Tour de France 2013: Stage 3 preview

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Tour de France 2013 stage three
Monday, July 1
From Ajaccio
To Calvi
Distance 145.5km
Stage type Medium mountains

Yellow jersey 3/5
Green jersey 2/5
Polka-dot jersey 5/5

The Tour’s lap of Corsica finishes off with a 145-kilometre ride up the west coast road from Ajaccio to Calvi. Calvi’s a one-town primer in schoolboy history – Lord Nelson lost his eye in a battle off the coast, and it’s also suggested that Christopher Colombus was born there.

The road hugs the coastline, traversing a series of headlands, and crossing four climbs. The territory is more hilly Classic than Grand Tour mountains, but the repeated uphills will erode the peloton.

The interesting bit comes at the end; the Col de Marsolino is only 443 metres high, and the main part of the climb is only three kilometres long, but that’s going to be enough to put most of the sprinters out of the game.

If stage one was for the sprinters, and stage two was for the climbers, stage three is a classic baroudeur’s stage, with smaller climbs and very little in the way of flat territory.

It’s short, too, at only 145 kilometres, which means that between the early attacks to form the break (which can go on for an hour or more at this stage in the Tour) and the late attacks to try and win the stage, there’ll be very little time for the peloton to catch a breather.

It’s not a GC stage, but the riders with ambitions of winning the yellow jersey will, if anything, have to be more vigilant than on the harder climbs of stage two. The final climb today, the Col de Marsolino, tops out only 13 kilometres from the finish.

It’s another unpredictable stage, which makes a refreshing change for the Tour, which often follows a basic formula for the early days. A break could easily stay away today, or a split could put a favourite out of contention.

Then Peter Sagan’s going to win.

Related links

Tour de France 2013: Coverage index