2022 Vuelta a España – Stage 3 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

By @EchelonsHub

The opening bunch sprint of the Vuelta saw a furious fight for the win, with BORA – hansgrohe nailing the sprint and delivering Sam Bennett to a very important win. He beat Mads Pedersen and Tim Merlier to the line. 

Positive: Bennett coming back to his wins, and Mike Teunissen jumping into the red jersey. 

Negative: Thijssen crashed towards the sprint and missed an opportunity. 

The Route

The third day of the race will see a loop around the city of Breda in the southern Netherlands, another simple day which has the potential to be very calm throughout the day, leading up to a furious finale. 

The stage once again features a small fourth category ascent – if you can call it that – and a bonified intermediate sprint in it’s final half, however except the possibility of wind, there shouldn’t be any stressful factor throughout the majority of the route. 

The sprint in Breda will be slightly different, more urban than today, albeit with a less technical approach to the final kilometers. There will be a long straight section into 2.5 kilometers to go where the pace will gradually ramp up. With 2.5 kilometers to go and then 750 meters to go there will be sharp turns to the right where the peloton will stretch out, for a fast run-in to the line. 

The Weather

Modest breeze from the west. It will see some tension 

Breakaway chances: 1%

Like today, it’s impossible with so many interests from the peloton and such an easy day to control. 

The Favourites

Sam Bennett – BORA has the strongest leadout in the race and that has became apparent today. Bennett will likely have again a strong position into the sprint, but this one won’t be as favourable. Still, with today’s confidence in his veins, he can repeat it. 

Tim Merlier – Merlier will be in my opinion the man to beat on this sprint, Alpecin won’t need to have the Belgian in pole position for the sprint, and he will be the big favourite.

The expected names were towards the front today, the list of favourites remains the same, including Mads Pedersen and Pascal Ackermann, however with the addition of Mike Teunissen who has been given the freedom to go for the sprints as well. The hilly days will suit him better however the Jumbo-Visma rider has the speed, the likes of Gerben Thijssen, Dan McLay and Itamar Einhorn also have to seize this opportunity as the race will get much harder from now on. 

Kaden Groves, Ethan Hayter, Bryan Coquard, Jake Stewart and John Degenkolb are all options for a place in the Top10, or higher if they find themselves in a good position towards the sprint. 

Inside The Bus

This morning I talk to…

#8 Mike Teunissen – You’re in red Mike, congratulations! First and foremost enjoy the lead, but let’s fight for a stage win shall we. It’s not he most suited finale for you, but finishing fourth today was a great sign, so we’ll protect you and you have the freedom to chase that result in the sprint. 

#126 Nelson Oliveira – Another stressful day Nelson, it’ll be your job to together with Mathias to keep Enric out of trouble, it’ll be important to stay near the front throughout the last hour of racing, and into areas where the wind may blow a little harder. 

#153 Marco Brenner – There will be days to perform. There is tension in the peloton Marco, just make sure you make it through safely. 

Prediction Time

⭐⭐⭐S.Bennett, Merlier

⭐⭐M.Pedersen, Ackermann

⭐ Teunissen, Thijssen, Groves, McLay, Coquard, Stewart 

He didn’t take it today. It was clear Bennett was the man to beat today, but tomorrow in a regular sprint the favouritism will fall into the hands of Tim Merlier and I expected him to take his win. 

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Rúben Silva

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