Tour of Ireland 2009: Stage 3 preview

Sunday August 23
Stage 3: Bantry-Cork, 185km

The stage is set for a thrilling final day. After a lumpy first 130 kilometres, the overall title is likely to be be decided on the finishing circuit in Cork, as three climbs of the wall-like St Patrick’s Hill will fragment the field.

The final ascent comes just 16 kilometres from the stage finish in Cork. However, it was on the subsequent flat run-in to the finish that time-trial star Pinotti constructed his overall victory in 2008.

Marco Pinotti (Italy, Columbia-HTC)

Defending champion can’t be discounted.

Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark, Saxo Bank)

Former mountain-biker has impressed in his first season on the road. Won the Tour of Denmark, and could be a danger here if he has kept some form.

Lance Armstrong (Usa, Astana)
Though the star can’t have had much time for training this week in between U2 concerts, a Scottish meet-and-greet and an Oslo charity crit, he may still have a card to play.

Matti Breschel (Denmark, Saxo Bank)

A better climber than he’s given credit for. If he stays in touch with the leaders, they will be hard-pushed to beat him in a sprint.

Phillip Deignan (Ireland, Cervelo Test Team)
Home rider is ultra-motivated to perform well on home soil.

Russell Downing (Gbr, CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta)
Was cruelly beaten at the last hurdle in 2008 on this circuit, finishing second overall. Premier Calendar winner should lead the British charge.

Route map and profile

Tour of Ireland stage three