Giro d’Italia Stage 3 Preview

A stage for the sprinters including a dragstrip finish along the shores of Lake Balaton.

Pest > Buda: well Simon Yates hasn’t come to Hungary to sip the tokaji and taste some goulash. Italians Eduoardo Affini and Matteo Sobrero were among those to enjoy a spell at the top of the leader board. Tom Dumoulin was the first to go under 12 minutes but never got to sit in the hotseat because Yates was even quicker at the intermediate check and then put five seconds into Dumoulin by the finish. It meant he was two, three or four seconds faster per kilometre than all his rivals. We’ll see what he does on Etna next, stomp on the pedals or hold back? Among the GC riders there were no collapses, but Miguel Angel Lopez was 42 seconds down, Guillaume Martin at 45 seconds and Emanuel Buchmann 57 seconds but he had a crash so must be in form if he could keep his losses to less than a minute to Yates.

The Route: 201km starting in Kaposvar, home to the Kometa pork-processing company that’s a co-sponsor of the Eolo-Kometa team. The late climb before Tihany not going to trouble any sprinters, a couple of clicks on the shift lever and it’s done.

The Finish: a dragstrip finish, as flat as a Gundel and on a wide road with no bends. Normally there’s a roundabout to clear with 1km to go, we’ll see if it’s still there.

The Contenders: Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) is the obvious pick, a chance to correct that crash. We know he’s one of the world’s best sprinters but he’s not had a solid season so far but the fact he crashed so close to the line and the win suggests the form’s there. He’ll still be sore and may not be sleeping as well, plus the worry that he’s prone to “all or nothing” so he’s getting three chainrings today but only just. His team have a useful lead out train but there’s no Jasper de Buyst.

Mark Cavendish (Quick-Step) does have his leadout in Michael Mørkøv and while the team looks like they’ll be hunting for wins from the breakaways too, the sprint’s surely their best chance.

Arnaud Démare is the only big name sprinter still searching for a win this season after Sam Bennett delivered a home win for his Bora-hansgrohe team in Frankfurt. Démare’s had problems losing his train over the past two seasons but the straight finale should help here, if anything his train is so big and bulky they don’t tend to finesse things and rivals can hop aboard too.

Biniam Girmay (Intermarché) has been contesting bunch sprints but he’d surely like a tougher course and a more selective finish, he can place for points but a dragstip bunch sprint isn’t his finish.

Fernando Gaviria (UAE) still on a comeback of sorts but is close to a big win. Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain) can pop up for a win. DSM have two riders in Cees Bol and Alberto Dainese where Bol could be a formidable leadout but he’s also more proven for a high level finish.

Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel) isn’t a superstar sprinter but Mastiff of Brianza’s had a Giro win in his career and could be close. Given the form he’s in and that he’s said aloud he wants to finish the race, you’d think Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) should be in the mix for the win but the team have brought Jakub Mareczko who is fast in a flat finish (and not on a hilly day) so do both sprint?

Ewan, Cavendish
Bauhaus, Gaviria, MvdP, Démare
Nizzolo, Bol, Mareczko

Weather: mainly cloudy and 22 °C

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.15pm CEST. Tune in to see the images of Lake Balaton and watch the sprint trains rumble like rush hour into Howrah.

Stage 3b: a flight for the riders to Catania in Sicily, for some team staff there’s a 1,900km road trip via Slovenia and down the Italian peninsular to the Messina strait and beyond.

37 thoughts on “Giro d’Italia Stage 3 Preview”

  1. Yates said to the UK’s Guardian, ““I’ve learned patience,” he said. “You need to be quite calm.” Ho hum! He’s got a target on his back now – good to see Dumoulin & Nibali do well. Bardet as well. Carapaz seemed to struggle but it’s early still. Hope the rain stays away and no major pile up on the rush to the line.

  2. A few much needed points for BEX plus a strong ride by Sobrero and a good one by Hamilton. Should give their morale a boost.

  3. Crikey that’s a long transfer for the team personnel. It’s like those genius calendar schedules in F1 where they have back to back races in places like Istanbul and Montreal.

    • I saw were some of the less important team hangers on at BEX don’t get on the proper flight and they have to drive back to a major airport to leave the team car for somebody else to fly in and pick it up.

      Humourous i guess but these people were in the “Covid Bubble” so i guess they keep there bubble after all these public flights.
      I would be willing if i was team manager to cut them from the team because they don’t won’t a repeat of 2 years ago when Simon was probably favourite.

