Sprinters set for dash to London in Tour de France's 3rd leg
By Barnaby Chesterman ,AFP
July 8, 2014, 12:08 am TWN
SHEFFIELD, United Kingdom -- Sprinters Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel will be relishing Monday's third stage of the Tour de France, which is expected to finish in a bunch dash to the line by Buckingham Palace.
Following Sunday's grueling 201-kilometer, five-hour hilly stage from York to Sheffield, Monday's run is going to seem like a breeze.
The almost entirely flat stage from Cambridge to London is much shorter at just 155 kilometers and is almost certain to end in a bunch sprint.
But that means the sprinters' teams will likely maintain a high pace throughout and ensure no breakaway is allowed too far down the road.
Having finished outside the top 10 in Saturday's sprint finish after being impeded by the crash that brought down Mark Cavendish, and having trailed home 20 minutes behind winner Vincenzo Nibali on Sunday's stage, described by some as a mini version of the Spring Classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege race, Greipel said he was ready for action on Monday.
The German Lotto rider wrote on Twitter: “I always said I never want to do Liege-Bastogne-Liege but 2day I did kind of that in 2nd stage of @letour just 1thing-no restday 2mrw!”
Kittel's Giant-Shimano teammate and German compatriot John Degenkolb explained what their tactics would be on Monday.
“The goal will be to have a controllable break so we don't have to spend too much energy before the final,” he said.
“At the finish we have to race like we did before and in a smart way. Communicating and timing is important and I am confident we can repeat (Saturday's victory).”
Despite the tough nature of Sunday's stage and losing touch with the peloton more than 60 kilometers from the finish on the tough 4.7 kilometers long, 7 percent average gradient second category Holme Moss climb, Kittel enjoyed his day in yellow, the second year in a row he had worn the leader's jersey following victory on the opening stage.