Tour of Britain 2014 – Stage 3 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Tour of Britain 2014 – Stage 3 Preview

By David Hunter

Stage 2 Recap

The climb proved hard enough to distance Kittel and we got the expected attack from Chavanel. Also in attacking mood was Alex Dowsett and Michal Kwiatkowski. With 1km to go, it was Dowsett and Chavanel, who were clear, but Wiggins closed the gap. In a very messy sprint, with no sprint trains, Ben Swift opened up too early. It was a very poor piece of judgement from Swift, he simply gave a lead-out to Renshaw, who took the win. It was Swift in second and Sam Bennett in third.

Stage 3 Newtown – The Tumble 179.9km

“Mountaintop finish!”

tob3The riders head South, through Wales. There are 3 early climbs, but this race is all about the final climb, The Tumble!

tob3aThe Tumble, is 6km at 7.2%, but the race is only using the opening 4km of the climb, these are the hardest!

tob3bIt’s 4.1km at an average of 8.5%. This is a great climb for the race, as it’s right on the limit of riders like Chavanel and Bauer. Can they hang on, when the climbers start to attack?

Currently wearing the KOM jersey is Mark McNally of An Post – Chain Reaction. I would expect him to go in the break again, to claim more points, in this classification.

OPQS are in the race lead, but Renshaw, obviously, won’t be in the lead after this stage. They will still ride hard, as they would like Michal Kwiatkowski to take over the race lead.

The big hitters for the GC will all be present at the end of the stage: Wiggins, Chavanel, Bauer, Kwiatkowski, Izagirre, Bongiorno, Konig, Cummings and Roche.

All of these riders, apart from Bongiorno and Roche, have been very visible in the opening 2 stages. As I’ve already said, Chavanel and Bauer will be worried about the climb, in particular, the 3km at 9% section. I also think it will be too much for Cummings. That leaves us with 6.

Narrowing this down further, I don’t think Roche seems on his best form and Wiggins, very rarely wins a road stage. His last road stage win, was in the Tour de Romandie, in 2012.

So, we’re left with Kwiatkowski, Izagirre, Bongiorno and Konig. The Spaniard was brilliant in Poland, but I think he’s had a long season and might struggle to compete. So there were 3!

Kwiatkowski has some question marks over his head. He’s only had 1 race, since the Tour, and this means he can’t be in his best condition. He can cope with the climb but not if he’s only at 90%. However, it’s only 4km, so he has a good chance of making it.

I’m left with Konig and Bongiorno. Konig had a poor time off it, in America. This was mainly due to an insect bite, but he looked good today. He is an excellent climber and goes very well in this race, with a stage win in 2012 and 2, top 10 places. He’s the best climber, in the field.

Bongiorno, is a brilliant, young talent. He recently won his first pro race, in the Tour de Slovenie, and who can forget “that moment” on the Zoncolan. Due to his TT ability, this is a stage where he must take time and the 10 second bonus, would be very handy.

tob3cThere is a slight issue with the road book. Here it claims the finish is at 500 metres, but in the full profile, it’s around 420 metres. This is going to make a big difference, as it’s the difference between finishing on 8%, or on a flat 500 400 metre section. It’s a real pain, when the road book is poor.

Prediction time…

It’s a toss up between Kwiatkowski, Bongiorno and Konig. I’m going for youth and the brilliant Bongiorno!

David Hunter

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