Stage 3: Ajaccio - Calvi
A big day for the Frenchmen
Like the stage the day before, anyone who gets caught out by a mechanical problem or ends up isolated because of a tactical error could lose significant time, especially if they are regarded as a likely contender and their rivals are determined to make them pay. The roads are tight, twisitng and bump up and down all day, crossing five climbs. The first comes right from the start. It will be interesting to see who is warming up frantically before the flag drops, as there's bound to be a mad dash to get into the breakaway group, with puncheurs once again likely to be very evident.
The stage is short and there's every chance that a strong group could escape at the off and never be seen by the peloton again. The French now have a host of names who will be putting an X next to this stage, led by Sylvain Chavanel and perhaps even Thomas Voeckler, if he's fully fit. Any one of FDJ's riders could be involved as well. The final summit comes just 13km from the ~inish. It's got to be Chavanel, hasn't it? Expect fireworks from Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Chavanel, who'll be looking to add to his Tour stage win from 2010
Stephen Roche: "The second two stages in Corsica are going to result in some very tired bodies. Once you get off the main roads in the centre of the island, the terrain is very rugged and it's hard going with lots of small roads. A lot of the riders will find these stages a real eye-opener, especially if it's hot."
Winner of four Tour stages including one last year, Pierrick Fédrigo is one of the few riders in the peloton to have enjoyed significant success in Corsica. In 2010, he won the first stage of the first Corsica-hosted Critérium International to the Col de l'Ospedale and held on to win the overall title ahead of Michael Rogers.
Maps and profiles courtesy of ASO
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