Stage 3: Collonges-la-Rouge to Montignac-Lascaux — 147.2
Date and time: Tuesday, July 25, 2023. Official stage start at 13:45, start of live coverage at 15:00 CEST. Predicted finish is around 17:31 CEST.
Stage type: Mostly flat
What to watch out for: Pure sprinters get their first shot at a fast finish.
Stage summary: Although the stage includes five categorized climbs none of them should make a massive difference in the peloton, especially because the final 55 km are flat.
The climbs might lead some to think a breakaway has a chance but – looking back at the recent Giro Donne, where not a single day of the nine stages went to escapees, and factor in there are only two pure-sprinter days in this year’s Femmes – it would take a crazy strong move to make it to the line.
Teams are bringing their top sprinters to the race but when it comes down to a finish like the one on stage 3 only two women will contest the victory. Lorena Wiebes of SD Worx-Protime and Charlotte Kool of DSM-Firmenich have lined up against each other four times this year and although Wiebes seems the faster on paper, two of those four times Kool has come out on top. Wiebes may have just won a stage of the Giro but Kool won four stages of the Baloise Ladies Tour (one was the prologue).
Kool and Wiebes definitely look evenly matched ahead of the Femmes, and the fact they were former teammates makes the whole thing even more interesting to watch.
The lead-out trains will be happy to see that the finale isn’t super technical, with only two major turns before the finish in Montignac-Lascuax.
When it comes to a leadout Kool definitely has the upper hand with Pfeiffer Georgi and Megan Jastrab on her side. Wiebes has the strongest team in the race, but they have bigger fish to fry than a stage victory.
Don’t expect to see any changes in the general classification on stage 3. Kopecky might be holding yellow all the way to the Col du Tourmalet at this rate. Barring any crashes or mishaps, the GC riders can relax a bit on Tuesday.
My pick: After Wiebes finished second on stage 1 it’s clear that her legs are feeling good. She also had an easier day on Monday, in the grupetto with Marianne Vos. But Kool is sprinting really well and also looked great on Sunday. It’s very tight! But I am going to go with Wiebes for the stage (but Kool in the Escape Collective fantasy competition because I picked Wiebes for stage 1 and can’t pick her again; it’s a devastating blow).
Hannah Barnes Pick: I’ve had a look at the route and I would say Lorena is the top pick but Charlotte Kool lost a lot of time on stage 2, I’m not sure if something happened in the race but maybe she’s thinking ahead to tomorrows stage and wanted to put a little in the bank just so she’s firing for tomorrows finish. I think it will be a duel between Lorena and Charlotte, but I think Lorena. She’s got a good squad there to lead her out, a strong one, and I know it’s only 2,000 meters elevation over 145 km or so, but when you’ve got that little bit of extra fitness to get over the climbs a little easier it just saves a little bit for the finish. Top pick for stage 3 is Lorena.
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