After going from Arnhem to Nijmegen in stage 2, the organisers saw fit to replay that in reverse; sort of. Stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia is the final day of racing in the Netherlands and another opportunity for the sprinters to shine.
Stage 3: Nijmegen – Arnhem. 190km
190km in stage 2 becomes 189km in stage 3 as the riders tackle the roads that separate them from the finish line that was the city of the start line just the day before. Once again the stage finishes with a circuit, two laps of a 13.8km loop around Arnhem after the race has taken in the Dutch countryside passing Zutphen on the way to the finish. And as with the previous day there is just one king of the mountains climb, the ascent of the Posbank with 53km of racing remaining.
The roads are subtly lumpier in the final 60km of racing in stage 3, but not by much and should pose no threat to the sprinters as they look for glory for the second day running. It was interesting to note that last year the Giro d’Italia saw no dominant sprinter in its ranks. Elia Viviani, Michael Matthews, Andre Greipel all won, but none could gain a stranglehold on the sprints to even double their single stage win tallies.
Last year that was a different story as Marcel Kittel looked all of a picture of dominance in the sprints in Ireland. Alas sickness stopped him from gaining any more wins – something that looked certain to come his way; but should he return in 2016 the rest better watch out. Six wins have already gone his way in 2016, including Scheldeprijs against Mark Cavendish; he also took the GC in the Dubai Tour. Wherever he goes the fear and the respect of the rest of the field seem to follow; can he convert that into consistent stage wins year?