Tour de France stage 3 – Verviers / Longwy – The Battle of Ardennes

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  • Tour de France stage 3 – Verviers / Longwy – The Battle of Ardennes
  • Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    Well my fantasy team may be at it’s highest point of the race but I’ll tempt fate and go with Sagan, GT to stay yellow and a bit more of a careful go from some in the GC.Not sure if anyone will try anything cheeky on the climbs or try and stretch/catch out somebody. Could be a fun one

    bikebouy
    Member

    Inrng has already picked some of my favourites, so no point in going over what’s already been said.
    Having said that I want a breakaway, I want it to go to the end, I want vomit on the line.

    Great course, looks really leg sappingly fun.. hope to see plenty of spectators out on a Monday as the route goes through housing estates and residential areas, and fields.

    Premier Icon lunge
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    Morning all, everyone well on this fine Monday? A stage of 3 countries today, let’s see what it’s all about.

    Starting from Philippe Gilbert’s native town of Verviers, stage 3 is much hillier than stage 2. A visit will be paid to the car racing circuit of Spa-Francorchamps after 20km of racing through the Ardennes on the roads of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, the oldest of the big classics. 130 kilometres of the course are in Luxemburg, the country of the recently retired Schleck brothers. One Luxemburger, Ben Gastauer of AG2R-La Mondiale, is part of the 195-rider strong peloton. Everyone else who is not familiar with this small country will realize it’s not a flattish one. Stage 3 is long too: 212.5km. It might be a hard day for some riders.

    Who’s in the mix? Only one place to find that out, off to the Inrng we go.

    The Contenders: Peter Sagan is an obvious pick, he’s the normally the master at these kind of finishes. But you’ll remember Zden?k Štybar winning ahead of him in the 2015 Tour de France in Le Havre, ditto Greg Van Avermaet in Rodez that year. But those were the days when Sagan kept finishing second, he’s a more prolific winner but both of those riders are contenders today. Štybar might be tasked with trying to get Matteo Trentin to the finish because the Italian is a 10 second time bonus away from the yellow jersey thanks to the hundredths of a second recorded in the time trial and Trentin will probably find this finish too much. Meanwhile also at Quick Step Philippe Gilbert‘s problem is not the climb, it’s the way the road levels out towards the finish. He used to be invincible in finishes like this but he’s about to turn 36 this week and doesn’t have that old zip so he’s not such a firm pick

    Michael Matthews is a good challenger but how to beat Sagan? Does he ask his team for a high tempo on the steepest parts of the climb to try and put Sagan and the other sprinters into the red knowing he just might be able to outpace them or just simply stick to Sagan and hope for the best with 100 metres to go?

    There’s a long list of other contenders who will queue on Sagan’s wheel. Diego Ulissi might prefer a slightly more sustained climb but is still very good for a finish like this and maybe UAE team mate Ben Swift can hold tight for the sprint. FDJ will count on Arthur Vichot who looked good in the Tour de Suisse but the level of opposition here is so big that a win seems unlikely. Orica-Scott have Michael Albasini, a specialist at uphill finishes but a rare winner outside his native Switzerland. Trek-Segafredo’s Fabio Felline could pounce, Cannondale-Drapac’s Patrick Bevin is handy for short uphill sprints and Dimension Data’s Edvald Boasson Hagen had a great time trial, the form is there. Finally Movistar’s Carlos Betancur who is looking much leaner these days, perhaps not the winner but we’ll see if he’s back to his fighting weight.

    And to finish, a few pics of the fun yesterday.

    Kittel, perfectly timed

    Phinney, good to see him smashing it up again.

    Moist.

    Premier Icon lunge
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    I’ve had coffee and now feel awake.

    The main name I think that Inrng has left off is Kristoff, it seems like his kind of stage, though I often say that. Degenkolb could also be worthy of consideration, certainly if EBH is being mentioned as they all seem similar riders.

    There’s a nasty little potholed climb in the last 2k.

    So, Sagan.

    atlaz
    Member

    The climb out of Esch-sur-Sure is a bit of a bastard (couple of km with a lot of double-digit gradient) and is a possible jump-off for someone but quite a big call for an attack given the rest of the route is quite rolling. Pretty much the entire route through Luxembourg is quite rural with lots of small country towns (I shall be skiving off in Saeul for example). From about 170km in though it’s all a bit industrial and, other than the finishing area, Longwy is a shithole.

    atlaz
    Member

    There’s a nasty little potholed climb in the last 2k.

