mark cavendish got 2023 Tour de France Dropped early by the peloton in the opening two hilly stages in the Basque Country have been tough so far. Now, however, the fast guys can get a chance in the bunch sprint as the road has been flattened somewhat on the way from Amorebita to Bayonne.
The race will take place after two days in the north of Spain cross the border into france Pack-splitting crosswinds are unlikely – in the last 50km of this 184km journey along the Atlantic Ocean coast – on what is forecast to be a calm day.
Cavendish is seeking to make history by winning a record 35th Tour de France stage, which would see him surpass the record currently shared by the Manxman and the great Eddy Merckx.
There are three major hurdles for the Cavendish to overcome. The first is the inevitable breakaway on a stage like this, which will need to reel in before the finish to set up a bunch sprint where it can surge. His Astana team may try to push the pace to the front of the peloton but will need support from other sprint teams, such as Jasper Philipson’s Alpesin–Dessinck and Fabio Jacobsen’s QuickStep.
The second challenge is to reach the end comfortably. Cavendish had struggled on some of the category two and three climbs over the last two days and his team dutifully stayed there to help him through to the finish. And while the day is certainly a lot more flat than the opening two days, there is still the category three Cote d’Orioco Benta (4.6 km at 6.3%) in the middle of the stage, which should give Cavendish’s 38-year-old legs a quick boost. There will be time to keep pace with the peloton or risk being left behind.
The third problem for Cavendish is the sheer quality of the opposition here, not least in the shape of Wout Van Aert, who was angered at missing out on a stage two win by his Jumbo-Visma team’s mistake in reading the closing ceremony as they were allowed Overhauling lone attacker Victor Lafay has huge advantage, Van Aert will be desperate to improve here, while Philipson, Jacobsen, Dylan Groenewegen, Mads Pedersen and Caleb Ewan are all highly trained sprinters who know how to win grand Tour stages.
For the yellow jersey of defending champion Jonas Wingegaard, his main rival Tadej Pogacar and Adam Yates, it is a day to stay away from any trouble and get out of the way of the sprinters.
Phase 3 Route Map and Profile
The forum is due to start at around 12am BST and is expected to end at around 4.30pm BST.
The sprint teams will certainly be very inclined to let a breakaway get away with it here. All this should come in a bunch sprint – I think jasper phillipson To get Wout van Aert over the line.