Stage 3 – Vejle to Sønderborg – 182km – Sunday, July 3
Stage 3 brings the 2022 Tour de France to Jutland–a large peninsula that’s home to the mainland portions of Denmark–for another stage that’s expected to end in a field sprint.
The 182km stage begins in Vejle, looping to the north through the town of Jelling before beginning its southerly trip to the finish in Sønderborg, on the small island of Als. The stage profile is a big jagged, with three Category 4 climbs spread evenly throughout the stage. Denmark’s Magnus Cort-Nielsen (EF Education First-EasyPost) (or one of his teammates) will likely do his best to make it into the breakaway again in the hopes of maintaining his lead in the Tour’s King of the Mountains competition. But with several teams looking to set-up a field sprint, the break should be caught inside the final hour as the sprinters’ teams get ready for the sprint.
The finale isn’t too technical. The race comes into the centre of town from the west, looping around and under itself just after crossing a bridge onto the island about 6km from the finish line. The riders will then follow a counterclockwise loop around the outside of the city centere and up toward the finishing straight. A hard left-hander 800 meters from the line means the teams hoping to win the stage will need to be well-placed at the front of the pack.
The forecast calls for temperatures in the 70s and partly cloudy skies, but wind will again be a factor. We’ve especially got our eyes on a spot just after the race passes through Hostrupov with about 40km to go. The race takes a hard right turn to the south in the direction of Felsted. If the wind is gusting from the west, it’s the perfect place to blow the peloton into echelons as the wind shifts from a tailwind to a crosswind. Just the threat of it could make for nervous racing, which means crashes as riders try to stay at the front and out of trouble.
Expect Belgium’s Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) to have little trouble holding onto the yellow jersey as the leader of the Tour’s General Classification. He’s a threat to win the stage and add more bonus seconds to his advantage, and none of the Tour’s other sprinters are close enough to the Belgian to take the lead if they win the stage and van Aert finishes outside the top-3.
Riders to Watch
This looks to be another day for the sprinters, with the Netherlands’ Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) once again the top favourite. The 25-year-old won Stage 2 to make Quick-Step 2-for-2 so far in this year’s Tour, and given the way they’ve been riding, there’s little reason to doubt the team’s chances of sweeping all three stages in Denmark.
Other contenders include van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), who’s finished second on Stages 1 and 2, Australia’s Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), who was nowhere to be seen at the end of Stage 2 but always takes a stage or two to warm-up, and Denmark’s Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), who would become a national hero with a stage win on home soil before the Tour heads back to France.
When to Watch
The race is expected to finish around 17hoo, so we’ll be tuning in around 16h30 to catch-up on the action so far and watch the finale. Field sprints are always exciting, but we won’t blame you for going for a long ride and watching a replay later in the day.