We are still down in the beautiful South of France and the riders head from Cagnes-sur-Mer to Marseille,travelling 228.5km.This is the 2nd longest stage of the Tour and the longest “flat” stage.
As you can see there isn’t a lot of flat in the stage but lots of humps and bumps!The Cote de Chateauneuf Grasse is 1.4km long at 8.4%.This will be a lovely wake up call for the riders and I expect the break to be formed on the early slopes.The other 3 climbs are all cat 4s,the Col de l’Ange is 1.6km at 4.1%,the Cote de la Roquebrussanne is 3.5km at 4.2% and the Cote des Bastides is 5.7km at 3.1%.The climbing doesn’t end there as they still have the uncategorised Col de la Gineste,which crests just 12.5km from the finishing line.
The climbing isn’t too difficult but the constant up and down nature of the day will take it’s toll on a lot of the sprinters.Expect Marcel Kittel to be long gone before the final climb,with Argos looking to John Degenkolb,who has been posted missing so far this Tour.
The intermediate sprint point is again in an interesting position,at the top of a small uncategorised lump,similar to stage 2,where Greipel won the little sprint.
The big question of the day has to be if a break will survive?The profile is a classic breakaway stage but with the some of the sprinters being denied a chance on stage 1,they will be incredibly hungry for a sprint finish.The only problem will be that some of them won’t make it to the end.Kittel and Bouhanni have no chance and given his climbing form on stages 2 and 3 Cavendish will probably not make it.That leaves Greipel,Goss,Kristoff,Degenkolb and of course Sagan!
When I had my first look at the stages I had this one down as a Sagan stage and I he’ll be there,but he might face some strong competition from Greipel.Big Andre has been climbing better this year than ever before.He climbed very well in the classics and goes well over the longer distances,so he has to be considered for the stage.
Kristoff loves this terrain but he isn’t as fast as the others so a podium spot will be the best he can do.
Orica GreenEdge are on great form and Matt Harley Goss could keep that going with a strong sprint,although I don’t see him making it over the climbs.
John Degenkolb has been in very poor form so far and I don’t expect it to get better tomorrow,I think he won’t make it over the climbs either.
Peter Sagan will be very disappointed at not winning stage 2 and 3 and this should be his chance to correct that and deliver a big power sprint to claim his 1st Tour stage win of 2013.
Of course,this is assuming it comes back to a sprint.I think it will as all the guys mentioned will have teammates to help them bring the race back together.If a break does make it I would imagine that Juan Antonio Felcha will be present.He has been in impressive form in this Tour and the stage profile is perfect for him.
One little word about the uncategorised climb.It is 7.4km at an average of only 3.1% but that doesn’t do it justice.The first 2 km is at 6.3% and the final 1.4km is at 4.7%.
Cavendish couldn’t get over the Cote de Porto in stage 3 and it was 2km at 6.4%,so even if present at the end he won’t make it.
So I’m saying that Cavendish,Kittel and Bouhanni will not make it over the climbs,but Greipel and Kristoff should.
That means we will have Orica,Lotto,Cannondale and Katusha willing to commit riders to help bring back the break and it should end in a bunch sprint.I’ve had a little look at Kristoff and think his best sprints have been uphill and this is a downhill sprint,that means it’s a straight call between Greipel and Sagan.
Here’s the prediction:
Greipel and Sagan are short odds so not worth much of a bet.You can still get Kristoff at 22/1 with Paddy Power,he’s well worth an each way bet.
Other riders that could interest you long-odd hunters are :
Davide Cimolai – very consistent sprinter from Lampre.He’s 80/1 which is much shorter than usual.He was 300/1 when he finished 4th in stage 2.
Tony Gallopin – if recovered from his crash he has a good chance of the podium,he finished 3rd at the Dauphine stage 2,100/1(BetVictor).
Phillipe Gilbert – Hasn’t won yet in the rainbow jersey!Was in a great position in stage 3 but let Gerrans boss him out of the way,66/1(PaddyPower).
Lars Boom – obviously in very good form and he loves a stage like today.Not as fast in a sprint so needs a break,100/1(SportingBet)
Overnight Sagan’s odds have drifted a bit and you can get 9/2 with Ladbrokes and Bwin.At that price he is a tempting prospect.
- Sagan accepts defeat, hoping to recover from stage one crash (velonation.com)