Stage 3: Can Bol again play a significant role in a bunch sprint?

After a tough mountain stage it’s the sprinters’ turn again today. In this mostly flat stage the peloton will move from Nice to Sisteron.

Although this stage is considered to be mostly flat, the riders will have four categorised climbs. The first three cols are in the third category and the final climb of the day is in the fourth category. The final summit will be reached at more than 45 kilometers from the finish.

With the last corner two kilometers before the finish the red carpet has been rolled out for the fast men of the peloton. Can Cees Bol, after his third place in the first stage, also play a role now? The Dutch sprinter had a tough day on Sunday and crossed the finish line almost half an hour after winner Alaphilippe.

Watch a video in which Herman van der Zandt gives tips for a successful bunch sprint:

Sisteron has never been a finish in the Tour de France. However, the line was often drawn here for a stage from Paris-Nice. Although the last few kilometers are ideal for a bunch sprint, Jรฉrรดme Cousin proved in 2018 that it’s also possible to stay ahead of a hunting peloton in the streets of Sisteron.

End of hegemony Merckx

A Tour stage has already started in Nice. Only in this Tour the starting shot has already sounded twice in the southern French city.

One of the most famous stages that left Nice was the one to Pra Loup in 1975. There the Tourhegemony of Eddy Merckx came to an end. The Belgian seemed to be cycling on the climb to Pra Loup to his sixth Tour victory, but met himself hard and definitely lost the yellow jersey to Bernard Thรฉvenet.

Merckx was supreme in the previous years in the Tour de France. The Cannibal brought the yellow jersey to Paris in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974. In 1973 the Belgian did not take part. That year he rode the Tour of Spain and the Tour of Italy. Merckx hung his racing bike on the willows in 1978