    • I was thinking about this the other day. Will they drive their bus and lorries all that way, or will they already have sent other ones to Sicily? (Appreciate not all Pro teams have multiple buses etc, but the WT ones do). A lot of the Giro teams are also riding the Tour of Hungary in a few days, so could just use the ones they ‘leave’ for that.

      • Imagine a mix, most teams have vehicles capable of covering two races in full. But some are also doing Dunkerque so their second bus could be in Northern France rather waiting than Sicily. It’s one of those scenarios where the richer teams get an advantage.

  4. Is MvDP going all the way and chasing a points jersey. If not i would have him sit this out and run the team for the sprinter instead. Is it worth the risk when he is probably not likely to prevail in a flat finish against totally commited teams and sprinters with the tdf a bigger goal.

    • I could see MvdP going for the win or at least a top-3 finish for the possible bonus seconds that might keep him in pink a little longer, though if he builds up a sufficiently large lead in the points jersey it could become a target, too. But I agree with your implied point – the Cyclamen jersey doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal for him, since it involves going after lots of intermediate sprints and chasing high finishes in races you’re not going to win, which isn’t ideal for the TdF. And wouldn’t rank near his top accomplishments. That said, he seems to have a mercurial appetite, and he may fancy the possibility of snagging the points jerseys in both the Giro and the TdF (which would be a pretty impressive accomplishment).

      • Yes it’ll be interesting to see if he does stay or bale out, perhaps with the sprinters?
        He’s bound to be at TdF, no?

        • Per PCS he’s currently slated for the Tour, and I imagine after last years drama it’ll be a highlight. I’m virtually certain he’s even mentioned taking a tilt at the green jersey at the TdF, since he won’t be thinking about the Olympics after the Tour this year.

        • I thought he’d said pretty firmly he was going to the Giro with the intention of finishing. A points race with him and Girmay would be fun to watch…just 7 points apart after today’s finish wit Girmay in 4th.

      • ‘Mercurial Appetite’ – oof.
        Only because I lived most of my life around a very heavily populated urban area and very heavily mercury-contaminated watersheds…

  5. Probably wise not to put too much weight on what was, in effect, a prologue. However it was odd that Richard Carapaz lost time against his rivals on the uphill section and came in 4th on the Ineos team. Not sure Big “Tom” is quite back, we can hope. Sean Kelly showed that he might still know a thing or two about bike racing by tipping Simon Yates for the win.

    Hopefully Caleb Ewan can stay upright today (good picture!) but fingers crossed for Cav.

  6. It’s maybe easy to say with hindsight, but Yates has always been technically strong so a course with tight technical corners and multiple relances where keeping speed on the limit – but not over – was important would suit. It would be fascinating to compare rider’s spot speeds in a tight corner. We have seen the same skills from Yates on daredevil descents in the past. He just needs to hide and be forgotten for a few days now.

  7. Van der Poel said to Wielerflits he’ll help with Marecko’s leadout. Also: if it is not for this stage, why bring Marecko anyway?

  8. After 2 tough days to get and keep pink, I think MVDPs aim for today will be to retain the Pink jersey and not sprint. So it falls in nicely to be part of the lead out for his team mate sprinter.

  9. These two road stages in Hungary have been mind bendingly boring. It’s almost like the riders are protesting! Looking forward to the race getting to Italy and some stages that are actually raced.

    • Your fault for watching 😉

      The racing’s been worth watching for the finish on Stage 1 and 3 but watch more than 20 minutes and you’re watching the landscape and crowds more than any race action.

      • That’s part of the attraction in our household. I watch for the racing but my wife watches for the scenery, historical narrative and food/wine diversions the commentators get into on these long stages. Gets quite upset when they spoil a good cathedral shot with race results. ;o)

        99% Invisible did a piece on the limited distribution handbook that’s given to commentators on the Tour de France route for just those type of stages. I’ll see if I can dig it up if anyone wants to check it out.

    • Cav for the Tour!!

      Seriously, though, is there anyone who doesn’t want to see it? Lefevre is leaving a huge amount of sponsor exposure behind (especially with the Netflix series) if he doesn’t bring him.

      • Im pretty sure Cav will be going to the Tour. Probably Jakobsen too. I’m also pretty sure that was the intention all along. Lefevre is just creating a bit of extra drama and exposure where otherwise there wouldn’t be any reason to talk about his team. There will be a massive amount of publicity around Cav getting the record if he goes. And on the basis of that stage yesterday he’d get it, and more. Why, when you’re as sponsor sensitive as Lefevre, would you not want that?

Comments are closed.