Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 3 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Giro d’Italia 2014 – Stage 3 Preview

By David Hunter

Stage 2 Recap

Thankfully the rain stayed away from the end of the stage and we avoided any crashes in the final corner. Cannondale continue to show a lack of understanding when it comes to setting up a sprint. They hit the front from 5km out, but it was far too early and they lost control of the sprint. Both FDJ and Giant timed their run perfectly and took up the pace from 1.5km. In fact, FDJ, managed to disrupt the Giant train and they delivered Bouhanni in a brilliant position. He decided to take the final corner quite wide, but Kittel stayed on the narrow side. Bouhanni opened up the sprint from the right and Kittel from the left. The German started from 10 metres behind the Frenchman, but still managed to power past and claim the stage. It was Nizzolo of Trek Factory Racing picking up 3rd and Viviani, again hampered by poor positioning, in 4th. Thanks to finishing 8th, Michael Matthews took the pink jersey.

Pink – Matthews, White – Matthews, Red – Kittel, Blue – Kittel

Stage 3 Armagh – Dublin 187km

It looks like quite a timid, relaxing day.

giro3A nice leisure cycle down the East coast of the Emerald Isle.


We have a slightly lumpy start to the stage with 2 cat 4 climbs, before mostly flat roads leading in to Dublin. The main issue is going to be the weather! There is a high risk of heavy rain showers all day, plus a 16mph wind coming from the West. This means that the riders will have crosswinds all day long. The rain and wind could end the hopes of many sprinters for the stage but will also scare some GC riders. Time lost in this stage could be crucial and the peloton will be nervous.

The riders with the most to gain are the experienced ones, Cadel Evans and Michelle Scarponi. Astana rode very high in the peloton today and I expect the same tomorrow. Cadel has seen conditions like this on many occasions and he’ll have his team primed. Saxo were strong in the wind last year, Roche and Majka will hope for a repeat. Looking slightly vulnerable are Quintana and Pozzovivo. The Italian is not a fan of these conditions and his small frame is not suited to the wind. It will be a very long day in the saddle for AG2R. Quintana was one of the few Movistar riders not caught out by the wind, in the Tour. His rivals know that he’s the best climber in the race and they will want to take time on him, wherever they can.

Marcel Kittel does not have a great track record in the wind. He doesn’t ride high in the peloton and this could see him miss a split, in the wind.

If we do get a big bunch sprint, it could be carnage!


We have a 90 degree bend to get onto the bridge, followed by another to get off it. Then another one to enter the long finishing straight. This will stretch out the peloton, but the hardest part is yet to come. At around 350 metres, there is a quick left/right. If it’s wet, this will be extremely dangerous.

If it comes down to a big bunch sprint, we should have the same outcome as stage 2, with a Kittel victory. I seriously doubt this will happen. I expect fireworks en route and a reduced bunch sprint. Obviously, it’s very hard to predict who will make the split.

Orica will try like hell to retain the jersey and they have some big engines that could cause a lot of pain. OPQS also have big, strong riders. They have the added incentive of helping Uran on GC, and possibly even Petacchi for a sprint. Although, he has said he won’t sprint till later in the race. If he arrives in a small bunch, he’ll sprint.

Riders who could benefit are the fast, tough men. The type of rider that likes sprinting after a long, hard day. We have quite a few to choose from: Bol, Dehaes, Appollonio, Farrar to name a few.

Prediction time…

I’ll be honest, anything could happen! I’ll give you 1 scenario. The crosswinds will blow the peloton to bits and the rain will also cause many riders to fade. I’m going for a rider that loves the rain and can sprint. It has to be Sonny Colbrelli. It would be an amazing day for him, as it would be his first ever professional win.

Related: Giro 2014 general preview:

David Hunter

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