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Stage 3: Palmdale - Santa Clarita, 177.7km

With almost over 2,700m of climbing this could be classified as a mountain stage but the climbing is broken up and includes only one, long, sustained grade. However, after a long, difficult stage the day before, this is a day when just about anything could potentially happen.

Starting in California’s high desert the route climbs up into the Los Padres National Forest This is perfect terrain for a small, dedicated breakaway as the climbing is not difficult enough to select only the strongest riders. The most sustained ascent is the 32km Lake Hughes Road but with only 518m of climbing along its distance, this will be a high-speed test and is very unlikely to force a selection.

The 30km descent down Spunky Canyon and Bouquet Road is gradual and will allow the peloton to regroup. A field sprint looks a likely finale and expect Peter Sagan to lead the charge.

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