We preview the third stage of the Tour De France to see if any betting value shows itself today. Preview today's course before locking in your Tour de France picks today.
We're only three stages in, but this could be a pivotal stage for the GC for two reasons. Firstly, because the narrow roads and street furniture on the roads of Belgium are going to be dangerous, just ask Dan Martin or Philippe Gilbert who both crashed out of the Fleche-Wallone this year.
Secondly, the Mur de Huy at the end of the stage is going to be so hectic - there will be 100 guys trying to be in the first 20 as they charge towards the base of the climb and someone is going to have to miss out and will find themselves getting shuffled back. The likes of Quintana and Froome will have to be on their toes, they are not the most physical in the bunch and could be bullied out of it.
The route is pretty non-descript for 100kms as they head south-east away from Anvers and through the Brabant Flamand Province before they arrive in to the Namur Province and the Liege Province. As they do so the stage starts to get a little but more lumpy and more interesting. First up they face the first climb of the Tour so far with the 4th Cat Côte de Bohissau, a 2.5km 4th Cat climb at 5.5%.
It's a little up and down for the next 35kms or so where they pass the intermediate sprint at the 128km mark and then head down to the foot of the next categorised hill, the Côte d'Ereffe, another Cat 4 climb of 2.1kms at 5%, then on to the Côte de Cherave, a much steeper little hill that averages 8.1% over 1.3kms. As there are only 5.5kms left to go once over the top of the Cherave we are sure to see a number of attacks in an attempt to get a head start ahead of the Mur de Huy. There are 3 kilometres on the flat between Ahin and Huy before the mass charge in to the bottom of the climb.
The final climb is famous and well known to anyone who has watched Fleche-Wallone. 1.3km long at an average of 9.6%, but the first 300m or so only average 5% as they approach the climb on the wider roads. Then suddenly the road compacts down to only about the width of 5 or 6 riders abreast and starts to kick up with 800m left, rising at 13% average for the next 500m, hitting a max of 19% as they start to weave through the twisty part. Then as it straightens out a little towards the top and they head in to the last 300m or so it eases back a little to 10.3% average, but keeps going all the way to the line.