PREVIEW | Volta a Catalunya 2023 stage 3 - Roglic, Evenepoel and Ciccone expected to battle for second consecutive summit finish

Preview. Stage 3 of the Volta a Catalunya will be another day in the mountains. The battle for the overall classification is fully open, the likes of Primoz Roglic, Remco Evenepoel and Giulio Ciccone will be the main favourites for the summit finish at La Molina.

Over the past few years the stage to La Molina has proven to be one of the most frequent. All the riders who've been at the race will know what to expect, it's a tricky mountain stage. 4000 meters of climbing, it's a true high mountain day that starts in Olost and features some slight ascents in the first half. But there will be a sequence of three very different climbs that will be important on the day.

Start and finish time Stage 3: 12:05 - 17:00CET

Stage 3: Olost – La Molina, 180.6 kilometers
Stage 3: Olost – La Molina, 180.6 kilometers

Firstly a climb with 12.6 kilometers averaging 5.5% that finishes with 84 kilometers. Then after a slight descent the stage will feature the 18.5-kilometer ascent of the Coll de la Creueta, which averages 4.9% but has a small descent in it's early section. It is unlikely to see meaningful moves but it will cause quite a lot of damage in the peloton, ending with 34 kilometers to go and at 1900 meters of altitude.

Then after a descent comes La Molina. A climb split in two, with the first part having 8 kilometers at 6.4%, where attacks are expected. There's a good chance a large group of climbers will pull through though, and instead battle the win out in the final explosive hilltop. Often a group sprint decided the stage but the day overall will be harder this year. The toughest gradients however come just before the finish line so that scenario may play out again.

La Molina: 12.2Km; 4.4%
La Molina: 12.2Km; 4.4%

The Weather

Map Volta a Catalunya 2023 stage 3  
Map Volta a Catalunya 2023 stage 3  

Good moderate temperatures and a slight southern breeze. Again, a day which should not see too much effect from the weather conditions.

The Favourites

Primoz Roglic - Roglic did what he had to today, staying in the wheel of his rivals. The attacks weren't brutal, but he's in my opinion proven himself whole today. This was a hard stage to tackle but having matched the best he's now the man to beat for the overall classification, and continues in the race lead.

Remco Evenepoel - This is a climb that suits Evenepoel very well, but simultaneously one where it's hard to make gaps. The World Champion looks too excited to grab a stage win, he was very frustrated on stage 1, and today he overexposed himself to bring back Chaves. Bad strategy in my opinion, but something which he can change tomorrow, and he's got strong support in van Wilder.

Giulio Ciccone - Ciccone has put on the performance Trek dreamed of. I had talked of his consistency and how dangerous he currently looks, and today he's put it all together. Having a sprint strong enough to beat the other two, the Italian will be quite dangerous, specially as he will continue to be a relative "outsider" in the battle for the overall win as he's besides two goliaths.

UAE - João Almeida has had very bad luck suffering a mechanical in the climb. He proved great form the way he recovered. However their tactics were quite weird, with Marc Soler and Adam Yates alongside but neither sacrificing themselves for the GC goal. At the same time they were both below the Top3 quite a bit. With good tactics and early attacks I would not be surprised to see them win this one.

Esteban Chaves - Chaves frequently rides well in Catalunya and proved it again today. Now he's certainly the leader of EF. The summit won't be as well suited, however he certainly won't repeat his early attack. With better timing and a more conservative race he may have the necessary explosivity for a late attack or sprint into the wind.

Mikel Landa - Bahrain are strong, they know it, but they were too ambitious. A type of racing I respect and love, but it's not their position to attack the race by pace at the time being. Mäder, Poels and Haig all rode to death to set up Landa. They could take a win with a breakaway on this day, or attack at the base of the climb to then try and bridge across. As for Landa this isn't a climb of his type, he will most likely be more conservative and wait for Tortosa.

Michael Woods will be an interesting rider in a punchy finish, he's back to his best form and that's a positive surprise. BORA have Jai Hindley and Cian Uijtdebroeks and could try to surprise with their use of cards. Einer Rubio, Rein Taaramäe and Lenny Martinez finished just outside the Top10 today and are expected to be there.

When it comes to breakaway possibilities I figure it's already possible at this point of the race. The summit finish isn't too hard and many riders may not want to take the risk. It could also depend on some climbers shrugging off a bad day. Geraint Thomas, Richard Carapaz are ambitious riders and would not have anything to lose by risking a breakaway. Guillaume Martin and riders such as Juan Pedro Lopez and Dylan Teuns could also thrive if they have a good day here, as they should have more freedom.

Prediction Volta a Catalunya 2023 stage 3:

*** Primoz Roglic, Giulio Ciccone, Remco Evenepoel
** João Almeida, Adam Yates
* Mikel Landa, Esteban Chaves, Wout Poels, Jack Haig, Michael Woods

Pick: Primoz Roglic

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