Tour de France 2012 stage 3 preview

Primed for the puncheurs

This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.

Distance: 197km

Highest point: 193m

Category: Rolling

This stage could cause some surprises due to the tricky nature of the closing kilometres. It starts at orchies, a name synonymous with the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. However, rather than pavé, it’s short, steep hills that are on today’s agenda. There are four testing climbs in the closing 16km before the final 700m-long climb up to the finish. All five are categorised for the mountains jersey competition. As at Seraing, the puncheurs will thrive but the overall contenders should also break cover today, especially as they will want to be at the front of the action to avoid needless crashes in what will be a very nervy peloton.

Jérémy Roy: "The last 60 kilometres contain a series of bumps where attacks may be launched. The final is very hard, with Mt Lambert and the hill in Boulogne. Anything is possible but I think we will arrive in small groups and the puncheurs will prevail."

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Video: Tour de France 2012 stage 3 preview by Chris Boardman

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