Stage 2 starts in Saint-Lo and travels west towards the coast. While primarily a flat day, riders will tackle three category 4 climbs before reaching the eastern coast. Turning north the course actually follows a brief section of Stage 1's course through Lessay. However, where Stage 1's course turned inland, Stage 2 will continue up the coast then wrap inland towards the northern coast at Equeurdreville-Hainneville. The big test of the day will be the category 3 climb Cote de La Glacerie to the finish at Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. This climb ascends 169 meters over 3 km with a very steep section around 181-181.5 km.
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The temperature should be similar today but the humidity looks higher, which could indicate some wet weather. Wind will be out of the southwest and riders will be a bit relieved as the wind speed is forecasted to be significantly less than today. Riders will face a headwind for the first 35 km. Then as the peloton turns north past Abbaye de Hambye riders will start to feel the crosswind, though it should be more of a cross/tailwind than in Stage 1. As riders head up the coast the wind speed is forecasted to drop to about half of what they faced today. The course heads inland to the northeast though Siouville-Hague at 143 km which will give riders respite with a tailwind for 25 km. The last 10 km of the race may have a bit of crosswind, but the profile of the course will mitigate any exposure for the riders.
After a day battling the wind, riders will have slightly better conditions for Stage 2 on a course with a good mix of flat and low ranked climbs. Look for a small group fighting for the Polkadot jersey to break early and try to hold off the group through the first three category 4 climbs. The rolling course profile should help mitigate the headwind impact through the first two climbs of Cote de Torigny les-Villes and Cote de Montabot. A group that manages to pull away through the first two climbs should be able to hang on through the Cote de Montpinchon. While it's very unlikely any break will stick, the non categorized short climb coming out of Coutances at 64 km represents the best place for a group to try to put time into the peloton prior to hitting stronger crosswind section that stretches from 95 to 160 km. The real fireworks will come down to the closing 10 km. Most of the focus has been put on the final category 3 climb to the finish on Cote de La Glacerie, but the short climb up Cote de Octeville could play into team strategy for teams that have strong GC and Classics style riders. The initial climb up Cote de Octeville will take about 4 min at 5.9 Watts/kg. Teams with multiple strong riders might try to do some damage by pushing higher Watts/kg on this climb to thin the group heading into the finish. On the finishing climb expect contenders to be over 6 watts/kg for the 7 min climb. Key attacks should come on the steepest section at 181 km. Using the time analysis tool below try adjusting power back to 0% then change weight to represent a smaller climber profile (60 - 63 kg). Zoom into the last 10 km below by clicking and dragging across the chart. This will show you the time gain that a smaller rider can have on the final climbs. Due to length of the climb the win could go to a GC or classics style rider. If a more powerful classics rider can hold on in the steepest section they should be able to take the win and most likely the yellow jersey.
Analysis was performed by modeling the peloton as a single rider using front of the pack drag characteristics and pulling power targets. Take a look at the entire race plan that was used for this analysis, which includes additional features, metrics and downloadable files.
Stage 2 Race Plan: https://www.bestbikesplit.com/client/43293