The longest stage in the race and the day for breakaway chancers to go on a raid. For a change today’s finish is later than the previous stages.
Stage 3 Wrap: a win for BMC Racing just ahead of Astana and Movistar and interesting to see neo-pro Dylan Teuns as one of the five riders to cross the line together. It was a good course, few technical points but up and down and the varying gradients of the Beaujolais enough to tease apart many teams and you had to go to Bora-Argon 18 in 11th place on the stage to find a team finishing with more than the minimum of five riders.
The surprise was Team Sky’s sixth place. Ian Stannard blew up and Luke Rowe had a mechanical leaving the team without two precious riders and they paid the price. Overall it puts Rohan Dennis in the yellow jersey but keeps everyone else in a close group, the GC spreads apart but by seconds rather than minutes. Tinkoff-Saxo unveiled new camouflage kit for the Tour de France but finished 19th proving you don’t need stealth clothing to go unnoticed.
The Route: 228km, the longest stage of the race. So long yet so short to describe because there’s little of note along the way. The Col de Lescou is 3.9km at 4.9% and climbs fast. Look the profile and you’ll see the day is all about gradual climbs. All until the Côte de la Marquise which is 1.3km at 6.7% with 12km to go, a scenic climb up above the finish. Just two days ago Cofidis management were saying Bouhanni is fine in short climbs but if he gets over no problem will his be able to control things? A tricky descent follows with several tight bends.
The Finish: flat and fast.
The Contenders: a sprint? The hilly finish is fine for Nacer Bouhanni, his problem is the 200 kilometres before. Cofidis will struggle to chase all day. BMC Racing may help early on to defend the yellow and blue jersey but they won’t want to be too tired ahead of the Alps. Giant-Alpecin might help to Luka Mezgec. This changes the usual dynamic of chancers going clear only to be crushed by the sprint trains, now everyone will want to go clear, a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So who will pack the breakaway? Let’s start with the desperate who include many French riders fighting for a ride in the Tour de France, the old-school “shine in June” practice still seems to work – one rider said just this yesterday – even if it the “turn stale by July” counterpart is ignored; for added desperation factor in Europcar who still have no news on a replacement sponsor. Otherwise think of the breakaway specialists, think Simon Gerrans, Thomas Voeckler, Tony Martin, Nicolas Edet, Tony Gallopin or Ramūnas Navardauskas for some examples.
|Nacer Bouhanni, Edvald Boasson Hagen|
|Navardauskas, Martin, Dumoulin, Benoot|
Weather: hot with temperatures of 32°C and a light crosswind for much of the day
TV: the finish is forecast for 5.10pm Euro time. It’s an ASO race so you should find it on the same channel as you watch the Tour de France. It’s on Eurosport too and if all else fails you can rely on Cyclingfans and steephill.tv for links to feeds and streams.
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Going back to the earlier part of the season, when Sky had riders semi attacking off the front in the final couple of K’s in to no avail. Thinking of Andalusia, where none of the other teams bothered to much to chase them down. Would a day like today and a race like this be a good one to not just try some thing different but actually race with, not so much unorthodox tactics but with the conviction to do something differently? Like, if today suited say Pete K. work hard and i do mind frickin hard to get him into the break, helps take the pressure off of the the team leader, but does give the GC teams something else to chew on. I know its all along time ago. But when they only had Froome last year and everyone was grizzling about Bradley not being there. I was thinking if Pete K. really was the future there was agood opportunity to give the young a fella chance to take a massive step up. I know his trajectory to getting back his fitness was questionable, but …. I think there is a typo with ‘team’ missing in the bit talking about Bouhanni’s management saying he could get to the finish, but could the team finish it of. Sorry to bang on about Pete K. but he is a good example and reason why the Yates boys made the right decision, at this stage of their career to not go to Team Sky.
Regarding the Yates brothers: why is it a good decision to go to a team which doesn’t care about the GC? Is Peter Kennaugh really any worse off now than they will be in 2 or 3 years? I can’t think of any GC team that would be making him their main GC guy. In the meantime, he has the chance to ride in a possible TdF winning team. I fail to see how that is a bad outcome.
Orica-Greenedge do care about GC and are trying to help the Yates brothers become their leaders for this. Adam Yates said himself that “If I went to Sky then I’d end up working on the front like a slave” knowing he’d be toiling for Froome etc.
