Another Kicker Finale – Tour de France 2012 Stage 3 sees 197km that begins like a classic “first week sprinters’ stage” of Tours gone by, and finishes like a One Day Classic, with five categorised climbs in the final 33km.

It is still not going to be difficult enough to separate the big hitters by anything more than a second or two, but it will be too hard for pure sprinters to be a chance of figuring in the finale.

Another Kicker Finale
The profile of the last 5 km of today’s stage shows the ramp at the end.

There will be very strong men at the finish line of this stage, with the form riders clearly currently being Peter Sagan, Fabian Cancellara, Edvald Boasson Hagen & Phillipe Gilbert.

There will be plenty of desperation in the finale: the race is likely to move at warp speed. Careers are made by Tour de France stage wins, so there will always be someone looking to push clear, on both the climbs and descent.

For mine, Sagan is the man to beat, Gilbert will come second, and Cancellara will be an heroic third. Cavendish?

This Tour de France 2012 is going to be a ripper!