After a lot of climbing over the first two days, the pure sprinters will be keen to get another flat parcour and a fast bunch sprint in the legs on Stage 3 of the Criterium du Dauphine.
The 184-kilometre route between Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and the finishing town of Tullins features four categorised climbs, but unlike the first two days of racing, should pose no real threat to the sprinters.
The start of the stage sees the riders descend from the start of the stage before hitting the flat roads that the riders will face for the majority of the stage.
The four climbs on the stages route come in two sections. The first is two category four climbs – the Côte de Saint-Félicien (2.1 km at 4.5%) and the Col de Fontayes (2.1 km at 5.2%) – just after the 50 kilometres completed on the stage. It is then another 80 kilometres for the final two climbs which both come in quick succession.
The category three climb of the Côte des Sarrets (2.9 km at 4.9%) and the final climb of the day, the category four test of the Côte de Roybon (1.4 km at 5.8%) finish off the climbing for the day, with the attention then turning to the final five kilometres of the stage.
The final few kilometres look from the course map to be fairly simple, with a long final straight that will offer a good fight for all the sprint trains. After the last two difficult days, the sprinters will be licking their lips to get a taste of victory heading into the Tour de France.
French hopes Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ) will be the men to beat, and will be looking to fire ahead of their home Grand Tour. Neither have scored a win at a Tour de France as of yet, but have been extremely successful at World Tour level.
Demare won the stage easily yesterday, after having been dropped earlier in the stage. His leadout in the final from his FDJ team placed him on the wheel of Kristoff, and he ended up blazing past the Norweigan to win by three lengths.
Bouhanni did not have the legs to challenge yesterday, and unfortunately for Coquard, he was boxed in with 300 metres to go and could never open his sprint.
Today’s stage offers the chance for them to head into the Tour with confidence high.
Other riders to look out for include the in-form Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha Alpecin) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida).