May 06, 2011
Giro Stage 2
Forgot about those speedy HTC guys! Bob Stapleton's crew threw down a speedy gauntlet that the others couldn't match and put Pinotti in the pink jersey first...a harbinger of the final in Milan? I can say that it was a mistake to not count the HTC guys...but hey, I hit it pretty good on the rest of the podium! Radioshack and Liquigas flipped my prediction, while Garmin-Cervelo in fifth, and Vaconsoleil in 10th did me proud! Astana...whoops. Ok, off to Sunday's stage...
Ding, ding, ding! Calling fast finishers, calling fast finishers...
This stage will undoubtedly be nervous and twitchy as riders slowly try to settle into the rhythm of the race. Fortunately, the route is very straight forward without much in the way of twists and turns. Mark Cavendish has the reputation and the stage wins that brough it - so he's the number one, for now. Clearly Tyler Farrar is also near the top of the heap and has shown steady progression year over year. I think the sprinters are starting to figure out the way to beat Cavendish - hit it out early and make him counter-punch in the finale.
There have been a few suprises in the sprint finishes at other races this year and I'm looking forward to seeing who really steps up their game this month. Rafael Valls of Geox-TMC is due for a big win, and don't forget Radioshack's Manuel Cardoso, Mateo Tossato of Saxo Bank and Brice Feillu of Leopard-Trek in your considerations. The equalizer may well be the 244Km length....but with everyone still fresh and the flat route it should be a full on finish! Given that, and HTC's prowess in the TTT I think they put Cavendish into the perfect spot to win, but I think Farrar will simply be faster if he can jump Cav.
3. Valls - Geox TMC
4. Borit Bozic - Vacansoleil