2022 Vuelta a Andalucia Stage 3 Preview

Lucena > Villa de Otura 152.5km

The easiest stage of the race. The opening 65km has a series of climbs, but they don’t look hard enough for any team to go full gas. I think the race will settle down early, with UAE looking to chase the break. The problem for UAE is they only have five riders, one of them is the race leader, Alessandro Covi. I don’t think they’ll want to commit more than one rider to the chase, so if it’s going to come back, they’ll need some help. The other problem is the large amount of riders close on GC, this could be a tricky stage to negotiate.

Looking at the other riders in the race, Wanty look like the best option to offer help. The team have had an impressive start to the season, and they have one of the big favourites to win the stage. The break has a better chance than normal in a stage like this, but it’s still more than likely to end in a sprint.


Beautiful sunshine and a lot of tailwind.


The key point is with 2.5km to go, when the bunch must negotiate a double right-hand turn at a roundabout. This leads into a narrow piece of road, which will string the bunch out. The riders then go straight on at a roundabout with 2km to go and the road widens.

The final 2km is uphill, we’re not talking steep gradients, but it’s enough to make moving up the bunch hard to do. With 1.7 to go, the road gets a little narrower and stays like that until the flamme rouge. We then have a tight right-hand turn with just 250 to go, which leads into an uphill finishing straight. This is a technical finish, one where a late attacker could take the win.


Who wants to work? UAE, Wanty, QuickStep and BikeExchange might take up the chase, but some might try and sneak a rider in the break. The start of the stage is good news for those wanting to form a strong break, it really does depend on the attitude of the big teams. 153km is a short stage, this could be good and bad for the break! Will the break take another win? I’m not so sure.

The GC position is interesting, there are 73 riders within 4 minutes of the race lead. You can bet your money on a rider high on GC getting in the break, it is certain to happen. All eyes will then be on UAE to chase, which is hard considering their lack of numbers.


Matteo Trentin – a good finish for him, he looked strong in the opening stage. Looking at the speed of the other contenders, Trentin will back himself to take the win. The problem is that he doesn’t win sprint finishes very often, the last time was back in 2019. Positioning will be crucial, maybe Covi can repay some of the work Trentin has done for him.

Gonzalo Serrano – he would prefer a tougher finish, but he should still be one of the main challengers for the win. Movistar always seem to be on the front in Spanish races, if Serrano gets a good spot for the final corner, he has a chance to take the win.

Dion Smith – doubt he’ll have the speed to win.

Florian Sénéchal – given the other fast men in the race, I don’t see why Sénéchal can’t win this stage. QuickStep have a strong lead out, riders like Devenyns, Steimle, Serry and Stybar which means they are likely to boss the closing stages. They haven’t won a stage yet in this race, they rarely totally miss out.

Biniam Girmay – probably the fastest sprinter in the race, he’s certainly the only one who’s won a sprint this season. Wanty have already done a lot of working on the front in the first two stages, I think they’ll be one of the teams looking to control this stage. They don’t have many riders used to lead out duties, we’ll have to see if they can get their star man into position for the final corner.

Stefano Oldani – got a good turn of speed, but probably not fast enough to win against some of the riders already mentioned.

Niccolò Bonifazio – some might argue with me that Girmay is the fastest rider here, Bonifazio would certainly give him a run for his money. The problem the Italian will face is a lack of support, he only has three teammates in this race. Now, Bonifazio is known as a rider who doesn’t mind taking risks in the closing kilometres, he’ll get to the front early and try to use every trick in the book to stay there. If he starts the sprint from a good spot he’ll be challenging for the win.

Francisco Galván – 3rd in GP Marseillaise, the young Spaniard has a good turn of speed. Getting a result in this race would be huge for the team, he certainly has the kick required to make the podium.

Jannik Steimle – breakaway hopeful number 1.

Oli Naesen – breakaway hopeful number 2.

Luke Durbridge – breakaway hopeful number 3.

Giovanni Aleotti – breakaway hopeful number 4.

Prediction Time

The break has a chance, but I think someone will bring it back together. They’ve got the best sprint train, so I’ll take a win for Florian Sénéchal.