The 2014 Vuelta opens in a rather sprinter friendly fashion. Previous stage was as tailor made for the fast men as this one, but that’s not the whole story. Since stage 3 features four 3rd category hills (lowest category in Spain) and the finale rises with a 4,5% gradient, being a fast man in itself certainly won’t be enough. You got to have climber’s legs as well. The 4.5% section is between 1.800 metres and 300 metres before the finish line.
Of course riders like John Degenkolb, Peter Sagan and Michael Matthews spring to mind. 22-Year old Moreno Hofland is one for tricky arrivals like today’s as well, but it looks like his task in Spain is to look and learn in his first Grand Tour – and maybe snatch some crumbs when given the chance.
Other sprinters aboard are Nacer Bouhanni, Andrea Guardini and Matteo Pelucchi. Probably they will lack the punch they need to survive the four climbs along the way and especially the 4.5% finale.
Classic specialist Tom Boonen is an outsider. In his younger years he was a powerful sprinter and a stage win certainly will boost his confidence in regard to performing well in the World Championsips in Ponferrada.
Vuelta 2014 stage 3: Images and more
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