After yesterday’s prologue decided the order of things ahead of the first road stage at 2016’s Giro d’Italia, attention now switches to the sprinters and their opening skirmish in the battle for the points jersey. Running a total of 190km from Arnhem to Nijmegen, the terrain is typically flat for this gallop around Dutch roads, but does feature the first categorised climb of this year’s race with the Berg En Dal.
Marcel Kittel has returned to impressive form since his slump last season and is expected to dominate the sprints throughout the next three weeks. This looks to be a typical ‘power sprint’ for the German ace to open his account with and it will be tough to match both his speed and positional abilities here.
Caleb Ewan is one of the few riders who can challenge Kittel in regards to speed, the young Australian already establishing himself as a major threat since rising to the very top of cycling. The team at hand to lead him out in the sprints is by no means a well oiled machine to match the likes of Etixx-Quick Step and could be the biggest detrimental factor to his hopes of winning Stage 1.
Giacomo Nizzolo does not suit this finale on paper due to the flat and non-technical nature, but his recent form warrants a mention here regardless. Nizzolo’s team has the level of firepower to match anyone in the sprints, able to bridge the gap to bigger sprinters if executed perfectly and secure Italy its first home win.
André Greipel would normally be one of the first names in mind for a stage like this, but the German arrives here with limited support and is notoriously awkward at positioning himself in the sprints on his own. He needs a lot of luck to have a chance of finding himself in the right place before opening his sprint up, but remains noteworthy in case he can pull off such fortune amongst a sprint which plays to his strengths.
Other riders likely to feature in the top ten are Elia Viviani, Sacha Modolo and Jakub Marezcko.
1st Marcel Kittel 2nd Caleb Ewan 3rd Giacomo Nizzolo