Two surprise winners. It did not seem like the teams with a fast man were keen on taking on the initiative too early today. I must admit I tuned in late, but Bahrain-Victorious did not look very active in the chase to defend the jersey. Despite stage 3 having more climbing meters than the first two stages, it should be the most suited for the quick men, as the main portion of climbing is done within the first half of the day. On the other hand, if they hesitate, the breakaway will simply take another one. June favors the riders with freedom.
A corner with 600m and 350m to go means you stand a better chance, if you have a good sprint train.
A tailwind or a crosswind for the first 130 km. Certainly good for the break! Temperatures around 22 degrees C and no rain again.
How will the stage unfold?
Today, Cofidis (Coquard) and BikeExchange (Matthews) certainly did not give any effort to chasing down the morning break. It was expected. Tomorrow, I think they will. You see the first 90 km has 2000 climbing meters – that is almost 66%. Today, I highly doubt it was either of those two who closed dangerous breaks- Tomorrow, they should. Actually, both days have seen surprisingly big breakaways. It is time to take on some responsabilty.
But what if they do not? Bahrain can’t do it all by themselves and relied heavily on help to defend the jersey. We have seen groups of four and five making it all the way at Dauphine. The breakaway is getting really good at playing the distance card well. What I mean by that is not going full gas too early. The peloton does not want to catch you with 25 km left, that just opens up another danger. With Bahrain behind the wheel, it could be a 50/50. Who will help them? One could imagine Kristoff doing quite well on a day like this or Sagan.
Kristoff – It looks like the optimal day for the Norweigan whose current contract situation is unknown. With Pasqualon at his disposal, he should be able to do quite the sprint. The question is, will he start his sprint too early?
Sagan – form has not been good as of late. An unfortunate tale of one of the best riders of a generation. Tomorrow is perhaps the easiest day to survive, but losing more than six minutes today does not send a good signal. Oss is here to guide him, that is more than enough.
Matthews – it is time to hit the front BikeExchange. Dion Smith is the last man, a very good one for him. The other four will likely have to chase most of the day which will hurt the sprint train. In a flat sprint, he is beatable.
Coquard – the French team has to help tomorrow. With the lack of sprinters here, it is a very good chance for Cofidis to take a big stage victory in Switzerland. Only Tom Bohli can help him in the finale, but he is very good in the battle for position.
Bevin – is not at his best since Norway. A big shame as he likely could have won tomorrow. We will have to see if he finds some good legs.
Teunissen – was active in Norway. No stage win, but the competition here is easier.
Haller – he beat a few big names up in Norway, didn’t he. He should still have good legs, it has been a few weeks. He will not have a lot of help, just like the rest of them.
SKA – breakaway option #1
Bissegger – breakaway option #2
Van Moer – breakaway option #3
Who will win?
I will go for the peloton. Atleast one team will make the effort to control the morning move. Otherwise, I really think some teams should consider why the bring a sprinter here. With a tricky finale, the best lead-out train is likely going to win. I think Intermarché has that, a win for Kristoff.