Monday's stage 3 of the Giro d'Italia is more of the same if you watched today's installment through fingers clamped over your eyes. Only it gets worse because there's another 209Km from Amsterdam but this time south-west to Middelburg which is essentially an island reached by extended and extremely exposed sea bridges and dykes. This can only mean massive cross winds. The big sprinters' teams will be endeavouring to do what they always do only under the hardest of circumstances. Hold on to your hats, it's literally going to be a bumpy ride.
On Tuesday, there is in theory a rest day while the teams travel 1,000 kilometres back to Italy, hopefully by aeroplane. The bad news is that, as of writing, all of Italy's airports are shut due to the pesky Icelandic volcano's ash cloud so the teams may or may not be travelling in their team buses. Even if you have Team Sky's bus, that's not as relaxing as being able to spend Tuesday having a ride and massage.
Back racing on home ground on Wednesday, the Giro d'Italia starts properly on stage 4 with a 32.5 Km Team Time Trial from Savigliano to Cuneo. If you've never experienced riding a pace line, Michael Barry, Sky's media savviness guru yesterday put on YouTube this master class in team time trial discipline, filmed in the countryside outside Amsterdam over the last few days of training.
Although on paper, HTC-Columbia are the team to beat having won this equivalent stage last year and Garmin-Transitions have at least two time-trial monsters on board in Tyler Farrar and David Miller, Team Sky are only an unknown quantity insofar as they are a new team.
It's an open secret that Sky have been working on this stage and have as their silky Jaguar V12 inspiration track team pursuit multiple gold medal winner Bradley Wiggins. And as well as Mr Barry, the clearly well-drilled engine room of Steve Cummings, Chris Froome, Greg Henderson, Chris Sutton, Mathew Hayman, Dario Cioni and Morris Possoni is hardly a handicap, either.
Bradley Wiggins tonight lies 32 seconds behind on GC; if they can have a better day in the wind tomorrow, Team Sky could be going into Wednesday with a realistic chance of taking that back from Garmin-Transitions. It's shaping up to be a fascinating Giro.