A summit finish. Sunday’s stage had a hilly finish, today is mountainous and we should get more of a selection above Alfacar.
Stage 3 Review: Elia Viviani won.
The Route: the best part of 50km along the coast past frolicking beach-goers before flicking inland for the Alto de la Cabra Montès, literally “mountain goat” climb. It’s not that bad but still almost 16km long at 5.9% and the average is lower thanks to a brief descent early on meaning once that’s done it’s an Alpine 6-8% for the remaining 10km to the top and so a big interest for the mountains competition, currently lead by local rider Luis Angel Maté of Cofidis. After the feedzone there’s an unmarked climb of 6km including 6% for the final kilometre.
The Finish: the Puerto de Alfacar is an average of 12km at 5.4% and the Spanish media relayed stories of 20% ramps but the final route is not that steep. It is hard with 7km to go as they climb out of the town of Alfacar with a 12-14% section before leaving town and a more steady ascent of 6% before easing to 3% for the finish.
The Contenders: another Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Michał Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) duel? The most likely scenario but the final climb is long and selective and it’ll be more every rider for themselves than Sky and Movistar ejecting everyone, so a late attack could pay off. But who? This is a summit finish but it’s not a mountain stage, the peloton won’t be ragged by the time they reach the final climb so pure climbers like Fabio Aru or Nairo Quintana will find it hard to dance away. George Bennett (Lotto-Jumbo), Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) pack a punch for the flatter finish but they’ll have to slip away to win the stage.
|Alejandro Valverde, Michał Kwiatkowski|
|Bennett, Pinot, Kelderman|
Weather: hot, sunny and a few clouds around. 35°C even at altitude.
Tune in: the finish is forecast for 5.40pm CEST.