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Giro d’Italia 2016 stage 2 preview



Tom Dumoulin did what he failed to do a few months ago in Utrecht and now gets to enjoy a huge celebration on home soil in what will be a big Dutch party in the first road stage. While the feared wind doesn’t seem to play a role, he has to keep an eye on an in-form Marcel Kittel whose great time trial put him in a position to go for pink already on the second day of the race.


The course

The Giro d’Italia will stay in the Netherlands for three days and as the small country is almost completely flat, there will be lots of chances for the sprinters in the opening part of the race, making the first week more suited to the fast guys than it has usually been. After the opening time trial, both Dutch road stages are flat and while the GC riders try to avoid any dangers caused by the wind, the sprinters hope for two bunch kicks before they head to Italy for the hillier terrain.


The first road stage brings the riders over 190.0km from Arnhem to the nearby city of Nijmegen which is just a few kilometres south of the starting city. The route runs basically flat along the plains surrounding the start and finish cities, coming across minor climbs and mild descents, villages, roundabouts and speed bumps. The first part will see the riders head to the west until they reach the city of Tiel after 82.9km of. From here they will turn around and head towards Nijmegen. The road narrows at km 90, where the route covers a short stretch of the cycle path. While approaching the finish, the riders will do a small lap in the area south of Nijmegen where the route takes in the two intermediate sprints at the 135km and 146.8km marks respectively and the first categorised climb of the Giro, 1.1km long with an average gradient of 6.5% and with gradients topping 11%, after 155.3km of racing. The stage finale leads to an 8.6km city circuit within Nijmegen, to be covered twice.


The final 8.6km circuit runs along wide, straight urban avenues, dotted with roundabouts. The route passes over the Waal River twice on bridges that have slight up- and downhill gradients. There aren’t many technical challenges on the mostly flat circuit. The home straight is 350m long, on 8m wide asphalt road. The final kilometres are slightly curved, but with no real bends, meaning that it’s a very fast finale.


Nijmegen last hosted a major bike race in 2001 and 2002 when the Dutch Championships were held in the city. After Jans Koerts had won in 2001, it was Stefan Van Dijk who took the tricolour jersey one year later.


The weather

When the Dutch Grande Partenza was announced, many riders feared that the wind would destroy all their GC hopes before they had even reached Italy. However, summer has arrived early and while Sunday could offer some drama due to increasing wind speeds, Saturday should be calmer.


It will be bright sunshine all day and the temperature will reach an unusual maximum of 27 degrees. There will be a moderate wind from a southeasterly direction which means that the riders will first have a tailwind, then a crosswind and then a headwind. In the final part, leading to the circuit, there will mainly be a tailwind. On the circuit, it will be a cross-headwind in the second half until the riders turn into a cross-tailwind for the short finishing straight.