Course PreviewStage 3: Davos - Lumino
Date: Monday, 15 June
Distance: 195.4 km
Terrain: Mountain climb to Lukmanier followed by long, fast descents to finish.
GC Importance: This stage is likely to finish in a bunch sprint, or at least a large group sprinting out in Lumino. The climb of the Lukmanier Pass is likely to see some attacking, but the summit is followed by a long decent all the way home that will present an opportunity for those dropped on the climb to get back. Yellow jersey will probably stay on the same shoulders tonight.
Climbs: Lukmanier Pass (1916m - Italian: Passo del Lucomagno). Connects the German speaking canton of Graubünden through the Val Medel across the pass to the Blenio valley and Biasca to the Italian speaking canton of Ticino.
Details: For the second day in a row, Davos plays host to the stage start of the third day of the 2009 TdS. As was the case the previous day, the first 65km of the stage present an easy task of the riders as they descend back down from altitude in Davos. In fact the first 65km trace exact same route as the final 6km of the previous day as the riders make their way back down to Bonaduz.
After Bonaduz the riders face their first real challenge of the day when the riders gain 200m over 8km in the climb to the town of Versam. After this climb, the riders descend to Illanz after 80km of the stage. Here the road will begin to gradually roll upwards towards the feed at Sumvitg (1028m). A few kilometers later the bunch will reach Disentis Mustér which marks the real start of the days major climb, the first category Lukmanierpass.
The Lukmanierpass at 19.5km, climbs to 1916m and is likely to present a difficult but manageable obstacle to the riders. The gradients of the climb are not overly severe, but if the race attacks this climb at speed we are likely to see various splits in the bunch. The weaker spinters will be going out the back faster than lightening as the speed goes up. Unfortunately, Cav the Canonball may be cursing at this stage!
Over the top (with 70,6km remaining), the riders will face a long descent of over 40km to the town of Biasca where the riders will contest a sprint. The length of the descent together with the flat run-in to the finish will likely enable many riders, including some sprinters, who found themselves distanced on Lukmanier to get back on.
It is unlikely that any breaks will make it on this stage. For the sprinters who remain after Lukmanier, their teams are going to control events until the finish. The Rabobank boys may be looking to Freire for this one!
The riders will face another sprint 13km later in the town of Gnosca. By now, the wind-up for the sprint will have begun and with 11km to go, only the minor 4th category ramp up to Galbisio on the outskirts of the city of Bellinzona remains. From there the riders will face a fast, straight run in to Lumino for what should be the first bunch sprint of the 2009 TdS. Possible contenders: Freire, Hushovd and Haussler. Bennati and Cav may need to consume some PowerBars over the Lukmanier – but its not impossible for these guys. — Edward Madden — Gavia (updates to this preview will be made during the race and especially the day before the stage with current analysis)<-->