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The Tour de France 2021 remains in Brittany for the third stage, with a 183 km drive from Lorient to Pontivy that should end with the first mass sprint of the 2021 Tour. The day begins with a drive south along the coast and then heads inland, where the narrow, winding roads (and street furniture) we got used to on the first two stages return. There are only two Category 4 climbs (the Côte de Cadoudal and the Côte de Pluméliau), but the last two-thirds of the stage are filled with ramps and rollers that could make the third stage just as dazzling as the previous two.But the day was to end differently, expected with a field sprint in Pontivy. The finish is not for the faint of heart: the race goes down to Pontivy, then two hard right turns, while the race goes over a bridge about 2.5 km from the finish; an even tighter left curve follows approx. 1,000 m later. From there it’s a long, straight train to the finish line, apart from a roundabout about 700m away.
The run-in will be nervous as the teams want to be in the lead when the race bombs to Pontivy – in front of those tricky turns. Sprinter teams need to time their lead-outs just right; You should see the finish line early, which could cause some to start their sprints too early. Teams with GC candidates will also be there, hoping to keep their captains at the top and avoid endangering them.
Unfortunately, the weather forecast is not looking good as showers are forecast for the whole day. This could result in a slower stage as the teams ride carefully to avoid further falls. Perhaps the runaway will get an even longer leash – at least until the sprinters’ teams try to take advantage of one of the few opportunities they have on this year’s tour.
And if it rains hard enough, we wouldn’t be surprised if The commissioners decide to record the overall times before the race leaves for Pontivy so that the sprinters can do their thing while the Tour overall standings can breathe a sigh of relief.
Provided he doesn’t stay in trouble, Mathieu van der should Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) have no problems keeping the yellow jersey. And if it should break again on the wet entrance to the finish, the Dutchman could even extend his lead.
This should be a day for the field sprinters of the tour, men like the Australian Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), who French Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ), the Slovak Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe), the Belgian Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Fenix) and our sentimental favorite, the British Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step).
You can be late for this, as the main action should go under in the last 10 km. The weather could make it a slow stage, so check in around 11:00 a.m. EDT to see how the riders are progressing, and don’t be surprised if the stage ends closer to noon.
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