Stage 3 looks difficult. The climbs are not very difficult but I still think it can be more selective than today.
It is mostly about the climbing in the last 70 km tomorrow.
The first important climb is with 50 km left. A good few teams took a recon tour here on the 31st after stage 1 was cancelled. We saw today that Trek-Segafredo decided to take responsibility on the climb, meaning it will be hard to distance Pedersen tomorrow.
The last climb was used back in 2023 on stage 3. It isn’t very decisive and came earlier last year. I’m sorry for the profile not being very precise but Strava is not cooperating tonight. It is 1.90 km at 5.5%.
The simple is easier and safer than today. The attackers were caught in 2023 with De Lie winning the sprint.
Annoyingly, another day with no echelons. No rain either.
How will the stage unfold?
Today’s stage answered the questions. Mads Pedersen is in shape, meaning he likely will make it tomorrow. The Bessèges stage this edition is way easier than in 2023. Col de Trélis and Col des Brousses did make it selective in 2023, tomorrow is another deal.
Unfortunately, I think this will be quite dull in a sense. Meaning that we will see a sprint. Also because we have a weak headwind on the last climb. Plus, none of the French teams gave it a go on the main climb today. EF hit the deck and Healy is nowhere near his best either. A sprint. In Bessegès.
Mads Pedersen – dear any Danish cycling journalist(s). Don’t call it a self-written win for the Dane again tomorrow. Please do respect the other riders in the peloton. It is simply charmless. With that out of the way, he does start as the favorite tomorrow. Everything looked perfect until Laurance simply was the better man. With the way Mads looked today, and the way he climbed, he will sprint for the win. Can anyone beat him? He will have a lot of strong riders keeping him near the front.
Kristoff – in a way, he is (was) the type of rider the Dane has turned in to. Just a brilliant classics rider, fast on the line and the longer and harder the race, the better his chances in the sprint. With Cort and Tiller in particular, he should have good support. The podium is realistic for him. Just remember, sometimes he tends to start the season off with limited climbing abilities.
Menten – up there today for a long part before he tank was empty. Good enough to challenge for the podium. I think Berckmoes has a lot of speed and if you add Van Moer and Segaert, they have the power too.
Mozzato – A top-5.
Laurance – Usually, I would have gone with Kielich. We will have to see how well he goes tomorrow, he hit a concrete wall today with 1500m left. Laurance, with the chance of bonus seconds, may be the better pick. He is quick on the line.
Ferron – 2nd here in 2023. He doesn’t look in the same form at all but history tells it could be a good sprint for him.
Who will win?
I think Mads Pedersen will survive the climbs and win in Bessèges. The stage tomorrow looks easier than in 2023.