Different paths work differently for different riders but becoming a luxury domestique is usually the settled niche of older riders who abandon personal ambitions, see Roche or Basso, rather than neo-pros.
Different strokes for different folks and all that.
The Yates twins made 100% the right decision to go with OGE (worth pointing out that Adam’s sole other WT contract offer came from FDJ), and the season and a half since turning pro have borne that out over and over again.
Will Kennaugh sign a new contract with Sky? I’d suggest it all hinges on whether he makes the Tour team – which I think he will. If not, he has offer(s) from other teams. Personally I’d like to see him move, but ultimately…
Does Kennaugh (of whom I’m a big fan) deserve first dibs of a shot vs Thomas? Not really. He’s one step below him in the pecking order. Which is why you see Thomas leading/possibly co-leading with Henao, the Sky TdS squad, and getting more chances to lead the team at bigger 1 week races.
Orica care about the GC in the big Tours? I guess you must not have watched the Giro then where it was the same old “have a go for the first week to get the jersey and then forget it” routine.
That’s because they’re using the riders they’ve got, with a backbone of team pursuiters for the TTT and then Michael Matthews for the sprints. Worked out well for them.
“Tinkoff-Saxo … don’t need stealth clothing to go unnoticed.” Brilliant! Event though, in my opinion, they would do well to tone down the garish Tinkoff yellow even more. And poor Sagan, trying to match these colours with his Slovakian champion’s jersey.
In another stealthy move, Tiesj (?) Benoot, quietly grabbed one ring in the predictions. Is this based on sprinting og breakaway skills or both? I seem to remember he was top 5 in one of the previous sprint stages of Dauphine this year.
Benoot’s been visible this race and finishes fast so we’ll see. But a lottery today to get in the breakaway.
Seems like a good pick though, he looked very strong in Belgium!
I see what you did there…. Lottery/Lotto
That Saxo kit is hideous IMO… they could have done much better than that, but they’re developing a history awful kits since they stopped being CSC-Saxo… That darker blue abomination with the “Eagle of Hernig” coming out of the crotch….
Brilliant – camouflage and Slovakian Champion’s Jersey. Hahahaha.
“… proving you don’t need stealth clothing to go unnoticed.”
Your reports are such a joy to read, as opposed to others that always seem to be cut from the same templates.
+1 There’s too little these days (at least in English) when it comes to well-written cycling journalism. I’m reminded of the old saying, “this isn’t writing, it’s just typing” way too often, which is NOT the case here. Sometimes the reviews of the race are more interesting than the race itself!
Could not agree more.
Informative, insightful, and entertaining.
Is this the squad Contador will use in the Tour or will he use his squad from the Giro or a mixture of both?
Only Kiserlovski might ride the Tour. Contador will have riders like Jesus Hernandez, Daniele Bennati and Rafał Majka who aren’t in the Dauphiné and didn’t ride the Tour.
Sky’s TTT seems very up and down. Occasionally a win but often they lose half a minute. With the track experience a number of their riders (and management) have I would expect better. Orica are similar and are a genuine threat at the discipline in the big races. You can see that traditionally poorer teams like Astana and Movistar have paid it attention putting Sky to shame.
I would never bet on Sky winning a TTT if I wanted a sure thing, you just never know what you’re going to get. Its not really to do with the track experience – or the budget of the team, for that matter. Look at how Garmin used to dominate TTTing. Its more to do with the engines and how they gel and the discipline they show. And sometimes a bit of luck to avoid mechanicals.
Now the Geolocation Telemetry dodah would surely be most useful, for viewers and SD’s, in the TTT would it not ?
You’re looking for symmetry and a direct comparison to previous teams.
Or would that just be downright cheating, haha ?
bmc seem to have it taped currently… and without Phinney too – what is the latest on him anyone?
No change. He remains over-rated……
ha! – but seriously, his hair is still ok tho?
Priceless. Thanks GTGTGT and noel, worthy commentors on this fine blog.
Hah! Well played, Sir!
He’s posted a few rides on strava lately, last one was titled “Feeling like my old self again” so sounds promising.
Phinney has been posted more long rides on Strava lately. There’s nothing official but I believe he’ll be ok for 2nd part of this year.
Given TP’s bloodline it would be sad for US cycling if he did not return and be a bit of a force.