Spring series starts with a mixed stage where sprinters and puncheurs will have the chance to harvest their first points. We will be riding in New York on the Knickerbocker course. It is a fast-rolling course with one quite tricky sub 3min climb where sprinters might already have troubles, but only if puncheurs decide to split the race on two.
In terms of point tactics, it is going to be quite an interesting one. The stage is important for sprinters since there are 24 pts available (Cat A&B) for green jersey competition, which is a lot. But it won’t be easy! There is one intermediate sprint banner after 7.5km and just before the start of the KOM climb. This makes things much more complicated for sprinters. If they go to deep for the sprint, there is a big chance they will not recover enough for the survival on the climb. It is less than a minute from sprint banner to the start of the climb. And if they do not survive the climb in the first lap all the sprint points will go to others, most probably to puncheurs who might make the front group. However, with the solid help of a teammate, a strong sprinter might come back after the descent and have a chance to try for the second sprint. But for the last one on the finish line, it is indeed questionable. Very little might survive the second climb since puncheurs usually push the pace to the sky on ultimate climb all with the basic aim to get rid as much of a competition as possible.
For climbers, the stage has 10 pts to offer with two short climbs. And it won’t be easy for them to harvest these points. The climb simply isn’t long or hard enough to get rid of all the fast legs in the blob. It is steep in places, but it levels out too, and a smart sprinter or puncher will be able to draft on those flatter parts and recover just enough to steel points with explosive acceleration on KOM banner.
For GC riders, although the course is not flat, it is going to be a relatively easy one. All they will have to do is to draft as much possible and conserve energy until the final climb or sprint. They need to take care not to lose concentration and got caught out at the back in a possible split. The route is too rolling, so the short punchy leg snappers, sprints and climbs will split the blob inevitably. This is why they need to be alert and follow any move if more than two riders start to ride away. Since this is the first stage, there might be some riders who would love to try and attack from the distance. The main prize, the yellow jersey, is perhaps the easiest to grab in the first stage and for many, this might be the biggest or even the only chance to wear it in the next stage.
Categories & & & will do 2 laps, 44.6 km all together and 692 m of climbing!
Sunday at 10.30 CET (10.30 AM CET) / 9.30 AM BST / 5.30 AM EDT / 1.30 AM PDT / 7.30 PM AEST / 9.30 PM NZDT
Here is the VeloViewer 3D map of the course.
Have you ridden the course before? The easiest way is to check the segment in your Strava account.