Tour Down Under: Stage 3 preview
Orica-GreenEdge sports director Matt White says...
"It's a relatively flat stage but what happens in the final 15 minutes is crucial with a very fast run in down the gorge, then we turn off to the left and you have the Corkscrew climb which the riders will be hitting at warp speed. It's where the climbers get a chance to show off how their off season has been going. The pure climbers are whom you'll see on the Corkscrew as it's hard enough and long enough that it does break up considerably. It's a stage we can't afford to lose time on. The interesting thing with the Corkscrew stage is that from the top of the climb to the finish line is not very far and you have a very fast tricky descent immediately after the KOM and once it flattens out you are still slightly descending all the way to the finish line.
"No teams have the chance to get organised as it's 10 minutes between top of the Corkscrew and the finish, the race is blown to pieces on the climb, and finding your teammates and getting a chase organised is very, very difficult. Everyone who wants to win the tour doesn't want to lose time and they would hopefully have a teammate with them who can nullify any late attacks.
"Rafa Valls has been pretty quite since Tour of Oman last year which he won the queen stage and overall. The climb up Green Mountain is extremely difficult and he put away the best climbers in the business. He's on a new team with Lotto-Soudal, and if he is coming to Tour Down Under he is coming here for a reason. He's a guy who can get the best out of himself early in the season and I think he's going to be a big threat to our overall ambitions."
Prediction – Rafa Valls (Lotto Soudal)
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