2022 Tour of Britain Stage 3 Preview

Durham > Sunderland 163.5km

The race moves into England for the third stage of the race. This one looks like a nailed-on sprint, as the cat 1 climb comes very early in the day. 

Weather

Cloudy with a threat of rain throughout, but it looks like the riders might just miss it, at least that’s what they’ll hope. There’s a very heavy band of rain due to hit close to the end of the stage, hopefully the riders go fast tomorrow.

Finale

The first of the key points comes with 2.6km to go, where the bunch go all the way round a roundabout, and it gets narrow. Then there’s a fast turn with 2.2km to go, another with 1.6km to go and yet another with 1.4km to go. The series of corners in quick succession makes moving up the bunch very difficult, a good position with 3km to go is very important.

The flamme rouge comes with the first of the roundabouts, it’s a fast left hander at this point and then the road gets a little wider, but not for long. It’s straight on at a roundabout with 800 to go, but the road book says that only the left-hand side will be open, so it’s going to get incredibly narrow. Then comes a left-hand curve which opens up with 600 to go and now it’s the finishing straight, but at this point the road does kick up a little bit, before levelling off for the finish. 

Tactics

This should be the first big sprint, that means those sprint teams should help Israel – Premier Tech chase down the morning break. Much of the donkey work should be shouldered by DSM and Bora as they have the two favourites for the stage. The world tour teams need to be careful; they cannot underestimate the British Conti teams; they can shift when allowed too much of a gap.

There is a cat 1 climb early in the stage, but by this point the break should already have been established and the bunch will ride it at tempo.

If we do get the expected sprint, it will be interesting to see how teams manage the final 5km. Bora only have 5 men, they’ll have to use 1 on the front and leave everyone else for the finale. None of the teams in this race have a proper spint train, which means the final 2km could get very messy. The most important part of the sprint is the roundabout with 800 to go, at this point the road is very narrow, the winner of the stage will already be in the first 5 positions, it really is a critical point for those wanting to challenge for the win.

Contenders

Jordi Meeus – he didn’t feature today, but that wasn’t a surprise after a spell off the bike. In this stage, I expect to see a lot of him in the closing stages. With Archbold and Politt to help in the closing kilometres, he should start the sprint from a good position, then we’ll see how his legs are.

Cees Bol – took a brilliant win today, his first of the season. As his confidence will now be up, he’ll be one of the men to beat in this stage. His sprint train did a great job today, but they’ll find it hard to do something similar in this stage, as they mainly are climbers not lead out men. If they can get him on a good wheel, he’ll have a decent chance of taking another win.

Jake Stewart – so close to a win today, this flat sprint isn’t ideal for him. Jake prefers a sprint after a hard day, but he’ll still roll the dice in this stage. Winning will be hard, but bonus seconds might get him thinking about GC.

Stanisław Aniołkowski – solid top 5 contender, but not a winner.

Filippo Fiorelli – another rider who’ll be happy if he finishes in the top 5.

Martin Urianstad – breakaway hopeful number 1. I like this lad.

Robert Scott – breakaway hopeful number 2.

Prediction Time

A big sprint finish and a win for Jordi Meeus.

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