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Tour de France - Cycling: Stage two preview

After the opening time-trial, the peloton hits the open road on a day that seems set up well for home rider Mads Pedersen.

The 202.5km route between Roskilde and Nyborg is a scenic one and is likely to be animated once the riders hit the 18km-long Great Belt crossing, which links the islands of Zealand and Funan.

Therefore, wind could be a decisive factor and while a sprint finish is likely, how the speedsters and their teams handle being 65m off the ground could decide the race.

Pedersen is a much more rounded rider than the one who won the world championships in a rainy Harrogate in 2019. With the Tour staying in Denmark on Saturday and Sunday, the Trek-Segafredo man will be desperate to be in the thick of the action as he aims to break his Tour duck.

What:

Tour de France, Stage Two

Where:

Roskilde to Nyborg, Denmark

When:

11:15 UK Time, Saturday 2nd July, 2022

How to watch:

Live on ITV4, Eurosport, Discovery+ & GCN+

Odds:

Fabio Jakobsen 7/4, Dylan Groenewegen 5/1, Jasper Philipsen 13/2, Wout van Aert 15/2, Mads Pedersen 15/2

The 2022 Tour de France at bet365

Stage two route details

While the opening day time-trial was a fast, technical, albeit rainy, loop around Copenhagen, Saturday's stage could be far more sedate. However, the inevitable nerves in the peloton mean there is likely to be plenty of action and while it is forecast to be dryer, the wind may also split the group.

Starting in Roskilde, the route traces a line across Zealand's northern coast, with three category four climbs coming into play around the middle of the stage, but nothing that will tax the riders.

A sprint with 80km to go could indicate who fancies it on the day, although the peloton may be happy to sit back and let the breakaway compete for those points.

The real action will start after the intermediate sprint as the riders turn south and eventually onto the Great Belt. The top teams will need to remain vigilant as any lost seconds here are unlikely to be made up in time before the finish in Nyborg, with even the possibility that the yellow jersey could change hands.

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Three to watch

Fabio Jakobsen @ 7/4

A man who has already won a sprint stage in crosswinds this year is Fabio Jakobsen, doing so in Stage Two at Paris-Nice.

Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team have backed the Dutchman to be their sprint king ahead of last year's green jersey Mark Cavendish and this could be his first chance.

The 25-year-old is making his Tour debut and is thankfully back to full fitness following a serious crash at the 2020 Tour of Poland that required him to be placed in a medically-induced coma.

Jakobsen won the points classification at last year's Vuelta a Espana, taking three stages along the way and also won this year's Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.

With two victories against a strong field at June's Tour of Belgium, he is clearly firing and his team will expect to be able to handle the wind.

Denmark's Michael Morkov will be the man tasked with delivering him to the finish and all being well, Jakobsen will be the one to beat.

Mads Pedersen @ 15/2

There will be plenty of support for Pedersen, who is one of 10 Danish riders to have earned selection for the Tour, and will feel he has plenty of chances to strike over the first few days.

A strong opening time-trial demonstrated how good his legs are and he was clearly lifted by the home crowds cheering him on.

The 26-year-old has recorded top 10s in Milan-San Remo, Gent-Wevelgem and Tour of Flanders in 2022, while he sprinted to victory on Stage Three of Paris-Nice.

Solid results both on the road and against the clock in the Danish national championships show he's in form and as he demonstrated in winning that sprint at Paris-Nice, he can beat the likes of Philipsen and Wout van Aert if the conditions are in his favour.

Mathieu van der Poel @ 22/1

It is strange to see someone as good as Mathieu van der Poel rated as an outsider but that is where the Dutchman finds himself here.

Van der Poel wore the yellow jersey last year and might have designs on doing the same in 2022 after a stunning opening time-trial that saw him close to the top of the leaderboard for most of the day.

If there is a late split and a rider is required to break from the bunch, the Alpecin–Deceuninck man is sure to try his luck, while it may also be a tactical ploy from his team, should sprinter Jasper Philipsen still be in the mix.

Philipsen is 13/2 to claim his maiden Tour de France stage win and will probably be his team's 'Plan A', as Van der Poel looks to hone his form for the first full week where the rolling terrain should suit him.

Even so, after a delayed start to the year, the 27-year-old has been talking himself down in the build-up to La Grande Boucle. However, anyone who knows cycling would likely agree that this is usually a sign of a rider who is flying and he showed on Friday just how strong he is.

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