Tour de France – Stage 3 Preview

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Stage 3 sees the riders say farewell to the beautiful island of Corsica.I don’t know how much they paid for the Grand Depart but it will be well worth it,I see a lot of people going there on holiday soon.

We ride from Ajaccio to Calvi,again through the mountains,covering 145.5km.

Stage profile Ajaccio / Calvi 145.5KM

Stage profile
The intermediate sprint comes very early in the stage,after only 28.5km.Before that the cat 4 climb is 3.4km at 4.6%.If Sagan wants the sprint they could go really fast up the climb to get rid of Cavendish and Kittel,but they probably won’t do that.With 4 climbs we may see some KOTM challengers having a go at the break.The Col de San Martino is 7.5km at 5.4%.This is quite a long climb for the sprinters but it comes nearly 100km from the end,so a selection shouldn’t be made.The Cote de Porto is 2km at 6.4%,again most should get over this.The problem for the sprinters is that the road rises for around the next 30km and the uncategorised Col de la Palmarella doesn’t look very easy.I would imagine that by this point the sprinters will be exiting the back door of the peloton.The final climb is the Col de Marsolino,this is 3.3km long and is 8.1%.If any sprinters have reached this point,well done,but now it’s over.As I said yesterday,recent grand tours show us that these climbs are tackled at a ferocious pace.It will be the same again here.There is a 13km descent to finish,so expect a few riders to try and go for it over the top and on the way down the hill.
I would always say that Peter Sagan is the favourite for a stage like this,as he climbs very well,descends very well and sprints very well but his team let him down badly today and with Ted King still getting over his injuries,Cannondale need to step it up tomorrow.There are loads of riders here who can climb and descend very well.We have Evans,Voeckler,Contador,Valverde,Cunego,Chavanel,Kwiatkowski,Hesjedal and Gerrans.
The GC riders must know that Froome is not an expert at going down hills and they have to try and put him under pressure.That being said a Peter Sagan sprint victory has to be a safe bet.
My prediction for tomorrow is a Sagan victory,he did want to take the yellow jersey,so expect him to attack on the descent and win by more than 1 second.
After a night of reflecting,I have a different thought.The final cat 2 is only 12km from the end of the stage.Those interested in KOTM will go for the points at the top of the climb.There is a very steep descent into the finish,so these riders will try and continue on and win the stage.So that brings Tommy Voeckler,Brice Feillu and maybe a rider from Euskatel into the frame.It should still be a Sagan stage but worth an outside bet too.

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