Vuelta a Burgos 2022 – Stage 3

After a stage with a very horrendous ending, it is time for Picón Blanco. It will be a lot different than usual since the top is 37 km from the finish line.

The finale

It all starts at the foot of Picón Blanco. We will see a selection here, but there is a lot of time for things to get back together as people start grouping up on the descent. After the descent, there are still 19 km left of the stage – I’m not really sure what kind of race we will see. A hill with 15 km left and another with 9 km left again.

Picon Blanco

Normally, things start to happen when they hit the steeper gradients near the middle.


Not very difficult, but it gets trickier towards the bottom.

The flat

As mentioned, a few climbs – we will likely see the teams with numbers attack. It is often smarter than trying to hold it together.


A day with almost no wind. A light breeze headwind on Picon Blanco (it is a naked mountain), and a tailwind home from the top (10 km/h). A little colder, but still near 30 degrees C.

How will the stage unfold?

With a lot of crashes today, there are a few important medical reports to read. Bahrain-Victorious, from what I can read, did not have anyone who hit the asphalt hard today, but Landa was distanced on the climb. It is clear he is not 100% or he is saving himself for tomorrow. They do have a strong team with Mäder and Poels also being very capable climbers. The plan for the other teams must be to isolate him. If they fail, I can see them controlling it all the way to the line.

Bora – Hansgrohe had Kelderman and Hindley hit the deck – just bruises, but that means they will not be 100% fit tomorrow. Movistar, EF and INEOS should be the teams to look for tomorrow. Valverde sits ’51 behind in GC (after stage 1) but that tells us he is not 100%. It will be Sosa for the Spanish team and he has fond memories of Picón Blanco. EF still have Chaves and Guerreiro in the GC mix – and they are very similar but I would give the edge to Guerreiro due to the steep gradients. INEOS still has three, Sivakov, Tao G and Rodriguez. It will be their job to isolate the other favorites.

I think we will see the strongest get over the top. INEOS to set it up. The question is, how many are over the top together? Normally we see quite the time gaps, but I do wonder if a pair or a trio decide to work together. If the group is too big then people don’t do their turns, too small and there will be people chasing behind. A solo is possible, but you would need a very good day and a big engine.


INEOS – three options and I have a hard time figuring out which is the best. They are fairly similar riders. Tao was on the move a few times today, eager to test the legs. On his best days, he would likely be the best of the three but it has been two years since his brilliant Giro d’Italia. Rodriguez and Sivakov proved in San Sebastian they are flying too. They will be the team with the numbers on Picon Blanco. Will they put all their eggs in one basket? I doubt it. They will play their numbers until one of them get away.

EFChaves and Guerreiro. I am uncertain whether either of them will be the first (or in the first group) over the top but they will not be far back. As mentioned, Guerreiro is my call. They will have some options depending on how well they climb, but I would be surprised to see a group make it to the line without one of them.

Bora – Hansgrohe – two captains crashed today, but they have four riders within ’10 of Buitrago. Fabbro will be the helper and I guess the road will decide tomorrow, how Kelderman and Hindley feel after they got a few bruises today. If they are feeling fine, I expect Hindley to be one of the first over the top. Buchmann could also make a surprise but I fear the climb is too explosive for his taste.

Buitrago – I hope they put the whole team behind him and ask him to attack on the Picon Blanco. Better to control a trio than a group of ten rivals. He is fast in a sprint but he will need to race smart to keep the jersey. He is good on steep gradients and I do not think the length of the climb is bad for him either – he smashed Monterovere in May, a very steep climb.

Sosa – the King of Picon Blanco. If he has good form, he could be solo over the top. I can’t see him win solo, he is not that type of rider in my book, but he should aim to get up the road on Picon Blanco and do his turns. Then, he will have a better chance on stage 5.

Almeida – Is the climb just a bit too long? I do not think it is. If we see a reduced group of favorites sprint, he is going to be the favorite. He is also one of the few with the power to solo, but I doubt he will be first over the top.

Astana – Nibali, DLX and Lopez. DLX is normally a man worth his weight in gold whenever he participates in Vuelta a Burgos, something that could come in very handy. The shark was on the move today which must mean he is feeling good. Lopez is the big question mark. They have the numbers to play but I am just not very confident it will be tomorrow they will fight for the win.


⭐⭐⭐ Almeida
⭐⭐ Buitrago, Tao G. Hart
⭐ Hindley, Rodriguez, Guerreiro

Who will win?

A group will get over the top with too many skinny climbers and won’t make it to the line. In a reduced GC sprint, I think Almeida is the fastest.

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