Stage 2 preview

Classics course

The riders know these roads well from the Ardennes Classics, particularly Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

The course starts flat but gets increasingly rolling towards the finish. A key moment will be the 6km climb of the Col du Rosier, a Liège staple but tackled today from the opposite direction to usual. The puncheurs who make their names in the one-day Classics will be queuing up to attack here, while the sprinters and their teams will be determined to limit the deficit over the climb and bring back any breakaways in the final 12km from the climb to the finish.

Procycling’s favourite to win:

Philippe Gilbert’s Amstel Gold win apart, the Belgian Omega Pharma-Lotto team have had a torrid time so far this season, collecting outraged reviews from their home press. But a couple of high-profile wins at the Tour and much of that will be forgotten. They’ll surely be in contention today, determined to set up team leader Gilbert, who is Ardennes born and bred – though everyone will know he wants to win this stage and he’ll be closely marked. Gilbert may still have the punch and speed to win, and if he does raise his arms in Spa it will be some victory.

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