Tour de France Stage 3 Preview: Sky's the Limit in Battle vs. BMC

Sunday, July 8, 2018 5:14 PM UTC

Sunday, Jul. 8, 2018 5:14 PM UTC

This is the first real challenge for the GC men, a Team Time Trial over 35.5 kilometers of rolling terrain.

<p>A less dramatic day than yesterday’s opening stage for most of the day, but we still lost Luis Leon Sanchez to a crash and Adam Yates also went down, but got back in without much problems. It was looking like it would end in the expected sprint, but with 2 kilometers to go, a big crash on the tight right-hand bend brought down the yellow jersey, and favourite for the stage Gaviria, as well as Michael Matthews and several others.</p><p>A small group of only about 12 riders ended up fighting out the finish, and Peter Sagan proved the strongest once again, just holding off a lunging Sonny Colbrelli. In doing so, Sagan also took the Yellow Jersey, for one day, which will take us up to three yellow jersey wearers in 3 days and well on the way to over 5 wearers hopefully.</p><p> </p><h2>The Route</h2><p>It’s an out-and-back sort of loop around the rolling roads to the west of Cholet. It’s a tough course, with lots of twists and turns and rolling hills to get over. Not long after starting they have to climb a 700-meter section that averages 5%, but then it flattens out a little as they head out in to the countryside.</p><p>Some of the roads are small, but mostly wide, which should make for high speeds. With 16 kilometers done they climb a small hill again, 700 meters at 5% again, then on to the Cote de La Seguiniere (750 meters at 5% followed by 750 meters at 3%). There are a few bends and roundabouts to negotiate in the last 3 kilometers, but nothing too severe.</p><p><img alt="tour de france" src="" /></p><p> </p><h2>Contenders and Favourites</h2><p><a href="" title="Sports Betting Odds">There are just a few teams who will be going for victory here</a>, while the rest will be just trying their damn hardest to not lose a shed load of time for their team leaders to the other GC favourites. The crashes have had an impact on the TTT though, as the starting times are dependent on the GC order, and as a result some of the favourites will be starting very early in the order.</p><p>Also, the likes of Chris Froome, Richie Porte and Nairo Quintana will be going flat out to try to pull back the time they’ve lost in the opening stage.</p><p>From the stage victory point of view you have Team Sky with a superb team here and they look like they will take all the beating. Sky blitzed the TTT in the Criterium du Dauphine a few weeks back, beating BMC by 38” and Lotto Soudal by 53”.</p><p>They have some superb time trialists in their squad, including Froome, Geraint Thomas (British TT champ), Michal Kwiatkowski (Polish TT champ), Gianni Moscon (former Italian TT champ), Egan Bernal (Colombian TT champ) and Jonathan Castroviejo (Spanish TT champ). A formidable lineup, all with the goal of pulling Froome and Thomas well clear of their rivals.</p><p>BMC will be their biggest rivals for this as usual, led by Porte, they have a good lineup too with Stefan Kung (Swiss TT champ) and Tejay Van Garderen. They seem to have the knack for excelling in team time trials, they have a great TT bike and are always well drilled. But to me they might be just a notch below Sky in terms of quality.</p><p>Quick-Step Floors could go well too, as they have some very strong engines in their team, including Bob Jungels (Luxembourg TT champ). Three of this team were in the team beaten by over a minute by Sky in the Dauphine though when they finished 5th, and with four of the team in the Tour de Suisse they were 27” down on BMC over 18 kilometers.</p><p>Team Sunweb will also be involved by virtue of the fact that they are the current World Time Trial champions, and Tom Dumoulin is the World Time Trial Champion. Five of this team finished 2nd to BMC in the TDS, 20” down, with Dumoulin and Haga in the team too they are sure to come closer to BMC this time.</p><p>LottoNL Jumbo, Mitchelton-Scott and Bora Hansgrohe are three more teams packed pull of power and quality, LottoNL will be looking to go well for Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk’s chances, Mitchelton-Scott for Adam Yates. But I think if they keep the deficit to the winner under 30” they will be very pleased with themselves.</p><p>And quite frankly after that there isn’t much hope of finding a surprise at a big price, they simply aren’t good enough at a specialist discipline to come close to winning this.</p><p>So <a href="" title="Free Sports Picks">it looks like it’s going to be a two-way battle between Sky and BMC</a>, with maybe Sunweb and QSF fighting it out for the podium spots too, but I think the power and class of Sky will win it for them.</p><p> </p><h2>Selection:</h2><p>2 points win on Team Sky (<a href=";book=Bet365" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">Bet365</a>)</p>
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