    I’d heard they were putting a new surface down but I don’t recall it being too poorly surfaced before (it’s a main road) but it’s a few years since I was up there.

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
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    There’s a nasty little potholed climb in the last 2k.

    So, Sagan.

    Kwiatkowski (if he’s allowed off the leash).
    Zdenek Stybar
    Greg van Avermart / Phillipe Gilbert if only because the finish is quite Classics

    atlaz
    Member

    Michael Matthews is an outside chance too and I know GvA was down for the Tour de Luxembourg for race fitness and a recon and from what I heard he went to check out the finale for today.

    Premier Icon lunge
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    Dan Lloyd reckons Darryl Impey is a good outside bet.

    Atlaz, see @nedboulting for a shot of the surface today.

    atlaz
    Member

    Atlaz, see @nedboulting for a shot of the surface today.

    Ah, in Longwy and environs, that counts as a pretty good surface 🙂

    atlaz
    Member

    So, the chippy is closed. But. There is a town fair which means sausages and beer so it’s not a total loss.

    Premier Icon lunge
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    Adam Hansen in the break, always good to see.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
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    Bit odd riding around Spa

    Premier Icon joat
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    Valverde has had an outside chance.

    matts
    Member

    Smithy saying on the commentary that the run to the line really levels out and favours the classics sprinters much more than the puncheurs or climbers.

    matts
    Member

    Not even giving the break 2 minutes. Everyone must be super nervous.

    timb34
    Member

    Adam Hansen in the break, always good to see.

    He’s just bored with riding Grand Tours so wants to get it over with quickly.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
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    Who’s doing the chasing?

    Just assumed Hansen had won a tour stage at some point, apparently not.

    atlaz
    Member

    Super windy today. If I’m not wrong it should be a headwind up the final climb

    Premier Icon mrblobby
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    Full coverage of every stage makes you realise how bloody long they are. Still not half way.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
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    Cav riding into form??
    and yes stages are long, longer when it’s nearly 11pm here, bugger all happens until about 1am here

    Premier Icon mrblobby
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    Cav riding into form??

    I’d expect it to be the opposite given what he’s been suffering from.

    Premier Icon lunge
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    De Ghent has 30 secs over the breakway with 1 minute on the peleton, 35k to go.

    Premier Icon Stoner
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    pity hansen couldnt stay with him

    dammit Ive got to go and take the kids to tennis. going to miss the finish 🙁 Will have to follow on news ticker on the phone. But really like listening to Millar and Ned on ITV4 on the computer ATM

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    I’m sticking with Eurosport. As insightful as Millar is, it’s not the same without Sean Kelly.

    25k to go now, getting down to business.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
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    That was good.

    Premier Icon weeksy
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    Sagan is just marvellous isn’t he… Such a versatile rider it’s unreal ! Classics, sprints, 20km out flat wins, hilly wins… Just awesome.

    Premier Icon mrblobby
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    Considering he unclipped just as he was starting his sprint and had to get his foot back in and still won… blimey!

    Wondering if there was a time gap back to Kittel as he was done on the climb. Might have cost him a shot at yellow.

    Premier Icon lunge
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    I am looking forward to the highlights of that, sounded awesome.

    mcj78
    Member

    Haha, gotta love Sagan 😆

    newrobdob
    Member

    Wow what a finish!!

    Premier Icon wwaswas
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    Sagan, dead casual: “Got to get your foot position right before launching a sprint.”

    bikebouy
    Member

    Toughy that climb, bit odd to see both Porte and Bertie up there with 400m to go.. Nice to see Dan Martin 3rd, beating Greg Van Wheelsucker.
    Well done to Sags, I’m warming to his 70’s Porno Tache’ too.

    mrlebowski
    Member

    Cheers for these lunge – most appreciated.

    mcj78
    Member

    “What’s this – my foot has unclipped mid sprint? Why i’ll just casually pop it in back in before obliterating everyone then I suppose”

    I’m annoyed there was no wheelie though…

    “what is pressure?” 😆

    Premier Icon mrblobby
    Subscriber

    bit odd to see both Porte and Bertie up there with 400m to go

    Best way to stay out of trouble I’d assume.

    Sagan is bloody impressive. Red hot favourite for the stage, a marked man, everyone knows he’s the wheel to be on, and still he delivers.

    What’s with the googles?

    CaptainFlashheart – Member
    There’s a nasty little potholed climb in the last 2k.

    So, Sagan.

    POSTED 11 HOURS AGO #

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