One for the sprinters today?? We shall see; it's a bit undulating toward the end, with a cat-1 climb and three cat-2s in the last third of the race. But I think what's especially interesting is the rare appearance of a lollipop course: where the race heads out, then does a loop, then heads back on the original route to the starting point. This may sound minor, but can be very welcomed by the racers. I can say from personal experience, if you ride to the course with all your stuff in a backpack, it's a real help to be able to stow your pack someplace and then be able to retrieve it right after the race. Now, these are pro teams, so presumably they will figure out a place to safely stow their packs. Really, this stage should go very well.
Anyway, back to the sprinters. Mark Cavendish is on the startlist, and all eyes will be directed his way. But Robbie McEwen will be looking for an opening. Tyler Farrar will relish another chance to slip on by at the line. Oscar Freire and Koldo Fernandez too. But the climbs... they aren't fearsome but presumably are disruptive, particularly if the roads are as small and winding as today's course. Perfect for a guy who likes to hammer off on his own for a while. A guy like... Jens Voigt. Just sayin.