When Monday, July 4
Impact on GC 1/5
Start 11.55 CET
Finish 17.22 CET
There are very few difficulties today. The roads are flat or gently rolling from start to finish. The terrain is quite exposed, so crosswinds could affect things. The most likely scenario is that an early breakaway will gain time and be held by the sprinters’ teams, then reeled in just before the finish. In other words, a classic sprint stage menu.
A north-westerly wind could make the stage more exciting. With the wind behind them, breakaways have an advantage. But the other big thing is, with faster average speeds in races now due to improved aerodynamics of bikes and kit, the Tour de France’s stage speed record may be under threat.
It was set back in 1999 by Mario Cipollini of Italy, when he won a 194.5km stage from Laval to Blois. It was a very similar stage to today, although it went south-easterly and this stage heads in a slightly more southern direction. Cipollini’s average speed was 50.355kph.
Stage two winner Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) goes into stage three in the overall race lead, and is likely to have little problem hanging onto his yellow jersey given his current form. Whether Sagan can take a second consecutive stage win is another matter, as the run-in more suits the likes of Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep).