Stage 3: Crosswind chaos

Third and final Dutch stage

Run parallel to the North Sea, this looks a simple stage on a benign day but could cause unexpected problems if the wind gets up. If it is blowing, the sprinters and overall contenders will be doubly determined to stay at the front of the peloton. This will bring out the elbows as they all battle for the same places on the road.

After the stage the riders will be flown 1,000km to Turin for a rest day. Most of them would have undoubtedly appreciated taking a day off further into a race that gets steadily tougher all the way to its spectacularly hard finish.

Procycling's favourite to win:

With Mark Cavendish at the concurrent Tour of California, André Greipel will be HTC-Columbia's man for the sprinter's crown. Lampre's Alessandro Petacchi is likely to be his main rival, with Garmin's Tyler Farrar a dark horse, but it will be hard to derail the relentless Columbia train at full steam.

Pozzato says:

"This should be one for the sprinters but there's also always a risk of echelons in Holland. Of the general classification riders, I think Pellizotti will be the best equipped if the wind does blow. He's a good bike-handler and very alert. Evans and Basso might have more problems."

Stage Details

Distance: 209km

Vertical climb: 20m

Highest point: 8m

Terrain: Flat

Category: Road Stage

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