Tirreno Adriatico 2016 – Stage 3 Preview

By David Hunter

Castelnuovo Val di Cecina – Montalto di Castro 176km

tirreno 3a

With few opportunities for the quick men, they must seize every chance they get. Stage 3 is their first opportunity.

tirreno 3

The climbs might worry some of the sprinters, but the profile is a little misleading. The categorised climb is around 17km in length, but only has an average gradient of 3%. The uncategorised climb is around 8km at 4%. Neither climb should be causing a professional rider any difficulty. This is a sprint, a big one!

tirreno 3b

What the main profile doesn’t show the riders is the final 1km. It rises at 3.5%, but does have a 7% ramp and 350m at 4.4%. That will certainly slow some of the pure sprinters down, opening the door for the punchy sprinters.

tirreno 3c

The end of the stage is very straightforward. That is great to hear, as some finishes in other races have been very dangerous. A long straight road, with a lazy corner leading into the final kilometre. Plenty of time for sprint trains to get ready. Time to talk sprinters:-

Mark Cavendish – has had a good start to 2016. He has Sbaragli, EBH and Renshaw to help inside the closing kilometres. With all the other top sprinters in Paris-Nice, the pressure will be on Cav to deliver some wins.

Fernando Gaviria – the new kid on the block. Fresh from his success in the track world championships, the Colombian arrives with no pressure. He’s already won stages in Tour de San Luis, but he’ll want his first world tour success. He’s the rider that the peloton are talking about and will have a solid lead-out train. No Max Richeze, but he has Stybar and Trentin.

Caleb Ewan – the other young gun. Will be fascinating to see how he gels with Luca Mezgec. The uphill sprint is really good for the Aussie, being so small he glides up these small lumps.

Jens Debusschere – won a stage here in 2015 and will hope for a repeat performance. We don’t often see him winning big sprints, he’s more of a sprinter warrior! He has Jurgen Roelandts to help with positioning.

Leigh Howard – told me he was happy with his form and hungry for success. The move to IAM seems to have given him a new lease of life, it’s great to see. Will have a solid lead-out, with Kluge and Haussler.

Sacha Modolo – Lampre are still without a win in 2016. Still getting used to life without Richeze, Modolo has Mori and Ferrari. He loves an uphill kick and will back himself to take a big result here.

Giacomo Nizzolo – unlucky not to have won the GC in Dubai. Already has 5 podium visits in 2016 but lacks wins. Will have Jasper Stuyven as his last man, a good man to have with the uphill finish.

Elia Viviani – loves a finish like this, remember his win in the 2015 Giro? Sky are focused on the GC, the Italian will only have the help of Puccio. He doesn’t actually like a long sprint train, but he does need a bit more help. A lack of positional sense is not too bad in an uphill sprint, those that hit the front too early often fade.

Moreno Hofland – finished 2nd to Viviani, that day in the Giro. He is in good form and has a good train with Teunissen and Van Asbroeck. Hofland is certainly one to watch.

Peter Sagan – always in the mix. Tinkoff never get the praise they deserve for delivering Sagan into winning positions. They work of Blythe, Gatto and Bennati will be impressive as ever. Not sure Sagan has the legs yet to win a sprint this big.

Sam Bennett – forming a good partnership with Selig, but Archbold and Dempster aren’t here. Bora come here with a clear focus on the GC, Bennett will have a reduced train, but if he has form he’ll still do well.

The list does go on:- Turgot, Colbrelli, GVA, Ponzi, Arndt and Waeytens.

We really do have a long list of potential winners. Let me narrow it down. I see it as a battle between Cavendish, Gaviria, Modolo, Viviani and Hofland.

Prediction Time

It’s a risky pick, as he has just been on the track, but I love Fernando Gaviria. The Colombian will win his first world tour stage.

David Hunter

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