Vuelta a España 2022, stage three
Distance: 193.2 kilometres
Start location: Breda (Netherlands)
Finish location: Breda (Netherlands)
Start time: 11.25 BST
Finish time (approx): 16.15 BST
The final stage in the Netherlands is also the longest stage of this year’s Vuelta. Another day of flat parcours in the lowlands awaits, as the riders head out on a circuit beginning and ending in the vibrant North Brabant city of Breda.
A stunning old town, numerous eateries and a buzzing nightlife make Breda an attractive tourist destination, and there will be plenty of opportunity for the fans at the roadside and those watching on TV to experience a taste of what Breda has to offer.
Vuelta a España 2022, stage three map and profile
The riders begin their longest day at Breda Castle. From there they will pass – quite literally – through the Great Church, where they will all have to dismount their bikes and walk – somewhat unusual but as part of the neutralised section of the race, not too much of a big deal.
From here the peloton heads to the south side of the town, where the racing will begin in earnest. Once again, it’s typical Dutch parcours, with even less altitude metres than the previous day, the profile barely climbing above sea level all day long. The race heads south all the way to the Dutch-Belgian border at Baarle-Nassau, before turning north once again and then west along pan flat roads for over 100km to the only categorised climb of the day, the Rijzendeweg.
In Spain, the Vuelta peloton will tackle a great many unclassified climbs that pose more of a challenge than the Rijzendeweg – a mere 400m of climbing at an average gradient of 3.7%. It represents a hiccup unlikely to prove enough of an obstacle to split the bunch, especially given it comes with 60km left to race, but it’s still an opportunity for the early KOM contenders to fight it out for points, if they have made it into the day’s early break.
The only other spot at which we might see the race come to life prior to the final is at 170km, when green jersey hopefuls along with GC riders do battle for intermediate sprint points and bonification seconds in Sint Willebrord.
In the final 3km the peloton have two corners to contend with: one with around 2.5km to go and one at around 500m to go. Assuming the bunch navigate these successfully, stage 3 is a nailed-on bunch sprint, and the pure sprinters will have their day.
Vuelta a España 2022, stage three prediction and contenders
The first hectic sprint stage of the race has given us a good idea of who will contest the race's third stage in Breda which has similar flat but complicated Dutch parcours as the stage that preceded it. Sam Bennett (BORA-Hansgrohe) took the first sprint win of the race and he'll be looking to get another today. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Deceuninck) rounded out the podium in stage two and will be hoping to go better in stage three. Dan McLay (Arkea Samsic), Pascal Ackermann (UAE Team Emirates), Kaden Groves (BikeExchange) and Jake Stewart (Groupama FDJ) could also be in the mix.
Prediction: We think that Bennett's win in stage two would have given him a huge boost in confidence and expect him to take another victory in stage three.