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Tour de France - Cycling: Stage three preview

The 2022 Tour de France bids "farvel" to Denmark with a 182km ride down the Jutland peninsula before the peloton are transported to France.

On a less exposed route than yesterday's coastal stage, this should be a rare chance for the pure sprinters to bag stage glory on a particularly gruelling Tour schedule.

Fabio Jakobsen will be eyeing victory, the Dutchman having usurped Mark Cavendish in the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl sprinting pecking order. Fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen and Australia's Caleb Ewan should also be involved in the final burst.

What:

Tour de France, Stage three

Where:

Vejle to Sonderborg, Denmark (182km)

When:

12:15 UK Time, Sunday 3rd July, 2022

How to Watch:

Live on ITV4, Eurosport, Discovery+ & GCN+

Odds: Tadej Pogacar 8/13, Jonas Vingegaard 15/4, Primoz Roglic 17/4, Geraint Thomas 16/1, Aleksandr Vlasov 18/1

Stage three route details

The Jutland peninsula is home to Denmark's highest peak - the 171-metre Mollehoj - but the peloton won't be tackling that on stage three. The route features just three climbs, the highest of which - the 61-metre Genner Strand - comes two-thirds of the way into the stage but will be no challenge even to the out-and-out sprinters who will surely dominate the finish.

After a 23km loop around Vejle, which could see some more rain, the peloton heads south, tackling three small climbs before a pan-flat 60km run into Sonderborg.

The intermediate sprint takes place at virtually the exact halfway point in Christiansfeld. If the pure sprinters opt to keep their powder dry for the stage finish, expect a more versatile rider to go for it here. The tough nature of this year's route means the green jersey could well be beyond the out-and-out speedsters, and someone like Wout van Aert could take the opportunity to grab some extra points. The Belgian was unlucky not to win the opening time trial as weather conditions went against him.

Look for Quick-Step's 2021 Tour of Flanders winner Kasper Asgreen to get a rousing reception when the pack passes through his hometown of Kolding, 55km into the stage.

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Three to watch

Caleb Ewan @ (x/x)

Five-time Tour de France stage winner Ewan has established himself as one of the world's premier sprinters. Probably not a serious contender for the green jersey this year, the Australian's approach is likely to be to cherry-pick certain stages and this one will definitely be on his shortlist.

Ewan suffered a heavy crash on the opening stage of the Giro d'Italia in Budapest in May and took no further part in that race. However, he was back in action three weeks ago when finishing a close second to Fabio Jakobsen in the Elfstedenronde Brugge, so there should be no worries about his fitness.

The 27-year-old claimed three stage wins at the 2019 Tour, including victory on the Champs-Elysees, and also won two sprint stages on last year's Giro.

Dylan Groenewegen @ (x/x)

Dylan Groenewegen has had a somewhat chequered career but his new BikeExchange-Jayco team have built their 2022 Tour de France challenge around him and fellow sprinter Michael Matthews.

While Matthews will be prioritised in the hillier stages, the 29-year-old can count on a full lead-out train working for him on the purer sprints such as this.

The Dutchman is competing on the Tour de France for the first time since 2019 and is on something of a redemption mission having been banned for nine months for his part in a serious crash at the 2020 Tour de Pologne that left Jakobsen with life-threatening injuries.

However, the four-time individual stage winner on the Tour has already picked up five wins for his new team and his sprinting looks as sharp as ever.

Fabio Jakobsen @ (x/x)

Cycling's new sprint king, Jakobsen will surely be the man to beat on all of this year's flat stages.

The 25-year-old made a miraculous recovery from the terrible injuries he suffered in a crash at the 2020 Tour de Pologne - even being placed in a medically induced coma at one stage.

Jakobsen won three stages on his way to taking the points classification title at the 2021 Vuelta a Espana, and won this year's Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Last month he claimed two stage wins in a strong Tour of Belgium field and arrives in top form.

The Dutchman has been nominated as Quick-Step's team leader ahead of last year's green jersey winner Mark Cavendish. Cav won four stages on last year's Tour and needs only one more to pass Eddy Merckx's record of 34 Tour stage wins, so it will be interesting to see how that works out.

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