Vuelta Stage 3 Preview

Two flat stages means the Vuelta has to visit a mountain range and today’s stage includes four categorised climbs on the way to a tricky uphill finish.

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The Moment the Race Was Won: The Giro

Nairo Quintana leads on the stage to Val Martello. He’d gone clear on the descent of the Passo dello Stelvio launching a post-race controversy – one of many to mark the race – but it was on the climb to the finish that he built his lead.

This was a race with plenty of action with no team was able to control the race either in the plains or the high mountains. Here’s a look back at events and some thoughts on the race.

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The Giro’s Sprinters

Quintana, Rodriguez, Evans, Uran et al are the talk of town in Belfast and rightly so since the Giro has 38,000 vertical metres of climbing. All the mountains are backloaded into the race and the overall contenders and pretenders will merely hope to finish first week feel fresh and without losing any time. In short they’re sleeper agents until Stage 8.

The first week is all about the sprinters with a series of flat finishes and the time bonuses to allow them to take the race lead.

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The Spin: Paris-Tours

Labelled “the sprinters’ classic”, this Sunday’s race might have a flat route and a long finishing straight but in fact most of the winners since 2000 have come from breakaways and attacks. Since the majority of bike races end in a bunch sprint, it means the race is far from the foregone conclusion its title suggests and it can offer an action-packed final half-hour.

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Wednesday shorts (boxers)

Nacer Bouhanni won the opening stage of the Etoile de Bessèges in southern France. The FDJ-BigMat rider is a sprinter and this time last year I wrote about his impressively low position on the bike (being short helps too). Now in his second year as a pro it’ll be interesting to see how he does, … Read more