Stage 3 of the 2014 Tour de France will be the final stage on British soil, and the historic roads of Cambridge and London will give the peloton another golden opportunity to finish the day with a mass sprint.
Unlike Stage 2, which had the profile of a Flemish classic with a number of short, steep hills, Monday's stage will feature wide-open roads, lots of flats and a finale in the heart of the British capital.
The finish line will be on The Mall, almost a precursor of what's to come in a couple of weeks, when the Tour will end its final stage on the legendary Champs-Elysees.
Date: Monday 7 July
Distance: 155 km
TV info and live stream: NBCSN (for U.S. viewers) and ITV4 (for U.K. viewers) will be broadcasting every stage of the 2014 Tour de France, with mobile coverage available via NBC Sports' Live Extra and the ITV Player app.
|2||Greg Van Avermaet||Belgium||BMC Racing||+2 seconds|
|3||Michal Kwiatkowski||Poland||Omega||Same Time|
|4||Peter Sagan||Slovakia||Cannondale||Same Time|
|5||Tony Gallopin||France||Lotto||Same Time|
|6||Michael Albasini||Switzerland||GreenEDGE||Same Time|
|7||Andrew Talansky||USA||Garmin||Same Time|
|8||Bauke Mollema||Netherlands||Belkin||Same Time|
|9||Tejay Van Garderen||USA||BMC Racing||Same Time|
|10||Romain Bardet||France||AG2R La Mondiale||Same Time|
|4||Greg Van Avermaet||BMC Racing||31|
|2||Blel Kadri||AG2R La Mondiale||5|
Stage 3 will start in the heart of Cambridge, where the pack will head South towards Essex and the capital city of London. It's a short stage that will give the riders a chance to spin their legs ahead of the trip to the European mainland, with the biggest attractions being some of the sights the peloton will encounter in London.
Passing close to Chelmsford, the riders will turn west towards Epping and the Queen Victoria Olympia Park. Canary Wharf is next on the schedule, and from there it's a straight line past a number of iconic landmarks, including the Tower of London and Trafalgar Square, onto the finish line at The Mall.
This stage had Mark Cavendish's name written all over it, but as shared by the Daily Mail's Matt Lawton, the local hero didn't start Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour:
Sad news on Cavendish. Tour will lose a bit of the excitement he creates in his absence.— Matt Lawton (@Matt_Lawton_DM) July 6, 2014
Omega Pharma-Quick Step had built a phenomenal sprint train for Cavendish, and in his absence, it's unclear who will take the reins from here.
Peter Sagan is the leader in the race for the green jersey, but the open sprint on The Mall doesn't fit his strengths as well as he'd like. Marcel Kittel won the opening stage, and the German is best built for this kind of classic mass sprint.
Monday's stage is short enough to give riders making an early jump a chance, but there is little shelter from the wind on the roads of Essex, giving the peloton a tremendous advantage as it chases down any early birds.
Vincenzo Nibali timed his jump perfectly on Sunday, but the streets of London will give riders little opportunities to do the same. There are few natural elevations, and the peloton will keep the pace very high in the final half-hour of racing.
A mass sprint seems almost inevitable, with the usual suspects taking the lead role. Kittel, Sagan and Bryan Coquard all look to be in great shape, but look for Kittel to win his second stage of the 2014 Tour de France.