A GC day or a breakaway day?
A hilly start before two categorized climbs. Then, 50 km of flat until the line.
So, anyone wants to dry and drop the pure sprinters? 5.3 km at 7.6% is difficult enough to drop a few of them.
Then, shortly after, there is another categorized climb. The gradients here are also tough for the sprinters.
Well, not the prettiest overview here. So, it is quite technical compared to stage 1 and stage 2. They will race on big roads until a left turn/bend in the road with 1.2 km left. The road book does not offer a lot of help, but they stay on wide roads. Then, you want to get near the front on that stretch down until 250m left. A bend to the right is where you want to be in the first five wheels.
If I recall correctly, its quite simple. Lead-out man goes first through the corner and the open up a little gap on the inside next to the barrier. That means everyone else must eat the wind too instead of drafting from the rider in front.
Another windless day with rain in the late afternoon.
How will the stage unfold?
Scenario 1) Breakaway.
GC is settled, they don’t want any business chasing. With large time gaps and Thyon 2000 still in the legs, a few riders will hope the sprinters are a bit fatigued. 22 riders have left, including Nizzolo, Cavendish and Dainese – that is potentially three teams less to organize a chase.
Scenario 2) Sprint.
We still have four strong teams with a sprinter. Soudal-QuickStep, EF (down to 5 riders), Movistar and INEOS. They want a sprint. I assume most of the work has to be done by INEOS and Quick-Step. That does not mean we see a sprint, we could see the group going away being too large to control.
Still, with the climbing so far from the line, I think we will see a sprint.
Vernon – he will be put under pressure by INEOS and EF. The cat-2 climb is no cakewalk and the cat-3 climb is not too easy either. The thing is, he has the best sprint train but if they have to use all their energy bringing him back, he could be a bit isolated in the finale. I think he will survive after two days on the bike where he could ride more or less easy.
Hayter – they will try to drop Vernon and Gaviria and hope EF want to help them. By doing so, they eliminate Viviani hence leaving Narvaez as lead-out. In this field, Narvaez can do the job fairly well. It is going to be full gas on both climbs to even the odds for the sprint.
Cort – as said before the mountain TT, he is a few percent off. Still, Magnus at 95% can fight for a win when you look at the sprinters left. I do not think they will drop him tomorrow, he managed to hang on for stage 2, tomorrow is easier than stage 2.
Gaviria – he will be put under pressure by INEOS and EF. Will he make it? He was climbing fantastically in the first week of the Giro d’Italia last season but this year, it is a coinflip. EF and INEOS know that if they do not drop him, he will likely beat him on the line.
Godon – Breakaway option #1. He had a good Catalunya and De Brabantse Pijl. It should be a good stage for him tomorrow to take a win from the breakaway.
Arndt – Breakaway option #2. He will either participate in the bunch sprint or try winning from the breakaway.
⭐⭐ Cort, Hayter
⭐ Gaviria, Arndt, Godon
Who will win?
I think INEOS and Hayter will blow the race to pieces when we hit the first categorized climb with the goal to drop Vernon and Gaviria. However, with long descent afterwards (and not a flat), it makes it easier to get back on. I think we will see a bunch sprint. The fastest man will win as he has the best lead-out man too – Vernon.