GIRO 2022. Stage 2 (Budapest – Budapest).  Is a short time trial right up to Tom Dumoulin's hand?

It can be blood-curdlingly exciting on Saturday afternoon in the first of the two time trials that the Giro has. Will it be a Dutch fratricide in which Tom Dumoulin drives his compatriot Mathieu van der Poel out of the pink? It is possible, but then the ‘Silver Heron from Kanne’ has to fly low over the 9.2 km course through the city center of the Hungarian capital. Dumoulin must be at least 14 seconds faster than MVDP to take the maglia rosa.

Hugo Coorevits

Start: first rider at 2 pm in Budapest

Arrival: last rider around 5.10 pm in Budapest

Distance: 9.2 km

The track

The riders will ride from Pest to Buda, or the two boroughs of the Hungarian capital that are separated by the Danube, or Danube as they say in Italian. It goes 9.2 km straight through the city center. In total there are 29 bends, mostly gentle, but around the Margrietbrug it is something different. In the second part the ‘corners’ are more square. The last 1300 meters are uphill. To Buda Castle. The average gradient is 4.9 percent with one strip even rising 14 percent. The split is taken after 7.9 percent, at the end of the flat part. Just like on the first day, the final slope counts for the mountains classification. The climb to Buda Castle is one of the fourth category.

The favourites

In the first place, Tom Dumoulin is the specialist. The 2017 Giro winner also became world champion in this discipline that same year. Four years ago he won the prologue of the Giro in Jerusalem. 17 of the 22 victories he has so far, he achieved in prologues and time trials. People like Jos van Emden and Edouardo Affini can set the target time for their leader Tom Dumoulin. If the Dutchman living in Belgian Limburg succeeds in the double, then he will collect his seventeenth pink jersey from his career afterwards. He is in his fifth Tour of Italy, but was leader for at least one day in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

But… he has to go two seconds per kilometer faster than Mathieu van der Poel. Adrie’s son proved last summer in the Tour time trial to Laval Espace Mayenne that he can get wings in the leader’s jersey. He then lost only 31 seconds to Tadej Pogacar over 27.2 km and set the fifth best time. Van der Poel also has the ‘psychological advantage’ that he can start last, so that in principle he already knows at the start how fast he has to go to stay in the pink. Dumoulin is 25th after the opening stage and will therefore already be inside by the time the leader of Alpecin-Fenix ​​starts his assignment.

Given the specific ending of the time trial, such a Simon Yates or, for example, Pello Bilbao can also play a part in the story. The Bask finished third in Visegrád due to the crash of Ewan.

Such a short time trial is for all potential candidates for the overall victory above all the litmus test of their condition with which they started this Giro. It is also interesting to see what such a João Almeida does. He is one of the dark horses of this Giro for the final podium of Verona. On the other hand, it is not a problem if you as a candidate final winner have to give up some time because the entire Giro ultimately only counts 26.3 km of individual speeding.

These are the key moments

The pivotal point of this time trial is actually the moment when you have to switch from the large mill on the flat for the final slope of 1300 meters to Buda Castle. The first three hundred meters it is suddenly a 10 and 7 percent climb. After that the slope flattens out a bit, but such a point can irritate the legs terribly.

This is what you need to know

It seems to be another dry day in Budapest. That’s a good thing, because rain would have created a dangerous time trial in a city center, where the cars are stationary more than they are driving. Just like on the opening day, the wind plays no role in the second part of the Hungarian triptych.

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