Stage 2: York - Sheffield
Highest point: 521m
The peloton will get their real introduction to Yorkshire roads today. The northern English county is defined by its punchy climbs and this stage is littered with nine of them. Its route is akin to some of the spring classics and will break up the peloton.
While it is possible we may see a sprint finish in Sheffield, the group will be severely diminished at the end of these 201 kilometres. After winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Simon Gerrans will be one of the favourites to take victory and perhaps even enjoy a second stint in the yellow jersey. Sprinters such as Peter Sagan and Arnaud Démare will also be ones to watch on this stage. They will have to be wary of the very technical finish that twists its way through Sheffield though.
If you don’t want to chance your hand in the sprint, the final two climbs of Oughtibridge and Jenkin Road are prime places to make your bid for the line. From the top of the final climb it is only five kilometres to the finish and a decent time triallist could hold a small gap to the line.
This stage could light up what can often be a dull first week of the race. Even at this early point, GC riders will have to look out as they could lose some time if they’re not attentive enough.
Alex Sans Vega says... Today will be like a Belgian Classic. The GC contenders have to be careful to keep a good position - you can't win the Tour here but you can lose it because of time gaps or crashes. Given the small roads, it's going to be very dangerous.
Ian Stannard won his national championship in Ampleforth - ahead of Alex Dowsett - just up the road from the start in York, in 2012. The Team Sky engine won’t be present at the race, after suffering a spinal injury during the classics, but his team-mates also know this area as well. The British outfit could use their local knowledge to their advantage to try and make some early time on their rivals.
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