Tour de France 2024 stage three preview - a sprint into Turin

The first sprint opportunity will allow us to see who is on winning form this Tour de France

Date: Monday July 1, 2024
Distance: 231km
Start location: Plaisance
Finish location: Turin
Start time: 11:15 CET
Finish time (approx): 16:57 CET

The Tour de France's visit to Italy hasn’t just been a chance to show off the nation’s beauty, but also to celebrate its rich cycling legacy. And on the Tour’s third of three stages on Italian roads, it’s the turn of probably the greatest Italian cyclist of all time to be paid homage: Fausto Coppi, whose hometown of Tortona will be passed through during the first half of the stage.

Despite being the joint-record holder of Giro d’Italia overall wins with five, a variety of reasons, most notably World War Two and its aftermath, meant Coppi only rode three Tours during his career. But in those Tours he imprinted his legacy on the race, recovering from big early time losses and internal rivalry with teammate Gino Bartali to win in 1949, and in the process become the first ever man to complete the Giro/Tour double; then trouncing the field by almost half an hour (including a stage win on the Tour’s first ever visit to Alpe d’Huez) to repeat that double three years later. Had the war not interrupted his career, he might have been considered the greatest of all-time alongside Eddy Merckx. 

It’s not just specific individuals that the Tour is celebrating, but Italian cycling in general. This year marks the hundred-year anniversary of when Ottavio Bottecchia became the first Italian to ever win the yellow jersey, a wounding moment given the French’s pride in their race — made worse when he won it again the year after, a double that would later be repeated by Bartali and Coppi. 

The Italians haven’t ever been so successful here since that era, with only two overall victories in the last 60 years, but have established a tradition of great sprinters like Mario Cipollini and Alessandro Petacchi. Stage three is set to be won by a rider of their ilk. The Côte de Tortone paying tribute to Coppi is the first of just three small category four climbs to be tackled on the way through the Po Valley to the finish in Torino, none of which look hard enough to give the sprinters much bother. It’s a long stage — in fact, totalling 230.8km, it’s the longest of the whole Tour, and will therefore be a long, tiring slog despite the lack of hills. But having had to haul themselves over so many hills the previous two days, the sprinters will all be itching to test their legs in a bunch finish, and it will take something dramatic to prevent them from controlling any breakaways and contesting a bunch finish in Torino.

Route profile sourced via ASO


Today is the first opportunity for the sprinters to showcase their form this Tour de France, and after hauling themselves over the Italian hills in the blazing heat for the past two stages, they’ll be relieved that stage three is a lot less in elevation. However, it won’t be easy for the sprinters as they will all be up against one another, all who are seriously strong when it comes to a fast finish. 

But going into the stage, Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) will be the firm favourite for the victory. He dominated the sprint stages in last year’s race, taking four stage wins and the points classification – there was little many of the other sprinters could do when it came to beating Philipsen and his lead-out man Mathieu van der Poel. Alpecin-Deceuninck will be hoping for similar success. This year, we’ve only seen three riders able to beat Philipsen in a bunch sprint, but thankfully for him, two of them are not in this race. That doesn’t mean, however, it will be smooth sailing for him. 

Arnaud De Lie (Lotto Dstny) is the only rider so far able to knock Philipsen from the top spot, beating him in the final sprint at the Belgium National Championships. He packs a powerful sprint finish and will want to secure a stage win in his Tour debut. The 22-year-old rider will certainly give the other sprinters something to worry about across these three weeks. Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco Alula) is another contender for the stage win. 

One sprinter every fan will be keeping a close eye on is Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) in his quest to break the record for the most number of stages won at the Tour de France. Things looked a bit ropey for the Manx missile on the opening stage, clearly suffering in the heat from Florence to Rimini. His team has been created solely around him and this history-making victory, so this will be the first glimpse into how the team will perform for Cavendish over the course of the race. Like Cavendish, Fabio Jakobsen (Team DSM-Fermenich PostNL) faced trouble racing in the heat on the opening two stages. He’ll be hoping for more success in this race after having a mediocre Giro d’Italia earlier in the year.  

Lidl-Trek have based their Tour team around Mads Pedersen. The Danish rider has looked strong so far, placing seventh in Rimini. Other sprinters vying for victory will be Sam Bennett (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale), Alexander Kristoff (Uno-X Mobility), Biniam Girmay (Intermarche-Wanty), Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Victorious), and Bryan Coquard (Cofidis). 

Stage three winner prediction

We think Jasper Philipsen will take the first sprint opportunity of the Tour de France. 

Shop now