Aesch > Grenchen 177.9km
After wins for Williams and Leknessund, will we get another surprise winner in stage 3? With over 3100m of climbing, and a flat finish, it could well be another day for the breakaway.
Another beautiful day for the bunch.
This climb comes after just 2.6km of the stage, which will help those wanting a hard start to the stage. It’s not long enough for the break to form, but it will string the bunch out and help secure a tough start.
Cote au Bouvier is the first cat 1 climb of the race, it’s a hard one, but as it comes after nearly 80km of the race it’s unlikely to be ridden fast.
Next up is the climb to Bellelay, a cat 2 effort. Again, it’s not in a great place to see any action, but it adds to the level of fatigue in the legs.
The Vauffelin is up next, it’s a cat 3 effort. We’re now in the final 40km of the stage, the pace will be up.
This is the final climb of the day, another cat 3 climb. The crest comes with just over 16km left in the stage.
Another day for the breakaway? We have over 3100m of climbing, with two thirds of this coming in the first 113km of the stage. The rest isn’t flat, but it lacks big climbs to put off the sprinters. Those who want a sprint will hope that the break is weak, allowing the peloton to go easy up the big climbs, before smashing the final 50km.
There aren’t many teams here with a fast man, and we saw today just how hard it is to chase down a strong break. It took around 45 minutes for the break to go today, I would expect something similar in this stage. Lots of riders will see this as a big opportunity to get in a stage winning break, so getting in the move will require great legs and a little bit of luck.
Bahrain again be keen on keeping the yellow jersey, today they just about managed to do so. We still have 55 riders within 2:30 of yellow, there’s every chance one of these guys makes the move, forcing Bahrain to chase. QuickStep, Bora and Ineos have helped with the chase in the first two stages, but they won’t be riding in this stage, the flat finish doesn’t suit them. Instead, Bahrain will look towards EF, BikeExchange and Wanty for some help, but I’m not sure anyone will want to help until the final 50km, and by that point it could be all over.
Alexander Kristoff – took a good win in the Tour of Norway, and of all the stages in this race, this is the one that suits him best. If it comes back together, he’ll be the man to beat.
Michael Matthews – if we get a sprint, he’ll be challenging for the win. BikeExchange don’t have a full team at the race, and most of those who are here will suffer in the hills. I don’t think we’ll see them commit to the chase until later in the stage.
Bryan Coquard – he’ll be hoping this stage ends in a sprint. He started the season in brilliant form, but that’s tailed off in recent months. This is a chance to get back on the horse.
Alberto Bettiol – won the sprint for second today, it’s always nice to see someone celebrate the win when it’s already been taken by another. I don’t see EF chasing the break, maybe the Italian will roll the dice and try to get up the road. When he’s on form, he’s a hard man to beat.
Søren Kragh – pretty sure he’ll have marked this page in the roadbook. He’s got the power and experience required to make the break, then he’s got the ability to finish it off.
Quinn Simmons – climbing well, sprinting well, and looking lean. He’s still in the KOM jersey, and there are plenty of points on offer in this stage, thanks to the cat 1 climb. Once that’s out the way, he can focus on the stage win, it’s a day that suits him well.
Krists Neilands – I’ve been impressed by him in recent races, but he doesn’t win very often.
Thomas De Gendt – breakaway royalty, this stage will be a target for him.
Brent Van Moer – if De Gendt doesn’t make it, then his young apprentice will hope to be there.
It’s all to do with the size of the break. If its small, it means the peloton can take the cat 1 and 2 climbs at tempo, which will let the break increase their lead. After that we’ll see a furious chase in the final 65km, a small break will get caught, but a large break will be too powerful and they’ll take the win. I’ll take a win for Alexander Kristoff.