Stage 3: Unley - Victor Harbour
Cameron Meyer says...
Wind is the biggest factor on this stage if I remember it back in 2009. It was full tilt. This was where Andre Greipel ended his Tour and there was a massive crash that ended Baden Cooke's Tour in that big pile up that happened once we got off the highway. There were echelons everywhere. The front group for the sprint finish was only 30 or 40 guys from 140 which tells that it's a really hard stage.
There's not much flat in there at all, you're straight out of the blocks up a climb which continue throughout the day as well as the cross winds.
It's quite a hard stage and it's a stage that you can win the Tour with a group of 30 or so going to the line but you can lose the Tour by being in that second group.
This is one for the strong sprinters. Someone who's got good early season form, someone who's not going to suffer too much on the climbs, they'll still get to the finish line with good legs. If it's a really hard stage a guy like Stuart O'Grady's got a really good finish on him, he handles the cross winds and as you've seen in Paris-Roubaix he has no problems with hard conditions so guys like that who are in really good condition and will be there at the finish.
Matt Goss says...
Most years that we've come to Victor Harbour, since the race has been ProTour anyway, you've seen a bunch sprint come to the finish here. In 2009 I was in the second bunch and we chased until the big right hand turn and you come into the big block headwind and it all come back together. It's definitely a stage where the wind can play a big part.
It's not an easy course and it's quite a lumpy day. It's not overly hard but it's going to suit a sprinter who's strong and in good form. You're not going to see somebody who's a real punchy rider and who's had a bit of a cruisy off season that is going to get results here. You've got this nasty little kick as you come into town which definitely strings the bunch out.
It's going to be super important, because it's going to be windy, to have a good team around you. You are going to see a sprint but it will be one where teams who have got really strong riders around their sprinter. The more you can save through the last 30-40kms and while you've got that team you're out of the wind. It's probably going to be a mad run into the finish with the downhill before you get a swarm of riders so you won't see a big leadout like on the first day.
If it's really windy it's going to be dangerous for the overall. It's one of the only chances for a team that doesn't have someone that can follow Valverde or Sanchez on the climb, so this is their chance to split the race up. This is going to be where we can put the climbers in difficulty.
Image ©: Santos Tour Down Under
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