Stage Three guide: Stage set for sprinters

Stage Three guide: Stage set for sprinters
By Eurosport

04/07/2011 at 20:28

Mark Cavendish could get the chance to shine in today's 198km third stage of the Tour de France, one of the few opportunities this year for pure sprinters to take the limelight.

Stage 3 – Mon, 4 July – Olonne-sur-Mer – Redon – 198km

Type: Flat

Difficulty: *

Details: The race returns to the Atlantic coast for today's start before heading inland and leaving the Vendée to enter cycling-mad Brittany. It's a long, flat slog, the only real rise being the fourth-category climb as the road crosses the Loire estuary on the imposing Saint-Nazaire bridge.

Watch out for: Winds coming from the Atlantic which could split the peloton into echelons on the long, straight and flat roads to Redon.

Prediction: This could be the first chance for HTC-Highroad's Mark Cavendish, who will always be the top of a list of favourites on such a flat stage as this. Cav could face strong opposition from his former team-mate Andre Greipel, now at Omega Pharma-Lotto – although the likes of Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) have more Tour pedigree. Farrar, on American Independence Day, would have a nice ring to it.

History: This is the Tour's first visit to Redon in Brittany. No American has ever won a stage on 4th July.