Tour de France 2022 Stage 3 preview - The sprinters' second round

Stage 3: Vejle to Sønberborg

Date: July 3, 2022

Distance: 182km 

Stage timing: 13:05 - 17:15 CEST

Stage type: Flat

The final stage of the Danish Grand Départ begins in Vejle, the annual host city of a hilly stage in the Tour of Denmark, and finishes in Sønderborg after 182 km through Southern Jutland. From Sønderborg’s airport, the Tour will travel to Northern France by charter plane to restart the race in Dunkerque after a rest day.

The peloton will start the stage by doing a loop to the north-west of Vejle in order to visit Jelling, a UNESCO World Heritage site with two rune stones, burial mounds, a stone ship, one of the oldest churches in Denmark, and the likely court of Harald Bluetooth, Denmark’s first Christian king. Passing through Vejle again, the first classified climb of the day comes on Koldingvej after 27km.

The next city on the route is Kolding, hometown of Kasper Asgreen (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl). Continuing southwards, the race goes over Skamlingsbanken, the highest point in Southern Jutland, but not a classified climb due to the shallow gradient. Instead, the second classified climb comes at Hejlsminde Strand, followed soon after by the intermediate sprint in Christiansfeld.

Christiansfeld was founded as a planned town by the Moravian Brethren in 1773 and named for the Danish King Christian VII. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and tourist destination due to the 18th-century architecture and famous for its honey cakes, Christiansfelder snitter.

After passing through Haderslev with a short section of city cobbles in the centre, the third classified climb comes at Genner Strand after 123 km, followed by the passage through Aabenraa. Turning southeast, the race passes by Gråsten Palace, the Danish royal family’s summer residence, then goes east towards Sønderborg.

Just before reaching the city, the peloton will pass Dybbøl Banke, the site of the battle of Dybbøl in 1864, and Dybbøl Mølle, the white windmill that became a Danish national symbol. In Sønderborg, the race crosses Kong Christian den Xs Bro bridge – painted yellow for the occasion – to the island of Als, passing by the city’s harbour before going onto a ring road for the final six kilometres, turning onto the finishing straight with 800 metres to go.

A sprinter's spectacle

This stage is firmly one for the sprinters as it lacks any major difficulties, and the long run-in on the ring road is tailor made for sprint trains to line up and reel in any last attackers, if necessary. 

For the Danish fast men, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easypost), it will be the last chance at a home-win for the Tour. However, it is difficult to look beyond the Tour's big name sprinters who showed their hand in Nyborg. 

Fabio Jakobsen (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) took a win on stage 2 in his very first sprint stage at the Tour de France, and with the same players we might well expect the same outcome.

Trying for a different scenario, however, will be the yellow-jersey holder Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) alongside Australian Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal). A resurgent and seemingly COVID-recovered Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) also displayed good form on stage 2, coming into contact with Jakobsen but confidently staying upright. Alongside Van Aert, Sagan will be hunting an early statement of intent at this year's Tour.

For our part, we expect to see Jakobsen once again taking victory, but we very much look forward to a stunning sprint finale.

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Lukas Knöfler started working in cycling communications in 2013 and has seen the inside of the scene from many angles. Having worked as press officer for teams and races and written for several online and print publications, he has been Cyclingnews’ Women’s WorldTour correspondent since 2018.

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