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2020 Tour de France stage 3 preview

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(Image credit: ASO)
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(Image credit: ASO)

Stage 3: Nice - Sisteron 

Date: August 31, 2020 

Distance: 198km 

Stage start: 12:10 p.m. CEST

Stage type: Hilly

The sprinters in the peloton will say au revoir to the coastal cliffs of the Riviera and bon jour to the Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, but the hills in the middle may complicate things. The route traces a similar itinerary taken inland from the coast 200 years ago by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, headed to Sisteron for the first time as a stage finish. The last time the Tour town and its iconic rocky outcropping, Rocher de la Baume, made an appearance was in 2010 for a stage start.

Riders may gaze upon the rocks and consider whatever forces seem to have pushed the profile of this stage in a similar skyward direction. The net uphill of four categorized climbs and constant grinding would typically not make this a day for a bunch, but with only one relatively-flat profile in the first nine days, riders will have to adjust. A trio of category 3 climbs come between kilometres 55 and 117.5, with the first two, Col du Pilon and Col de la Faye being a 1-2 punch just 8.5km apart. 

After the category 4 col de l’Orme, it’s 8km to a sprint in Digne-les-Bains and an all-out 37.5km rush to Sisteron. Napoleon’s adventure ended in ignominy, with defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in mid-1815. Some sprinters may meet their own Waterloo on any of the mid-stage climbs that pepper today’s route. 

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