The Queen Stage. The battle for the GC heats up on Sunday’s stage at the Exergy Tour.
“Definitely I think the hardest day of climbing, in the mountains.” said US Road National Champion Robin Farina (NOW and Novartis for MS) about stage 3. “It will definitely be a decisive day for the GC.”
Farina shared her insights prior to the start of the five-day stage race after she and her team pre-rode all the stages.
After a transfer of over an hour, the field will climb 4520 feet (1,377 meters) as they race 57.8 miles from Crouch to Idaho City.
“It’s a very beautiful course, it’s not narrow roads but it’s more mountainous, you’re twisting and turning, it’s actually just quite lovely.” Farina commented.
The course follows the river as it heads out of Crouch. “It’s a nice little fast start and then it basically goes up. When you take a left turn, it’s basically up for the rest of the race until you get to that second QOM.”
The first difficulty is an uncategorized climb at mile 17 which Farina described as “harder than it looks.”
“A highway-grade climb.” she said of the first “bump” on the profile. “I think if you’re not prepared to climb, that could be a split there already. Not a super fast descent but there is a little bit of a descent on the backside and then you head into Lowman where you take a hard right, and it starts to kick.”
The first QOM is a 10-mile climb. “And it continues to kick for about 10 miles. The road gets a little bit more narrow, it’s more in the treeline, it’s beautiful and you just climb up, up, up. That’s where I think this race will come apart for most of the peloton. I think most people will be able to hang on over that first climb but then after that all the climbers are going to just start accelerating. It flattens out a little bit when you near the top but it’s still definitely climbing.”
“The downhill off that is not even significant enough I think. If there’s a group away they’re probably going to stay away and they’re going to crest over that.” she said about the second QOM which follows 10 miles later. “Coming into the downhill, it’s fast but it’s still pedaling. I don’t think a peloton is going to be strong enough to bring it back on that descent.”
A break could stay away to the finish. “I don’t know if a solo rider can keep away because it is a lot of pedaling, but I think a smaller breakaway can go and stay away if they have strong riders, if they’re motivated they can stay away.
After two days of rain, the forecast calls for 30% chance of showers with highs in the low 50s F and winds from the NW at 15 mph.
Stage 3 details:
- Length: 57.8 miles (93.0 km)
- Climbing: 4520 feet (1,377 meters)
- Start time: 12:00 pm (noon) MDT
- Finish time (ETA): 3:00 pm MDT
- 2 QOMs at miles 33.8 and 44.8
- points 7 deep (10, 9, 7, 6, 5, 4 & 2 points)
- 1 intermediate sprint for points (5, 3, 1) and time bonus (3, 2 & 1 sec)
- at mile 11.3
- time bonus (10, 6 and 4 seconds)
- sprint points 10 deep (15, 12, 10, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 & 1 points)