By David Hunter
Stage 3 Recap
As I thought, the peloton was small as we hit the final climb. Vincenzo Nibali surprised everyone with an attack at the bottom of the climb. Froome, easily managed to join him before powering away. Simon Spilak rode well to catch Froome and the two of them didn’t come back. In a fantastic sprint, Spilak was victorious. I picked Froome as the overall winner and it now looks assured. Nibali was a big disappointment today and he looks way behind Froome and Contador, already this season.
Stage 4 Fribourg – Fribourg 174km
We have a circuit course, with 1 lap of 28.1km and then 5 laps of 29km. The stage is not as easy as it looks!
As you can see the riders will have to deal with a lot of climbing and descending, with little flat roads. Officially the climb is 2.6km at 4.9%. This isn’t hard, but it’s the unclassified climbs that will cause the problems.
Just after the 10km mark, we have 500 metres at 10.8% and then as the riders approach Giffers, at the 20km mark, it’s another 500 metres at 11.8%.
The cumulative effect of these climbs will really take it out of the riders, especially as the last couple of laps will be raced very fast.
On the final lap, the climb into Giffers will be the perfect place for riders to attack, as there is only 10km to the end of the stage.
From the previous stages we know that the sprinters who are here, aren’t in the best of form. I doubt we’ll see Marcel Kittel sprint at the end of the stage.
Michael Albasini has been a class apart, winning 2 stages, and he will be looking for number 3. Giacomo Nizzolo has been climbing well and he should be able to cope with the route.
The short, punchy climbs bring other riders into the equation. Astana have Iglinsky and Grivko, who are very capable on a stage like this.
It all depends on the attitude of the GC riders. If they want to attack on the final climb, then it will be up to Katusha to try and bring the race back together. It would be ideal for Katusha if a number of non-threats managed to escape on the final lap. After a very difficult stage 3, the riders will be tired and this is the only stage left for a break to make it.
Riders who will like this terrain are Voeckler, Rui Costa, Gatto, Visconti, Iglinsky and Cherel.
One rider that really excites me tomorrow is Nino Schurter. The Swiss, mountain bike superstar, is riding for Orica and I’m sure he’s going to give it a go in this stage. His explosiveness is perfect for this stage and I hope to see him giving the established riders a run for their money.
If it ends in a sprint, then it’s Albasini v Nizzolo v Navardauskas, but I don’t think we’ll get one.
The nature of the course means that teams will be left with few riders and it will be very difficult to organise any chase. That responsibility will probably fall on the shoulders of Garmin, who have been strong all week.
Prediction time… It’s a very difficult stage to predict. I say we get a small group of riders escaping the peloton, near the end of the stage. Probably a day for Tommy Voeckler.
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