Tour de France stage 3 – Verviers / Longwy – The Battle of Ardennes
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 onePosted 7 months agobikebouyMember
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.Posted 7 months ago
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.Posted 7 months ago
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.Posted 7 months ago
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.Posted 7 months ago
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?Posted 7 months ago
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