• Rúben Silva

Gree - Tour of Guangxi Stage 3 Preview

The day was indeed controled but the finale had a big surprise to it. With Fernando Gaviria slighted out of the fight essentially by a blockage in the final sprint, from which Phil Bauhaus was relegated, lots of riders were harmed by it but not Dan McLay who sprinted from the other side of the road and seized the opportunity to the maximum. He took the win in front of Pascal Ackermann who is the new leader and again Matteo Trentin who took another 4 seconds out of the day.

Positive: Ackermann wasn't content on Bauhaus' move and failed the win once again, but he is indeed the new leader of the race which is a nice outcome. Jonas Koch confirming his sprinting prowess finishing 4th.

Negative: Bauhaus' relegation, Gaviria missing from the sprint as well as Moschetti judging by their standards.

The Route

The third stage will be a little different, in the overall it's not a very hard stage, but there are a lot of rolling roads and in each one of the laps, in a stage that is fully a circuit aswell, there will be a climb where the final 650 meters average over 10%, it should be the place where the puncheurs will make their moves as any second in this race is important, the final summit comes with just a mere 5.5Km to the finish and following there's a fast descent and a short run-up to the finish, the sprinters who can climb well may have a shot in the end but it's a

finale that's hard to control, and where bonifications will be heavily disputed.

The gradients get quite hard in there, the sprinters may be distanced but there is a chance that they can recover, the finale will be flat and if the catch is made they will still have the advantage.

The Weather

A warm but covered day, in a circuit there wouldn't much influence but either ways there will be no wind to affect the stage.

The Favourites

There's different scenarios that can happen tomorrow and so there's a big list of riders making the list as possible stage winners. So the reasonable thing will be to take it by possibilities.

The most believed scenario is that of a sprint. Despite the rough gradients in the climb, it is indeed not that long, the main bulk of riders will remain united for sure and there is some time to bring back escapees. Because only very strong riders will be able to get a considerable gap, the climb isn't that long so there may not be big gaps at the top. In that scenario perhaps come the most favourite riders, because some can at the same time climb quite well, Matteo Trentin the obvious name to consider but also Alex Edmonson as a proper name to be with him, as a leadout or to cover moves after the climb. There's Davide Ballerini and Ben Swift as strong names in the climbing territory who should be able to make their move in the final meters, Chris Lawless is to be considered too and after how I saw him riding in Yorkshire I believe in him too and Jonas Koch is a great name after a great performance today. As for Ackermann and Gaviria, in their best they're no slouches, but it'll depend on how hard the stage is overall, they can perhaps remain in the peloton but be suffocated to be there in the sprint.

As for the Puncheurs, there will be riders perhaps looking to make an accelaration in the bid of the GC, with so little ground to make differences in the race every opportunity must be taken. Enric Mas, Hugh Carthy, Diego Rosa, Davide Villella, Antwan Tolhoek, Lennard Kamna, Lilian Calmejane, Felix Grossschartner and Guillaume Martin are names that would benefit from a fast race all day long, they are more to the climber side, likely not explosive enough to benefit from tomorrow, but will be names to take into acount in the end as they should all be in good form to take the climbing terrain. As to those who have more of an explosive side, and maybe even a bit of a sprint to consider there are Alexandr Riabushenko of UAE, would expect Narvaez as another card for INEOS to play, Enrico Gasparotto if he has his best legs could be a name to consider, Timo Roosen, Jonathan Hivert and from Wanty the possibilities of Odd Christian Eiking and Loic Vliegen. Always to consider at the same time, there's Max Schachmann but I still haven't understood in what form he's currently in, could be a joker nonetheless.

And then, the more modern aproach to these types of finishes which are the after-climb attacks. With the overall speed rising every year with equipment and technological improvements, the possibility of drafting from motorbikes accidentally, they're factors that help solo riders or small groups to keep a gap that is generally obtained via sense of opportunity. Remi Cavagna is my favourite name from this list, a pure power rider he isn't strong enough to outclimb or sprint the competition, but if he finds a gap after the climb it's very hard to bring back a rider of his quality. The steep pitches in the climb and descent will stretch out the peloton and that first minute can be vital if riders escape before there's any organization. CCC have some interesting names like Cerny and Kradek who could pull something off, Sep Vanmarcke, Victor Campenaerts, Edoardo Affini, all these are names that will need to be marked after the climb by the sprinter teams but they will be very aware of it, eliminating that moment of surprise could bring it all back in for a sprint, but if the legs aren't there one of these riders can grab an elusive win and become a GC threat.

Prediction Time

Trentin, Riabushenko, Vanmarcke

Cavagna, Eiking, Schachmann, Koch, Ballerini

Lawless, Ackermann, Villella, Hivert, Affini, Campenaerts, Swift

And you've guessed it, my thoughts on tomorrow's stage is that Remi Cavagna will attack, solo, in the flat roads after the descent and manage to hold off a charging peloton for a win that will be the main step in his GC bid.

Make sure to let me in on your opinion, and of course follow me on twitter for the latest updates!