Sunday, 25 August 2013

Vuelta a Espana 2013 : Stage 3 Preview

STAGE 2 answered a few of the questions about who is or isn't in form.

And in the case of Sammy Sanchez and Sergio Henao the answer is clearly that they are not in form.

Both were distanced on the final climb and rolled in 2.41 behind stage winner Nicolas Roche.

As it is still so early in the race neither man can be considered out of contention for the overall win but both now find themselves in the 'very unlikely' category.

Another Colombian Carlos Alberto Betancur finished in the 'bus' losing just under 10 minutes, proving that, as expected, the illness and lack of racing means he will not be a contender for the overall victory.

They will hope for a quiet day hidden in the peloton as they lick their wounds and try to regain some form.

And for the most part they should find it. Stage three runs 184.8km  from Vigo to Mirador de Lobiera and follows a fairly flattish route around Galicia.

The finish however takes the riders up a cat 3 climb starting around 4km from the finish.

Their are a couple of tricky bends just before the finish which people will want to get into first.

It is very similar finish to what you find in most classic races in Northern Europe, maybe without the extreme steepness.

It will lend itself to the opportunists and classic riders as well as those sprinters who can go up hill fairly well.

This would mean the likes of Gianni Meersman of Omega-Pharma-Quickstep and Janse van Renesburg of Argos-Shimano.

Both finished in the bus today but both will have had one eye on tomorrow.

From the classic riders point of view there are a few potential winners, including the new race leader.

If it was a bad day for Sanchez and Henao then it was a good day for Vincenzo Nibali who has inherited the leaders red jersey from his team mate Janez Brajkovic.

The Italian finished in the front group and now leads Roche by 8 seconds.

Tomorrow's finish would normally be ideal for a rider like him. However he may be more content with just shadowing his rivals, people like Alejandro Valverde who is also suited to this type of finish. 

Saxo Tinkoff will look to make it two wins from two as Chris Anker Sorensen is more than capable of jumping away here. If not Chris Anker then look to young Pole Rafal Majka.

But for a bit of outsider I quite like the look of BMC pair Ivan Santoromita and Dominik Nerz. The finish does suit someone outside of the main contenders so Nerz, who is quick and can get up a climb, should be near the front.

If not Nerz then his Italian team mate Santoromita may get the nod. He will like this finish and finished comfortably in the main group today. Not a major challenger of Nibali yet so may be given a small amount of freedom.

It shouldn't see a change in the leaders jersey unless Astana want to give it away. If they do then a break has a chance of making it.

Mind I could be way out as, much like the riders, I am just finding my feet in this Tour!

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