Volta a Catalunya 2018 – Stage 3 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Volta a Catalunya 2018 – Stage 3 Preview

By David Hunter

Sant Cugat Del Vallès – Camprodon 153km

Apologies for the horrible picture, but due to the last minute change, this is all I have!

Due to extreme cold and high winds, the original route has been cancelled. Above, is the new profile for the 3rd stage.

Like most cycling fans, I’m disappointed. Gone are the big mountains, instead we have just two climbs, but I understand that the riders health and safety must be the priority.

Climbs

Coll de Bracons is a cat 1 climb, but only just over 5km long. As it crests with 52km remaining, we are likely to see a steady tempo in the bunch.

Port de Collabos is 8.6km at 5.2%, but it does continue for a little bit after the KOM point. This is a steady climb, it will be very difficult to make any differences between the best climbers.

Finale

This is a grind. We are not talking steep gradients, but the riders will gradually make their way to the new finishing line. We are taking around 3% for the majority of the drive for home.

The rise from 3km to 1km is around 4%, before the road levels out for the final kilometre. According to reports, the stage finishes with a 2km tunnel, meaning no TV pictures!

Weather

Dry, but very cold. We could get gusts of around 30km/h, with the wind coming from the north-west. If the wind does gust, we could see some splits.

Contenders

Alejandro Valverde – if he could beat Impey and McCarthy today, no one can stop him tomorrow. Valverde is in unstoppable form and only bad luck will deny him. Movistar are riding very well and look the strongest team in the race. They will control proceedings and Valverde will do the rest. I simply cannot see anything else happening.

Michael Woods – the EF Drapac man does have a good kick. He is nowhere near the speed of Valverde, but if we have a bunch of around 40 riders, he should be able to challenge for the top 5.

Eduard Prades – the Spaniard is a very consistent rider. Whether it’s a climb or a sprint he has the ability to finish in the top 20. He will hope that Movistar make it a fast pace as it will help to drop the puncheurs. It would be great to see him on the problem.

Matej Mohoric – so strong just now. He recently won in Italy and played a big part in Nibali’s win in MSR. After sprinting to 5th today, he’ll be confident of challenging to win this stage.

Pello Bilbao – the Astana man does have a fast sprint. It’s not that long ago he was sprinting for Caja Rural in the Vuelta. I’m unsure about his current form, but hopefully he has good legs.

Prediction Time

This one should be very easy for Alejandro Valverde.

*Overall Preview

David Hunter

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