Mark Cavendish has discovered the 2023 Tour de France powerful going to date, getting dropped by the peloton early in each of the opening hilly phases within the Basque Nation. Now, although, the quick males might properly get a shot at a bunch dash because the highway flattens considerably en route Amorebieta to Bayonne.
After two days within the north of Spain, the race will cross the border into France within the remaining 50km of this 184km journey alongside the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, the place riders will want to be cautious of any crosswinds that might break up the pack.
Cavendish is bidding to make historical past by successful a document thirty fifth Tour de France stage, which might outstrip the document at present shared by the Manxman and the nice Eddy Merckx.
There are three main obstacles for Cavendish to overcome. The primary is the inevitable breakaway on a stage like this one, which is able to want to be reeled in earlier than the end to arrange a bunch dash the place he can thrive. His Astana crew can strive and up the tempo on the entrance of the peloton however they may want help from the opposite dash groups, like Jasper Philipsen’s Alpecin–Deceuninck and Fabio Jakobsen’s QuickStep.
The second problem is getting to the end comfortably. Cavendish struggled on some class two and three climbs over the previous two days and his crew dutifully stayed again to assist him to the end. And whereas today is actually a lot flatter than the opening two, there’s nonetheless the sizeable class three Cote d’Orioko Benta (4.6km at 6.3%) within the center of the stage which Cavendish’s 38-year-old legs should scale in fast time to preserve tempo with the peloton or he dangers being left behind.
The third drawback for Cavendish is the sheer high quality of opposition right here, not least within the form of Wout van Aert, who was livid to miss out on the stage two victory by a mistake from his Jumbo-Visma crew in studying the finale, as they allowed solo attacker Victor Lafay too huge a bonus to overhaul. Van Aert can be determined to make amends right here, whereas Philipsen, Jakobsen, Dylan Groenewegen, Mads Pedersen and Caleb Ewan are all extremely tuned sprinters who understand how to win grand tour phases.
For reigning champion Jonas Vingegaard, his predominant rival Tadej Pogacar and the yellow jersey of Adam Yates, it’s a day to keep clear of any hassle and get out of the sprinters’ manner come the end.
Stage 3 route map and profile
The stage is about to start at round 12pm BST and is predicted to end at round 4.30pm BST.
The dash groups will certainly have an excessive amount of want to let a breakaway keep away right here. It ought to all come down to a bunch dash – I fancy Jasper Philipsen to pip Wout van Aert on the road.