Time to get stuck in to the Giro d’Italia in earnest. Stage 2 is a nice 190km stretch from Arnhem to Nijmegen, staying the Netherlands and enjoying the flat roads that are on hand. The stage is certain to end in a sprint finish and with time gaps at the top of the leaderboard likely to be very slim, the higher placed sprinters will be on high alert for a chance to grab the pink jersey.
Stage 2: Arnhem – Nijmegen. 190km
A city of some 150,000 people, Arnhem was considered in 2010 to be the greenest city in Europe. A key city during the second world war, and arguably a location where battles and resulting defeat for the allied forces lengthened the war by a year and a half; the city will be the departure venue for stage 2 of the Giro as 200 of the world’s finest take on the a stage that is destined for a sprint.
Look very hard at the route profile and you can just about make out the tiny ripples that represent the climbs of the stage. There is even a generous king of the mountains offering to a breakaway that will doubtless form. The Berg-en-Dal peaks with 35km remaining and is unlikely to stop the sprinters who will be licking their lips at the thought of the sprint finish. To close out the day’s racing the field will take on two laps of an 8.6km circuit in Nijmegen; one of the three oldest cities in Holland.
Last year it was Elia Viviani who made Italy cheer when he took out the first road stage of the 2015 Giro d’Italia. It was also his first ever win in his home grand tour; and a gloriously proud moment for the now 27 year old. It will be interesting to see not only how the big sprint teams operate, but who they will be when the final start list is released for this year’s race.
As we write this Mark Cavendish of Dimension Data, 15 time stage winner at the Giro d”italia, is undecided as to whether he will attend the Giro d’Italia this year. The Manx Missile told Cyclingnews in January, “I don’t know. I really don’t know. I’d like to.” But one or two factors – including a run up to the Tour de France, Olympic Games and World Championships – may factor into a final decision from him.