2022 Tour de France Stage 3 Preview

Vejle > Sønderborg 181.8km

Another day where the threat of crosswinds looms large. It should be a bunch sprint, but a few teams might have other ideas.

Weather

It’s a nice day with temperatures around 23 degrees. The wind is what everyone will be checking, and the news is mixed. The vast majority of the day the bunch ride south, and for the first half of the day the wind is coming from the south-west, that means a cross/headwind, so unlikely we’ll see splits. 

Things change with around 80km to go, as the wind moves round a bit and comes from the west, which means a perfect crosswind. However, by this point the wind will be under 20km/h and it’s hard to create echelons, but not impossible. Also, much of the final 80km is well protected from the elements, I don’t think we’ll see any echelons today.

Tactics

Just like today, the whole bunch will be nervous about the wind. If the wind just moves round a little and comes directly from the west, we could well see echelons in the opening half of the stage. If it stays as currently predicted, teams will try, but I’m not sure we’ll see big gaps. 

Jumbo-Visma are now in control of the yellow jersey, that means a lot of work for Nathan Van Hooydonck. He’ll get help controlling the break from the other sprint teams, it doesn’t stand a chance. In the echelons section of the stage, some teams will try and split things up, the wind direction is key to their potential success. Given the current forecast, I think it all comes back together for a big sprint.

Finale

It’s a day to grab a good early spot for the end of the stage, most of the roads in the final 10km are fairly narrow. We have a double corner with 6km to go, and then there isn’t another corner until just 800m are left in the stage. Once through this turn the road gets nice and wide, but with little time to move up the bunch, those who want to win the stage need to be in the first 15 wheels at this point, and it’s another headwind sprint.

Contenders

Fabio Jakobsen – nailed it today, what a brilliant win for him and the team. QuickStep were amazing in the closing stages, all the squad stepped up and delivered a huge result. Special shout out to Yves Lampaert, who was on the deck inside the final 20km, but was still there to act as final lead out man for Fabio, it really was a brilliant performance by the yellow jersey. Tomorrow, we’ll see others look towards QuickStep in the closing stages, which makes it even harder for them to win. Most of the others will be happy for them to do the majority of the work in the final 5km, then look to jump them closer to the line. Jakobsen starts as the favourite, but it won’t be easy against to take consecutive wins.

Wout Van Aert – now in the yellow jersey, but he wants a stage win. Jumbo-Visma also did a great job today, they got Wout into a great position in the final kilometre. They might not have a long train, but it’s full of power. He showed today that he has the speed required to win a stage against the fastest in the world, this is a good chance for him to win in yellow.

Dylan Groenewegen – it was looking good for him today, but the final kilometre did not go to plan. I don’t think anyone was at fault, it’s just the nature of Tour de France sprint stages. BikeExchange will dust themselves down and go again, they know that Dylan has the speed to win. Matthews and Mezgec have the ability to put him into a great spot for the sprint, we’ll then see if he has the legs to win.

Caleb Ewan – he continued his record of not doing well in the opening sprint stage of big races. As I mentioned in my stage 1 preview, he’s at this race with a new sprint train, these things don’t just click overnight. He tried to get on Jakobsen’s wheel, but just got edged out when everyone started to launch. What we know about Caleb is that he’s one of the fastest in the world, he does have the speed to beat Jakobsen, but it’s all about his position in the final kilometre. 

Mads Pedersen – was close to taking the win today, but he launched from too far out. Despite not having a long sprint train, Trek-Segafredo did a great job. They were the team who launched the sprint, special mention for the work of Jasper Stuyven. Now, everyone wants to win, but to win on home soil will give Pedersen even more motivation for this stage. If he wins, Denmark will be a very happy place. 

Jasper Philipsen – another who didn’t get it right today, but just like Ewan, he has the speed to win a stage in this race. Unlike most of his rivals, Philipsen has a full team at his disposal, which gives him a natural advantage. Today it didn’t click, but they rarely get it wrong, I think he’ll be challenging for the win in this stage.

Prediction Time

Everything is pointing to another win for Jakobsen, but I think tomorrow could be a messy sprint. Instead of going for the big favourite, I’ll take a win for Jasper Philipsen, I like him in a chaotic sprint.

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