Stage 2: Düsseldorf to Liège (203.5 kms)
Widely expected to be a sprinters stage with just two category 4 climbs. The first very early on and the second 20 kilometres from the finish. Much of the longish stage is pretty flat getting a little bumpy as Liège approaches but not enough to upset the top sprinters.
A new time and important measure at the finish has just been introduced - splits on the finish will be taken as three minutes instead of just one. This means that the general classification riders can now hang back a little bit leaving more space to the sprinters and their lead-out trains, so hopefully fewer crashes in the last kilometre of a stage.
Favourites for the first stage are sprinters: André Greipel, Peter Sagan, Arnaud Démare, Mark Cavendish, John Degenkolb, Michael Matthews, Nacer Bouhanni and Alexander Kristoff.
I'm going to opt for either Griepel or Kittel. It will be interesting to see how Cavendish goes after his illness. Difficult to count out Cav, even if not fully fit, as he does have a very good sprint team including Bernard Eisel, Mark Renshaw and Edward Boassen Hagen.