stage three Tuesday september 4
Bristol Bristol 128km
Bristol seems to have a knack of hosting Tour of britain stages every other year, the last being the split stage in 2016 where rohan dennis took second place in the time trial and first in the circuit race in the afternoon.
Lay of the land
This year bristol will host both the start and finish of the stage as the out and back loop heads into the north somerset hills before finishing on Clifton down. The climbs of shipham and the iconic Cheddar Gorge could animate the race early on, before the run-in to bristol where the one-kilometre, eight per cent climb of providence Lane will split the field apart if raced fast. With the summit just 7.4 kilometres from the line, the racewinning move could come from here. The rise to the finish line along Clifton down after the riders have crossed Clifton suspension bridge will favour puncheurs.
What to expect
The race’s two previous visits to bristol in 2014 and 2016 illustrate the varying outcomes a finish like this can produce. In the former stage, michal Kwiatkowski left it until late to launch his move climbing the downs to pip earlier escapee albert Timmer on the line, whereas in the latter, rohan dennis was rewarded for going early when he attacked solo at the foot of the climb with 2km to go.
n Pro’s view Ian Bibby, Jlt-condor
“you think a short stage will be easier, but that’s not always the case. Those targeting the GC have to be ready if it kicks off. There’s always one stage where the GC can run way from you.”