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Tour Stage 3: Some More Sprinting

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Could this be a gentler stage? Whatever happens, it'll be a sprint.

Le Tour de France 2016 - Stage Two Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

Stage 3: Granville - Angers, 223.5km

The Tour moves south.

What's It About?

Getting sprinters to sing for their supper? While this stage is flat enough that a sprinter is almost certain to win, this goes 223.5 kilometres from Granville, a fishing town that previously served as a defence mechanism for Mont-Saint-Michel, and has its own scallop pancakes, to Angers, a university town where they currently have some very clever people trying to connect everything you own to the Internet. There's also a nice chateau, where some kings of England once came from. Moving on...

AmyBC's Food and Wine Pairings

Each stage we bring you suggestions regarding the local fare from AmyBC. Check out her blog Winebookgirl for more.

Stage 3:

Alcohol:

I had plans for more cider, but since Cointreau is a specialty.Cointreau Distillery was set up in 1849 by Adolphe Cointreau and his brother Edouard-Jean Cointreau. Their first success was with the cherry liqueur guignolet, but they found success when they blended sweet and bitter orange peels and pure alcohol from sugar beets. The first bottles of Cointreau were sold in 1875. An estimated 13 million bottles are sold each year, in more than 150 countries. Ninety percent of production is exported.

Food: Normandy butter from It benefits from an exceptional terroir, which extends from one end of the Cotentin peninsula to the Bessin area. A warm, temperate climate by the sea favours rich pastures in which the grass is full of mineral salts and trace elements. This natural abundance can be found in the milk, which gives a distinctive butter that has a unique perfume, suppleness and colour.

Course Features

What is there to say about this one? I'll speak in pictures. Here's the map:

The opening of the stage is slightly rolling, with one categorised climb and a few more uncategorised bumps, including one to La Chapelle Urée, which looks harder than the categorised Côte de Villedieu-les-Poêles twenty-five kilometres in. Here's your profile.

Now, what you mightn't be able to see there is the presence of a slight kicker up to the line.

The final kilometre is at about 2 per cent, which though not ruinous to any sprinter's chances, will change the playing field a little, especially when coupled with this final kilometre.

1km

I know, right? I wonder what barriers they're using. Oh, I know, the dangerous ones, perfect for when there's a right-angled turn in the last four hundred metres.

Riders to Watch

Well, the KOM, white and yellow jerseys are snug on the shoulders of their owners until Wednesday, barring crashes, so barring the intermediate sprint, the only focus today is on the stage winner, and there's quite a select pool to pull that from, namely the three top sprinters in this race; André Greipel, Marcel Kittel, and previous maillot jaune Mark Cavendish. While Cavendish did sprint better than many expected on stage 1, he may not be the best man for this stage, with its uphill gradient to finish, slightly similar to stage five of the Giro, won by...

André Greipel, who always takes a stage of the Tour de France, and this may be his best chance. He's good at powering up inclines on sprint stages, and most importantly, he has the best leadout in the race, with Debusschere, Sieberg and all his usual gang. However, Marcel Kittel's train is almost as good, and he does have more power than his compatriot. He'll want to take revenge for his stage one loss.

Pick to Win

Marcel Kittel. I'm sticking to my guns.