After surviving the opening stage of the Tour de France without incident, Chris Froome (Sky) believes that Sunday’s stage 2 with its uphill finish and wet conditions could prove to be a far more hectic and dangerous affair.
The finale in Cherbourg features the Côte de La Glacerie followed by a sharp uphill finish, and while it ought not to blow the race apart, it could see a number of riders come unstuck if they are poorly placed on the approach.
“Today the objective is to just stay out of trouble. It’s a tricky little finish and with the guys that we have, like Wout [Poels], and it being a bit of an Ardennes-type finish, maybe one of our guys can have a go,” Froome told Cyclingnews at the start in Saint-Lô.
“Yesterday wasn’t as bad as previous opening days in Grand Tours. It was relatively calm compared to other years but I have a feeling that today will make up for it.”
Putting Contador on the back foot
While the defending champion Froome made it through the first stage unscathed, the same could not be said of one of his principle Tour rivals, as Alberto Contador crashed with over 70 kilometres to go. The Spaniard’s Tinkoff team told Cyclingnews that they expect attacks from their rivals on Sunday but Froome played down such a notion.
“We’re here to do our own race and it’s not about that. I’m sure he’ll be a bit sore after yesterday but a stage like today won’t – shouldn’t – see you win or lose the Tour.”
Froome added that although Tinkoff would look after Contador and nurse him through the stage, they might also look to set up Peter Sagan for the win. The world champion is a favourite to win the stage and pull on the yellow jersey.
“They have two objectives there with wanting to win the stage with Sagan and I’m sure that he’s capable of doing that. It’s a Sagan-type finish but at the same time they’ll still allocate some guys to looking out for Alberto, I assume.”
Mark Cavendish won Saturday’s opening stage to Utah Beach and leads the Tour de France.