Breakaway riders such as De Gendt are dreaming of the yellow jersey on day one, but actually, strong sprinters are more likely to turn out on top in the opener. Which is impossible on stage 2. The elevation gain favours the chances of attackers, although a clash of GC men is another viable option.
The route takes in four climbs. Just like stage 1, but the ascents on stage 2 are something else entirely. The first one is the Col de Colmiane, a 16.3 kilometres climb at 6.3%, before the riders sink their teeth into the Col de Turini. This is a 14.9 kilometres toil with an average gradient of 7.3%.
The riders crest the Turini mid-way through the race before a long downhill takes them to two shorter climbs inside the last 40 kilometres. First the Col d’Èze – 7.8 kilometres at 7% – and then the Col des Quatre Chemins. Actually, this is the first part of the Col d’Èze – 3.3 kilometres in length and with an average gradient of 7.6%.
Atop the Quatre Chemins there are 9 downhill kilometres to the finish line remaining.
The parcours is tailor-made for long-range attackers, although it wouldn’t come as a complete surprise if GC riders show themselves this early. In last year’s Vuelta the GC battle also ignited as early as stage 2. Furthermore, this corona-marked season is special in its own right. After the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Tour is the second major race on the calendar and the riders are straining at the leash to get started.
With the finishing descent into Nice the route is perfect for good descenders. The name of the man who captivated the French nation in last year’s race springs to mind. Julian Alaphilippe is one of the best descenders in the peloton. Last year, he took the yellow jersey on day three, is he going to repeat the trick even faster this time?
Favourites 2nd stage 2020 Tour de France
*** Julian Alaphilippe, Matej Mohoric, Warren Barguil
** Jesús Herrada, Alexey Lutsenko, Sepp Kuss, Thomas De Gendt
* Egan Bernal, Primoz Roglic, Bauke Mollema, Michal Kwiatkowski
Another interesting read: route 2nd stage 2020 Tour de France.