Criterium du Dauphiné 2021 – Stage 3 preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Criterium du Dauphiné 2021 – Stage 3 preview

By David Hunter

Langeac > Saint-Haon-Le-Vieux 171.5km

Will Bahrain make a mess of this one too?

Two days of watching them make a mess of things. They’ll moan that other teams haven’t helped, but they have the fastest rider here, it is their responsibility to chase down the break.

On paper, this is the easiest stage with 2227m of climbing, but the break will again fancy their chances. Bahrain will hope for some help, they could well get some tomorrow. Those who have a fast finisher know that this is the only chance left to get a win. BikeExchange, Trek and UAE should be offering to help Bahrain chase the break, this is a day where a sprinter has a good chance of winning.

The Start

It might be unclassified, but 19km at 2.9% is a tricky way to start the stage. It’s a good chance for the break to establish and it could be fairly big. Bora – hansgrohe are in the race lead, they’ll want to keep the jersey for another day. The good news for them is that most of the bunch are down on GC and not a threat to them, they’ll only help chase if there is a chance of losing yellow. After two days of the win coming from the break you would think this one will be controlled, but there is no guarantee considering how Bahrain are riding. The sprint teams need to make sure the break doesn’t contain more than six men, but that’s harder than you think.

Finale

The bunch turn left with just over 2km to go, and the road rises all the way to the finishing line. With 800 to go we have a roundabout, only the left hand side is open, this is clearly going to be an important point in terms of position.

You can see how the road rises up to the line. The last 1.8km averages 4%, the final kilometre is 5% and the last 500m is around 7%. This is a tough finish, but should still be one for the sprinters. The roundabout will be important as those at the front can take it at speed, if you are further back you’ll need to slow down a bit, which isn’t great news as the road starts kicking up just after it.

Weather

It’s going to be a hot one with temperatures getting close to 30 degrees. The wind will be a tailwind for much of the day. We do have some cross/tailwind sections in the last 50km, but the wind shouldn’t be strong enough to force splits.

Tactics

Get a man in the break and watch Bahrain flounder. Simple as that.

Contenders

Sonny Colbrelli – how frustrated do you think he’ll be? He’s clearly in sensational form, but doesn’t have a win to show for it. This is great finish for Colbrelli, he starts as the massive favourite, but can Bahrain chase down the break and set up the sprint? Those who watched the first two stages won’t have any faith in them.

Mads Pedersen – the heat could well be a problem for the Dane. It normally takes him a few days to acclimatise and this stage could be too soon for him.

Jasper Stuyven – the Belgian will probably be the man for Trek-Segafredo. The uphill sprint is good for him, and he did look fast at the end of the opening stage.

Kaden Groves – the youngster is still looking for his first big win. He’s not yet got the speed to win flat sprints, but this finish is much better for him. Groves can handle hills, he’ll hope it slows some of the faster guys down a little.

Clement Venturini – very rarely wins. He’ll be fighting for the podium, but I can’t see him winning.

Alexander Kristoff – I think he’ll fade in the closing metres, the final ramps are too steep for him. UAE should let Bystrøm have a go at this one, hopefully he’s not used up as Kristoff’s last man.

Alex Aranburu – another rider who doesn’t win very often, it seems we have quite a few at this race. Similar to Groves, he doesn’t have the speed to win a flat sprint, this finish is much better for him.

Greg Van Avermaet – just not hard enough for him to win, but he should be fighting for the top 5.

Tim Wellens – breakaway hopeful number 1.

Nathan Haas – breakaway hopeful number 2.

Julien Bernard – breakaway hopeful number 3.

Michael Gogl – breakaway hopeful number 4.

Prediction Time

I think we’ll see enough teams show an interest to chase down the morning break. In the sprint Sonny Colbrelli will get a deserved win.

David HunterFollow us on Twitter and InstagramJoin us on facebook: Ciclismo Internacional

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