Stage 2 – Nice Haut Pays to Nice – 186km – Sunday August 30
2nd step will serve as a wake-up call for many riders, as the 2020 Tour de France heads to the heart of the Alpes Maritimes for an early dose of high mountain.
The stage starts right next to the Promenade des Anglais, not far from the finish of stage 1, then descends the coast before heading north into the Var valley for a long walk to the base from the first big summit of the day, the Category 1 Colmiane pass (16.3 km at 6.3% slope). If it hasn’t already happened on the trail down the valley, the race will certainly ignite here as runners race forward in a bid for the available King of the Mountains Points atop the first major summit in the Tower.
The road descends from the top of Colmiane to the base of the second high mountain of the day, category 1 Col de Turini (14.9 km at 7.4% elevation). Much steeper than La Colmiane, the peloton should separate here, with a smaller and more selective group with contenders for the stage and the general classification who are moving away from the rest of the peloton.
A long descent from the summit of Turini brings the race back to Nice for two finish circuits with the two short climbs that should determine the outcome of the stage: the Category 2 Col d’Èze and the Col des Quatre Chemins (which is technically the same climb, but shorter). This is where the stage must be decided, with the GC du Tour contenders doing their best to stay safe and in sight of each other on the technical tracks of the circuits. Fortunately, the weather should be much better than stage 1 – sunny with only a 20 percent chance of rain.
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Runners to watch
This is the first time that we remember seeing high mountains in the Tour. That said, we expect them to do a little more than soften the legs of the favorites and knock the sprinters out of the stage victory claim. Instead, the action will take place on the two finish circuits around the Col d’Èze, which might remind fans of the final Paris-Nice stage, a March stage race that often features the climb on his last step.
A short and punchy climb that the runners culminate at 33km and 9km from the finish line, the Col d’Èze offers the perfect opportunity for attacks. As such, it’s a perfect finish for Classics riders like Julian Alaphilippe of Quick-Step, Philippe Gilbert of Lotto-Soudal and Wout van Aert of Jumbo-Visma (if he’s not responsible for protecting the contenders for the GC of his team). And let’s not forget Movistar’s seemingly timeless Alejandro Valverde. The 40-year-old hasn’t won a Tour stage since 2012, but he would like to add one more before calling it career (whenever he chooses).
As for the GC battle, keep an eye out for Miguel Ángel López from Astana and Thibaut Pinot from Groupama-FDJ, both of whom fell heavily on the first stage. , as the constant rate of change due to acceleration and attacks wreaks havoc on bruised muscles and rashes. So while López, Pinot and others seemingly completed Stage 1 without major injury, the lingering effects of their falls could cause them to struggle.
When to watch
Don’t worry about the riders taking on the two Category 1 summits of the day; there is still a lot of climbing to watch in this year’s Tour. Instead, tune in around 10:45 a.m. EDT to watch the two arrival circuits above Col d’Eze, the climb that will determine the outcome of the step.
How to watch
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