Tour de France 2014: Stage 3 preview with Chris Boardman

A look ahead to the 155km stage between Cambridge and London

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The Independent Online

Stage 3 heads from the imposing medieval architecture of Cambridge through the bucolic environment of Saffron Walden, before wending its way to a no doubt explosive finish on The Mall.

That’s the same location as hosted the Grand Départ in 2007 and the climax of the London 2012 Olympic road race- and the sprinters should make it a stage fit for the monarch who lives at the end of the road. It’s a flat route through the Cambridgeshire and Essex countryside that passes by the Olympic Park as it enters east London- not one for Chris Froome and his yellow jersey rivals, but an enticing prospect for Mark Cavendish and the pretenders to his throne.

When the Tour began on The Mall in 2007 it was a very different type of stage: a prologue of only 7 kilometres that was won by time-trial specialist Fabian Cancellara. This time, the level terrain and relatively benign distance should ensure a frenetic bunch finish, provided that the inevitable plucky breakaway riders are caught as they should be long before the line. The only danger on a seemingly fairly benign stage may come from the imposing Cambridge architecture- the peloton will have to keep its eyes on the road as it passes the famous University colleges of Trinity and King's.

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Watch previews for all 21 stages of the 2014 Tour de France on The Independent in the coming days.