Stage 2: Monaco - Brignoles
Thursday, July 2, 2009 11.00pm
One for the sprinters
For the second stage from Monaco to Brignoles, the pack will again ride a lengthy stretch of the Formula 1 Grand Prix route and take in its legendary sites: la Rascasse, Sainte-Dévote and the Casino, where the official starting ceremony will take place. Then the riders will then leave the Principality eastwards, along the Mediterranean.
The 182km-route is not mountainous, but the rugged terrain could make this a nervous stage. The stage finish into Brignoles is on the same route as the 2007 Paris-Nice stage to Cannes, only backwards. A bunch sprint finish is likely, but some bumps on the road to the finish could provide a surprise...
Jonathan Vaughters' views
Typically this will be a sprinters stage, but the area around Draguinan and coming out of Monaco will be lumpy and hard. It will not be an easy roll, that’s for sure.
The roads can be slow and sticky, and the weather hot, which will add to the difficulty of the up and down terrain. I’d look for a breakaway with guys looking to get the Polka dot jersey, and who knows, maybe the peloton will hesitate too much and they’ll get the stage too?
Most likely not, though, and the winner will be Mark Cavendish.