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Preview: 2013 Tour de France — Stage 3

Ajaccio to Calvi (145.5km)

Monday, July 1 6:35 A.M. EDT – 10:08 A.M. EDT
Live Coverage sponsored by Clif Bar

A stage for a break (on paper)

On paper, this is a good stage for a breakaway to make it. Four climbs in only 145.5km usually don’t end in a bunch sprint.

But this early in the Tour, the teams are still very strong. Cannondale, Omega Pharma-Quick Step and Orica-GreenEdge all have good candidates for the stage win and they will be eager to keep the peloton together.

After missing out two days in a row, Peter Sagan won’t let it happen again on stage 3. He knows riders like Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma) and Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) will have trouble hanging on to the peloton and he needs to take advantage of that. Sagan may not end up in yellow, but his green-jersey campaign can’t afford another misfire on Corsica.

Without Tony Martin at 100 percent for the team time trial and Cavendish without a chance for yellow, Omega Pharma needs to change its focus.
Youngster Michal Kwiatkowski has the white jersey of the best young rider; with Sylvain Chavanel, this gives the Belgian team two strong candidates for the stage win.

The final climb of the stage, Col de Marsolino, is only 3.3km long but has an average gradient of 8.3 percent. It gets steep towards the top, and on narrow roads, it’s important to stay in front. The beginning of the descent is a little bit technical but the final 9km are more or less straight out. A head wind is expected and therefore it won’t be easy for a lone rider to make it all the way to the finish.

Orica tried to set up Daryl Impey on stage 2 and take the yellow jersey, but fell short. Impey is now fourth overall while teammate Simon Gerrans moved up to sixth. The former Australian champion is very fast in a reduced group and he has been very effective this season. In Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta al Pais Vasco, Gerrans won on the two days when he was given the chance. With Impey and Michael Albasini to lead him out, Gerrans is definitely one of the favorites for the stage win in Calvi.— Mikkel Condé

Follow Mikkel Condé on Twitter at @mrconde, and visit C-Cycling to read more about stage 3 and see outsiders for the win >>