Echelons are always a threat on the exposed roads of this part of France, aptly named Centre. The route is not spectacular in itself, but crosswinds could make it so by ripping the peloton up into pieces and bits.
The 2013 Tour de France finished in nearby Saint-Amand-Montrond and Valverde had to pay big-time (10 minutes) while Froome suffered some minor damage also (1 minute). Cavendish took the stage after a brilliant performance by his then team Omega Pharma (now Deceunick – Quick-Step).
Will the race turn out to be as hard? We need to wait and see, but the scenery looks alarming quiet. The Loire, the longest river in France, meanders leisurely through the flat and exposed fields. On its banks are numerous beautiful ancient towns, chateaux and vineyards. Is this the face of deception…?
Last year, crosswinds played a big part in the first two stages of Paris-Nice, but the storms subsided a little on the third day of action. This resulted in a calm race with Sam Bennett winning the sprint ahead of Caleb Ewan and young Fabio Jakobsen.
The first thee riders on the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while two intermediate sprints (at kilometre 20 and at kilometre 193.5) come with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Another interesting read: results stage 3 Paris-Nice 2020.
Paris-Nice 2020 stage 3: route, profile, more
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