Stage 3: Biella-Canale
Date: May 10, 2021
Stage start: 12:30 p.m. CEST
Stage type: Rolling
The third stage in Piemonte looks to be nicely balanced between the sprinters and more punchy riders who will relish the run of short climbs towards the finish in Canale. From the start in Biella, the riders will track south, crossing the route of the second stage as they race through the Po valley once more, passing through the sparkling wine centre of Asti.
Right after the first intermediate sprint at Canelli, the race reaches the northern foothills of the Apennines in the shape of the 8-kilometre ascent of the Bric delle Forche, which marks the start of a very different-looking final 80km into the finish. The third-category Bric delle Forche is soon followed by consecutive fourth-category climbs, rising to Castino and Manera, respectively. Like the first ascent, they’re not particularly steep, but there will be plenty of teams looking to keep the speed high in order to shake out as many sprinters from the bunch as possible.
The second intermediate sprint arrives on the crest of another short climb, this one up to Guarene, just 15km from the finish line in Canale. Halfway there, another short rise, a kilometre long at 7 per cent, will offer the many punchy climbers in the peloton a final opportunity to put some distance between themselves and any sprinters who have managed to hang on.
Once over that final ramp, just five kilometres remain to the finish. If a small group does manage to open up a gap here on what’s likely to be a very reduced and lined-out peloton, there may be too little road left for the teams that have missed out on the break to re-gather their forces and chase the escapees down.