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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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Recap of Stage Three:

Holding true to form, Marcel Kittel took the Maglia Rosa off of the shoulders of Tom Dumoulin with a dominating sprint and extra points awarded for the stage win. However, we now leave the flat of The Netherlands for a bumpy first stage in Bella Italia - sprinters and the time-trialists who have hitherto dominated the top ten on General Classification will pay the price for this change of venue as Stage Four introduces climbing again.

In the race within the race, the race for the General Classification, we see all of the top names still within a minute of the pink jersey. Nibali continues to maintain a slight edge over the rest of the GC contenders, only 33 seconds off the pace of the race leader. Landa is at the back of the class as he is 49 seconds off the pace.
Granted, these are minor differences so early in a three week stage race - it remains to be seen if this holds up and whether Nibali can stretch a few more seconds from his rivals in Stage Four.

This will be interesting to watch as these top riders mark each other - can one of them make a break from the pack or will they all be content to wait and see for another tougher mountain stage. In cycle racing, victory often goes to the bold, who make a surprise move and put chunks of time into rivals whom they have caught on the wrong foot - but it also can go to smart riders who play their cards close to their chests and conserve their efforts for the long haul.

Current General Classification Standings (Top Ten):

1. Marcel Kittel (Etixx - Quick-Step) 9:13:10
2. Tom Dumoulin (Team Giant-Alpecin) 0:00:09
3. Andrey Amador (Movistar) 0:00:15
4. Tobias Ludvigsson (Giant-Alpecin) 0:00:17
5. Moreno Moser (Cannondale) 0:00:21
6. Bob Jungels (Etixx - Quick-Step) 0:00:22
7. Matthias Brandle (IAM Cycling) 0:00:23
8. Roger Kluge (IAM Cycling) 0:00:25
9. Chad Haga (Giant-Alpecin)
10. Georg Preidler (Giant-Alpecin) 0:00:26

Jersey Distribution after Stage Three:

Race Leader (Pink): Marcel Kittel (Etixx - Quick-Step)
Points Leader (Red): Marcel Kittel (Etixx - Quick-Step)
Mountains Leader (Blue): Maarten Tjallingii (Lotto-Jumbo)
Best Young Rider (White): Tobias Ludvigson (Giant-Alpecin)

Stage Four: Catanzaro - Praia A Mare, 200 km

While the Sprinting classes should have no problem hanging on until midway in this stage, the attrition will begin taking its toll as the first true mountains make their debut. After that, this becomes a very bumpy technical course which will favour all-rounders and climbers. It should surprise no one that the top of the GC standings will be somewhat changed at day's end.

Stage Four Map:

Blue Yellow Red Text White

Stage Four Profile:

Text Red Slope White Line
 

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Bianchi Nuovo Alloro, Lemond Etape
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this looks like a good set-up for a breakaway of bold riders who are not going to threaten the overall eventual standings.

one question is whether kittel will fight to retain the pink. if so, this will turn out to be a fast day, relative to its position in the calendar.
 

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this looks like a good set-up for a breakaway of bold riders who are not going to threaten the overall eventual standings.

one question is whether kittel will fight to retain the pink. if so, this will turn out to be a fast day, relative to its position in the calendar.
coming off a rather meager spring classic season the team sponsors would likely not me that the team held on to the jersey as long as possible.
 

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I'm thinking another bunch sprint and another Kittel victory
 

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Where's that GPS?
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
(Spoiler)

Wow, the final kms were action packed with attacks from Ulissi, Moser, Colbrelli, Dumoulin and even Scarponi, but in the end it was Ulissi who came in victorious after giving them all a merry chase on the Via Fortino - using an 18% grade to dial up the pain and then toughing it out to the end. Great win.

Kittel fell to the hills and Dumoulin is back in pink.
 

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Bianchi Nuovo Alloro, Lemond Etape
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well-played. it looks like ulissi earned it with guts and strategy.

valverde is hanging in there.
 

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Where's that GPS?
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dumoulin is putting the other GC contenders on notice - it will be interesting to see how they respond.
 
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