Sunday, 30 June 2013

Tour de France 2013: Stage 3 Preview

STAGE three waves goodbye to Corsica with a short but tough ride along the coast to Calvi. It is only 145km long but most of the route is rolling and includes four categorised climbs.
Like stage two a breakaway will go away early and the likes of Blei Kadri and Lars Boom will probably appear in it as they attempt to take an early lead in the King of the Mountains competition.
However their hopes of success are limited.
Again a climb towards the end of the stage will make the difference. The 2nd Category Col de Marsolino comes 13km from the finish and will severely thin the peleton out.
It is 3.3km long and has an average gradient of 8.1%. That will be enough to shell the majority of the big sprinters out and will undoubtedly provide a springboard for somebody to launch an attack for the stage win.
Once over the top the road descends all the way to the finish and could give someone like Slyvain Chavanel a big opportunity. He tried his luck on stage two and will definitely see this as an opportunity for himself. He has the explosive power to get up the climb and can descend with the best of them.
Europcar were very animated on stage two and will definitely be so again. Thomas Voeckler will definitely have a go at some point as will Pierre Rolland.
FDJ were also very animated during stage two as they looked to get French champion Arthur Vichot into position. Expected the same again this time around.
It was also great to see World Champion Philippe Gilbert at the front end of the race. BMC did a lot of work on the front yesterday, predominantly to keep Cadel Evans and Tejay Van Garderen safe but that could also work in his favour.
However it is a big ask for escapees to evade the clutches of a peleton who will be at full tilt and determined not to let a breakaway make it this time. So if it does all come back together it will be a very reduced field that enters Calvi.
Peter Sagan will be there again as will people like Francesco Gavazzi, Edvald Boassen-Hagen and Tony Gallopin, if he can avoid team duties defending the yellow jersey.
Jan Bakelants shocked everybody with his attack and won a completely deserving stage. He has a great chance to retain that jersey as well. RadioShack will work their socks off to pull back any break and with no time bonuses on offer at the finish line all he has to do is finish with the leaders.
For an outsider go for Daryl Impey. He finished well on stage two and could well be up there again.
Well it's not as if Orica Green Edge have been mentioned much so far this Tour is it so they could do with some publicity!

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