Giro Stage 3 Preview

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Giro Stage 3
The third and final stage of the Rás d’Italia heads to Dublin. More exposed roads, more rain and more sprinting awaits. As well as changing country the difference today is the weather with a crosswind to be exploited.

Stage 2 Wrap
A predictable win but not in the predictable manner. Marcel Kittel won but we’d imagined a textbook leadout from Giant-Shimano. Instead Kittel seemed too far back with 500 metres to go. But if he lost his lead out, he kept his cool and came through the final corner and started a long sprint to win with such ease that he had to sit up and celebrate. He’s now won stages in all three grand tours.

The rest of the stage saw the usual breakaway but it never got enough advantage for the four to believe in the win. As consolation Maarten Tjallingi was rewarded with the mountains jersey. Michael Matthews is the new race leader and he could hold the jersey for several days.

The Route: from Northern Ireland south to Dublin. The stage starts in the Shambles Market Square and the hills come early with Markethill at 32km and Fews Forest at 51km. If the same rider wins maximum points on each climb he will tie on points with Tjallingi. In case of a tie on points and the number of KoMs won then the rider with the better time on GC is the winner.

After the routes get flatter and follows much of the coastline south to the Irish capital. The roads are wide but again exposed and this time – see below – the wind will blow.

The Finish: flat but difficult. There are several right handers on the approach the finish. Look at the map above and after the race crosses the Liffey river they take the City Quay road before a right hand turn, the bend sweeps but it’s pinchpoint into the corner. Under the railway bridge and then a tricky chicane style left then right. The road kicks up to the line but the gradient should barely register.

The Scenario: another bunch sprint is on the cards. Orica-Greenedge have a jersey to defend and Giant-Shimano want a sprint and several other teams will fancy their chances. Expect an early breakaway. But the crosswinds? Kittel was caught out in the Tour de France on Stage 13.

The Contenders: who’d bet against Marcel Kittel? He won with ease yesterday but each sprint’s different. Nacer Bouhanni could find the tight finish to his advantage and as the photo shows, he behind Kittel yesterday but ahead of all the rest. Giacomo Nizzolo was third yesterday under his own steam while Elia Viviani was fourth. It’s still too early in the race to get Bayesian on the fastmen beyond confirming Kittel as the obvious pick.

Weather: cold and wet like yesterday but the thermometer will be a couple of degrees colder and the rain more showery… but the wind will be twice as strong. There will be a crosswind blowing from the west at 30km/h. This is enough to split the field. Will anyone try? Many teams would be foolish to give up the opportunity to eliminate some rivals.

TV: the race is on a variety of TV channels according to where you are in the world. Eurosport is covering the race across most of Europe. beIN SPORT has the rights in the US and France. I still haven’t seen the promised Gazzetta free stream but leave a comment below if you have to share with others. There’s cyclingfans.com and steephill.tv for TV schedules and pirate feeds and more.

Note the finish is expected for 4.10pm local time / 5.10pm Euro time. Tune in early for the scenery but the action should be condensed into the last 30 minutes.

Jason May 11, 2014 at 7:08 am

The weather looked awful yesterday on TV, is there any forecasts for the mountain passes in Italy? I suppose the first stages in the South of Italy will be quite hot…

TJ May 11, 2014 at 8:44 am

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Stelvio webcam and they’ve cleared down to the road surface in the past week. Its been relatively warm but I don’t know the long range forecast.

The Inner Ring May 11, 2014 at 9:56 am

There’s plenty of time for it all to melt. The ski season has just finished. What the race will worry about isn’t the snow there now but a cold front of weather and fresh snow in the days before the race reaches the Alps.

Anonymous May 11, 2014 at 9:34 am

Wish we had some data from the sprint stages, even if only for replays/retrospectives. I imagine teams wouldn’t be keen, but maybe it’s possible to measure speeds at various points for some riders. It’s clear Kittel is just plain faster, but it would be nice just to see when riders hit top speed to appreciate how quickly they accelerate and how long they can sustain their peak power.

Mark D-O May 11, 2014 at 9:40 am

I’m a student in Trinity College Dublin (which is right next to the final km( and I know the last 1km very well.

That last chicane is going to be critical in determining the winner. The road leading up to it is two lanes wide, but at the chicane it suddenly narrows to one lane, a real squeeze point.

There’s also a lot of gravel there, which I hope the organisers will sweep away before the peloton arrives.

daniel May 11, 2014 at 11:27 am

No live Giro in Eurosport Germany. That’s sad.

Huub5935 May 11, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I saw Michael Matthews being interviewed at the start in all his pink finery. Why doesn’t anyone tell these riders that when being interviewed they should take their sunglasses of, they will look more sympathetic.
By the way Jan Jansen used to be pitied because he needed corrective eyeglasses even riding in the rain, now everybody wears glasses ;-)

The Inner Ring May 11, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Why? Because he’s paid to wear the glasses ;-)

Augie March May 12, 2014 at 11:38 am

It was amusing watching Marcel Kittel carefully adjust his sunglasses on his cap before getting onstage in the Irish drizzle after winning his stages. Despite the absurdity of wearing shades in such a climate the sponsors want their money’s worth, and I imagine Marcel Kittel constitutes valuable real estate these days.

Tovarishch May 12, 2014 at 10:32 am

Also not to chew gum, which he was doing in the pre-race interview. He actually tried to resist chewing but not very successfully!

tom May 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Why so difficult to find the time bonuses on offer on the website?
Surely its not a secret.
I am still wondering how Matthews took pink, does 8th place really get a time bonus??

Or did he get an intermediate sprint somewhere yesterday?

The Inner Ring May 11, 2014 at 3:37 pm

The bunch split in the finishing straight whic created the time gap for Maathews.

More info on time bonuses at inrng.com/giro

Lee Woodhead May 11, 2014 at 7:59 pm

I’m not sure how much economic benefit Ireland will gain from the Giro with the weather being so bloody awful. If I was looking to book my european holiday I would have crossed Ireland off the list. A shame as it is a great country.

Mark D-O May 11, 2014 at 9:32 pm

The worst part is we had just gone through 2 weeks of absolutely beautiful riding conditions! Typical…

JohnS May 12, 2014 at 9:24 am

On that basis, if you’d watched Milan-San Remo, the Giro d’Italia, and the World Championships last year, you’d definitely have to cross Italy off your list.

But yes, it’s a great shame the weather didn’t play ball. The Antrim coast road is one of my favourites.

Jerome May 12, 2014 at 12:23 am

How many riders active/ retired have the above mentioned stages in all 3 grand tours? im assuming many sprinters and a few climbers, cav contador Rodriguez nibali and gerrans come to mind but who else?

Panda May 12, 2014 at 3:21 am
Panda May 12, 2014 at 3:26 am

Just to add Contador was on the list but lost his 2011 Giro wins. He won the 2008 Giro without winning a stage.

Johnny May 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Who has been sprinting for the minor intermediate sprint points? (Where can you see these results?) Are the Sky duo of Swift & EBH interested in the points jersey, or just stage wins?

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