The punchers had their day Sunday and Peter Sagan landed the win, but today should be another chance to make up for errors that cost them places and the win on stage 1.
Grandville to Angers - Monday 4th July, 222kms
Stage 3 looks like a second chance for the sprinters, with a stage that starts out rough and lumpy for the first 100kms, but flattens out for the last 120kms as they head south away from the coast. There's a Cat 4 climb inside the first 25kms and a nasty little pinch with 48kms gone at La Chapelle Urée. The rest of the course is pretty flat but the intermediate sprint with 52kms to go could mean that we see the break of the day reeled in in time for the sprinters to try to fight for points and the time bonus.
With 2kms to go the road dips down before a run uphill to the line for the last kilometre, at a gradient of around 2.5%. It's not steep enough to be called a puncheur's finish, but it will suit some sprinters more than others.
Contenders and Favourites
The break only has a really small chance of making it today, there will be too many of the sprinters teams looking to make up for the result on stage 1. Teams like Lotto-Soudal and Etixx Quickstep, Direct Energie and Katusha - all will be looking to make amends for blowing it on stage 1.
Marcel Kittel will be desperate to make up for Saturday, that was a disaster for EQS after they were looking so strong for so long, they suddenly just evaporated, with Richeze and Sabatini pushing in the wind too early and leaving Kittel to have to fend for himself far too early. But Kittel also screwed up, instead of trying to come across on to Sagan's wheel he instead just pushed on on his own up the middle of the road in the wind.
He was the +187 favourite with Paddy Power when their prices came out first, and it's one of those where you'll be kicking yourself tomorrow night if he wins, after he was just +120 for the opening stage. Surely EQS will do a better job than they did on Saturday. They have to come late and take control coming over the bridge and through that last right hander on the roundabout, if Richeze and Sabatini are near the front with him in tow, I think he wins. He is shorter now though at +150, but he should do the business tomorrow I think.
Mark Cavendish confounded the critics, with his performance on Saturday, he played it very smart though and outfoxed Sagan and Kittel with his late burst. But +400 now? I'm not interested in it though, he could be 1st, he could be 5th..
André Greipel had a nightmare for his backers on Saturday as he didn't even finish in the first 3, his lead-out going from hero's to zeros in the last kilometre, but more so that Greipel got lost again, as he can often do in a hectic sprint. Greg Henderson had done some huge power numbers in the last kilometre, all for nothing. Lotto-Soudal are sure to be desperate to right those wrongs though at the earliest opportunity, and I'd rather be on him at +400 or bigger to get it right at the second time of asking than Cavendish.
Peter Sagan is in the yellow jersey after a superb sprint saw him finally land his first stage victory since 2013.. With the form he's in, and the yellow jersey on his shoulders, he may just lift himself on to the podium again. There are few better than Sagan at a streetfight like this one with the uphill pull from the bridge and around the final right hand bend, the uphill finish suits him too. +600 each-way offered by the betting odds might be worth a small Sports Pick again.
Bryan Coquard was interviewed before today's stage and said that his condition is fantastic but he wasn't sure if he was going to be there at the death today, he was hoping, but didn't sound too confident. He should like this finish you'd think, the uphill finish might suit him more than the heavier guys, if he can tuck in behind Greipel or Sagan say he might get a good tow to the last 100m where it levels out a little bit.
Alexander Kristoff and John Degenkolb are going to click one of these days, but both finished way off the pace today. Edward Thuens, Christophe Laporte and Dan McLay made the top 10 on stage 1, they should be there or thereabouts again.
A tricky stage, as always though, but I think the break will be reeled in on time. The peloton left it very late today, causing panic for the last 10kms, I think they won't take as many chances tomorrow. I can see Kittel making up for Sunday, but I also think Sagan is in such good form he can't be ruled out of landing another podium spot.
Coquard to beat Kristoff - 2pts at +110 with Bet365