2022 Tour de Pologne – Stage 3 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

2022 Tour de Pologne – Stage 3 Preview

By @EchelonsHub

Another open sprint stage at the Tour de Pologne on the second day, and this time the chaos benefited Gerben Thijssen who surprised to take a career-changing win, the best of his career so far for Intermarché. He beat Pascal Ackermann and Jonathan Milan to the line, with Jonas Abrahamsen the new leader of the race due to the bonifications that have been given through the breakaway. 

Positive: Thijssen and Abrahamsen having very important results, without a doubt the big winners of the day. 

Negative: Cavendish, Démare and Bennett again far from the fight for the win. 

The Route

The third day will see the Tour de Pologne head into the hills. In the familiar Polish way, there will be 237 kilometers on the road. It is an ideal route for the classics specialists looking to build form into the late-season classics, as they’re presented with a punchy finish, and a very sharp stage. 

Most of it will be flat, however the overall classification will be played for in the end, in a day that will see the first GC riders reveal themselves. 

Although unlikely to be decisive, after going through Przemysl the first time, the riders will head south into a section of hills before returning. 3Km at 5.2%, 2.1Km at 9.2% and 2.5Km at 6.7% summiting with 36.5, 30 and 24 kilometers respectively. It will be a tough sequence of climbs which will see some riders shed off the peloton, and can be used to put in the hurt on those that have more difficulties with a substantial amount of climbing. 

The stage will be decided in a hilltop finish inside the city however, one that will be a pure puncheur treat. It is 1.6Km at 8.3%, however inconsistent as it has two different ramps, the final of which will be crucial and decide the stage. The gradients will go up to 15% in the run-up to the finish, a highly explosive finale before an hairpin into some flat meters so the riders can cross the line. 

The Weather

There will be a meaningful breeze from the northwest. This will actually see a tailwind throughout most of the day, however I doubt the breakaway will get to have a role in the fight for the stage win. In the final climb it shouldn’t affect, however there will be a headwind heading into the final climb which further lowers the chances of seeing any moves in the sequence of hills. 

Breakaway chances: 5%

I reckon the chances exist as the weather is favourable and no team should want to take control of the race completely – but Uno-X will surely work hard to have things under control However if there are a few teams interested in controlling the breakaway it should be an easy task. 

The Favourites

Sergio Higuita – Perhaps the best mix between climber and puncheur in the race, Higuita will hope to have his best legs as he can very well take the win and take over the GC here, a day where he will need to take time on rivals. 

Ethan Hayter & Richard Carapaz – Ethan Hayter will be a contender for every stage, here included. The fight for positioning and brutal gradients may be tough on him though. Richard Carapaz may enjoy the grades and he’s known to do very well sometimes on the punchy finales, this could be a good opportunity to take hold of the race. Furthermore, with the presence of Magnus Sheffield, Jhonatan Narváez and Ben Tulett, INEOS has got a whole array of options even though it’s not a finale where they can use their depth much. 

Quinten Hermans – Having won a similar finale in the Belgium Tour recently where he last raced a stage-race, Hermans is a pure puncheur who should have the kind of explosivity required for such a harsh effort. 

Mauro Schmid – Schmid is an inconsistent rider however on a good day he’s very much capable of fighting for and taking a win here. Quick-Step is a classics-expert race, and this day will very much resemble that type of racing – one like Flèche Wallone. 

The puncheurs have a chance to thrive here, although the tough gradients will separate those who’ve got great form compared to those looking to build up. The likes of Diego Ulissi, Samuele Battistella, Quentin Pacher and Andrea Vendrame have a good shot at success if they play their cards right. 

In the side of the climbers, they will enjoy the following stages more likely, due to the longer climbs and more constant efforts. However, if the feeling on the day is strong they can play a role, specially the likes of Pello Bilbao who’s thrived this season. Thymen Arensman, Giovanni Aleotti, Lucas Hamilton, Davide Formolo and Antonio Tiberi are other riders to consider, as there’s no clear favourite. 

Inside The Bus

This morning I talk to…

#71 Arnaud Démare  – The race hasn’t gone to plan so far, so we’ll wait for the next sprint. Save the legs, this stage isn’t for you so just roll in the back of the peloton and spend as least as possible. 

#96 Gerben Thijssen – Amazing Gerben, congratulations! The race is made for us and for you, no pressure now. We’ll have our eyes mostly towards the final stage with you, but in the meantime you can relax as we’ll help Quinten today. 

#87 Elia Viviani – We won’t have you working but stay with the guys today, we want them well protected as we have several cards for the GC. Crucial that you survive the climbs and then play a role in helping with positioning towards the final climb, to put your track skills to good use. 

Prediction Time

⭐⭐⭐Higuita, Hayter, Q.Hermans

⭐⭐Carapaz, Schmid, Ulissi, Bilbao

⭐ Tulett, Narvaez, Battistela, Pacher, Formolo, Tiberi, Arensman

It’s a sharp finale, but despite the hilly profile, it will be a one-effort stage. I mean that everyone will save as much as possible for the final hill, and the anaerobic effort won’t allow the climbers to profit that much from their climbing ability. Pure puncheur for the win, Quinten Hermans

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