Date: Monday, July 25
Distance: 136.4 km
The sprinters who missed out on a stage win in Paris have another shot on stage 2 from Meaux to Provins. There is only one categorized climb 15.9 km into the stage, and it’s nothing for the quick women to worry about at only 1.5 km long.
The final kilometer in Provins is slightly uphill, but that probably doesn’t change the prospective winners. What will make it a bit more interesting is the technical run into the line.
The peloton will get a test run at the finish with 19.7 km to go since the race passes through Provins before looping back for the finale.
The race re-enters the city of Provins with a little under 5 km to go and from there the peloton will navigate their way through the city to the finish. There are three dramatic corners in the final 3 km, with the first of three roundabouts 2 km from the line. The other two direct the peloton in completely different directions so it will be harder for teams with sprinters to stay together.
Anyone who wants the stage victory will need to be in position by 1 km to go because soon after the road starts to ramp up, and in the final 200 meters the peloton will take on a sharp 30-degree righthand turn. At that point, however, the race may already have been decided.
Who will win stage 2?
Despite the gradual climb to the line, this will likely be another stage for the sprinters. Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) will want to extend her lead in the yellow jersey another day by taking back-to-back wins. Unfortunately for Wiebes, the finish is far better for Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), who finished second on the Champs-Élysées and will be eyeing that yellow jersey before there is more climbing introduced.
The two will be up against SD Worx’s Lotte Kopecky who may not be sprinting as well as she has in the past but is still a force to be reckoned with. Kopecky has won on similar finishes to that in Provins, so the climb to the line will not worry her one bit.
Interestingly the finish is reminiscent of the 2021 World Championship finish, won by Elisa Balsamo, and the Trek-Segafredo rider was disappointed with her seventh place finish on stage 1.