Tour de France 2016 Stage Two Preview: Saint-Lo to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, 183km

After taking the Maillot Jaune after tens years of trying it will be tough for Mark Cavendish to retain it - but stranger things have happened as the Tour de France' opening weekend gathers pace.

Tour de France 2016 Stage Two Preview: Saint-Lo to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, 183km
Stage Two Route / BBC Sport

After Mark Cavendish’ heroics yesterday the ‘Manx Man’ will ride in the Maillot Jaune for the first time in his career today after he pipped Marcel Kittel to the line at Utah Beach on Saturday.

Cavendish has been trying get the Maillot Jaune for ten years; but now being 31-years-old and many people saying he is not the force he has once been, it must be a sweet moment for Dimension Data rider.

His win yesterday also put Cav one behind Bernard Hinault’s record of 28 Tour de France stage wins; and if he can hold his nerve on some of the upcoming sprint stages we might see the Briton equal that tally at this Tour.

Stage One recap

The first stage of this year’s Tour certainly didn’t disappoint; there were crashes galore, and most notable one 500m before the finishing line.

For Alberto Contador it wasn’t the best day; his crash during the stage looked particularly nasty; but his team stressed he just had cuts to his shoulder and that the two-time winner of the Tour should be fine to continue.

It wasn't the best start for Contador as he crashed on the opening stage / Cycling News
It wasn't the best start for Contador as he crashed on the opening stage / Cycling News

But other riders couldn’t avoid crashes, Sam Bennett (Bora-Argon) and Jans Bakelants (AG2R La Mondaile) were also caught up in crashes which puts their Tour in doubt.

And for Team Sky; Geraint Thomas had a little tumble, but nothing too serious; but all in all the main GC contenders, with exception of Contador got through the nervy opening stage unscathed.

Stage Two: the Route

Today stage is remarkably different to yesterday’s the finish in uphill and it is unlikely Cavendish will retain the Maillot Jaune; for the cycling purest’ this stage is well suited to a puncheur, someone who can climb but also has a burst of acceleration.

So don’t be surprised to see the World Champion Peter Sagan contesting the victory as well as Joaqium Rodriguez or even Alejandro Valverde.

As mentioned the route is a lot tougher from the first; it a very undulating day for the riders; and for the riders looking at the mountains points there are four occasions where they can pick up points: Cote de Torigny les Villes, Tessy-Bocage, Percy-en-Normandie, and Cote de Montpinchon.

Also there is an opportunity for the sprinters to stake their claim for the Green Jersey again; a sprint will take place at Port-Bail, roughly halfway through the stage.

But it will be the final climb, the Cote de la Glacerie that will be the toughest; it’s fairly short at 1.8km, but it reaches a gradient of 6.7%, which after a long day of riding will certainly eek out the weakest, so it will be interesting to see what remains of the peloton when we come into final stages of the race.