabs wins a stage …
Link: Official website
Header image: Holme Moss, Yorkshire