Previews Races Tour de Yorkshire

2019 Tour de Yorkshire: stage 3 preview

A wild, windy and potentially explosive stage awaits...

Stage 2 wrap

No surprise breakaway wins on stage 2. But we did perhaps get a surprise winner. While many eyes were on Cavendish (Dimension Data), Lawless (Team Ineos) and Fortin (Cofidis), it was Marcel Kittel’s lead-out man Rick Zabel (Katusha-Alpecin) who took full advantage of a rare sprint opportunity to get his hands in the air on the line.

Just like yesterday, there was a six-man breakaway. Tom Stewart (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes), Fabien Grellier (Total Direct Energie), Jake Scott (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) and Chris McGlinchey (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK) broke clear and were soon joined by the Team Wiggins Le Col pair of Rob Scott and James Fouché.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 03/05/2019 – Cycling – 2019 Tour de Yorkshire Stage 2 Barnsley to Bedale – England – Rick Zabel of Team Katusha Alpecin wins stage 2.

Unlike yesterday, the peloton got its calculations right and made sure the break was caught before the line to set things up for a sprint finish. In a chaotic sprint, Zabel started his sprint early to power clear and take the win, with Van Poppel (Roompot-Charles) and Lawless rounding out the podium. Andy Tennant took an impressive 4th to finish the best-placed Continental rider on the day (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes).

Stage 3 route


Stage 3 will end in Scarborough, a finish that has featured in every edition of the race so far. It has regularly offered up massive crowds and spectacular finishes, and you wouldn’t bet against more of the same today.

Starting in Bridlington, the stage will head north into the North York Moors National Park. The Côte de Silpho is the first of five categorised climbs, and with the route hugging the coast as it hooks back down to Scarborough, and crosswinds will add yet more challenge. This stage will also be the second and final stage of the women’s race.

Weather

Very strong winds (gusts over 40mph) and light showers are forecast, with the wind coming from the north. This will mean a strong headwind/cross-headwind on the way up. Then, just before the feedzone at Ellerby Bank, the riders turn east and will hit exposed sections of road on the way to Whitby. This can only mean one thing: crosswinds and potential echelons. A strong tailwind/cross-tailwind will then follow them on the way back down south to Scarborough.

Contenders

If I was to make one prediction it is that the stage will be enjoyably unpredictable! The high winds, the short distance, the repeated climbing and the lack of World Tour teams to control the race, all mean that this has the potential to be one of wildest stages the Tour de Yorkshire has yet seen.

If this is the case, who to pick? Here are five riders I think will be in contention…

Last year’s champion Greg Van Avermaet (CCC) is hard to look past if he’s carried enough freshness from his classics campaign. He’s ideally suited to a punchy, windy, classics-style stage, and can also hold his own if things come down to a reduced bunch finish.

Owain Doull (Team Ineos) is another a strong pick. Like Avermaet, he’s well-suited to this type of terrain, and he has the strongest team in the race to support him. One tactic Ineos might play is to rip the race apart in the crosswinds after the feedzone and hope to jettison as many GC hopefuls as possible.

Nathan Haas (Katusha-Alpecin) is another punchy rider who excels on grippy rolling days. He hasn’t yet had the best of form this season but the former Tour of Britain winner is no stranger to performing well on UK roads.

A rider who normally excels in the hills of the Tour de Yorkshire is Jonathan Hivert (Total Direct Energie). 3rd overall in 2017 and 10th last year, the 34-year-old Frenchman has a fast finish and is strong in the hills. He’s in great form too. He won the Gran Premio Miguel Indurain (UCI 1.1) last month and got top-10s in the Classic Loire Atlantique (UCI 1.1) and the Tour de Finistère (UCI 1.1).

Another on form rider is Alexander Kamp (Riwal Readynez). The Dane won the Circuit des Ardennes (UCI 2.2) last month and was 8th in De Brabantse Pijl (1.HC). Like the four riders above, he is strong in the hills but can also sprint well.

What about the domestic Continental riders?

There are quite a few that could thrive tomorrow. Five to look out for in particular are Connor Swift (Madison Genesis), Scott Thwaites (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK), Rory Townsend (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes), James Shaw (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) and Tom Pidcock (Team Wiggins Le Col). Each has shown they are in great form in recent races and are more than capable of getting onto the podium at the end of a tough day out in Yorkshire.

Spectators on stage 2 of the Tour de Yorkshire. Photo: James York

TV

ITV4 and Eurosport will both show the men’s race live from 2.30pm.

Featured photo: Alex Whitehead / SWpix.com

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