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Step 3: Vejle to Sonberborg
Date: July 3, 2022
Timing of the stage: 13:05 – 17:15 CET
Step Type: Apartment
The final stage of the Danish Grand Départ starts in Vejle, the annual host city of a hilly stage of the Tour of Denmark, and ends in Sønderborg after 182 km through southern Jutland. From Sønderborg airport, the Tour will travel to the North of France by charter plane to resume the race in Dunkirk after a day’s rest.
The peloton will start the stage by looping northwest of Vejle to visit Jelling, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with two rune stones, burial mounds, a stone ship, one of the oldest churches of Denmark and the probably court of Harald Bluetooth, the first Christian king of Denmark. Passing through Vejle again, the first classified ascent of the day arrives at Koldingvej after 27 km.
The next town on the road is Kolding, hometown of Kasper Asgreen (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl). Continuing south, the race passes Skamlingsbanken, the highest point in South Jutland, but not a graded climb due to the low gradient. Instead, the second classified ascent takes place in Hejlsminde Strand, followed shortly after by the intermediate sprint in Christiansfeld.
Christiansfeld was founded as a planned town by the Moravian Brethren in 1773 and is named after Danish King Christian VII. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and tourist destination due to the 18th century architecture and famous for its honey cakes, Christiansfelder snitters.
After crossing Haderslev with a short section of urban cobbles in the middle, the third classified ascent arrives at Genner Strand after 123 km, followed by the passage through Aabenraa. Turning southeast, the race passes Gråsten Palace, the summer residence of the Danish Royal Family, then heads east towards Sønderborg.
Just before reaching the town, the peloton will pass Dybbøl Banke, site of the Battle of Dybbøl in 1864, and Dybbøl Mølle, the white windmill that has become a Danish national symbol. In Sønderborg, the race crosses the Kong Christian den Xs Bro bridge – painted yellow for the occasion – to the island of Als, passing through the city’s port before entering a ring road for the last six kilometers, turning on the finish straight with 800 meters to go.
This stage is definitely a stage for sprinters as it presents no major difficulties, and the long run-in on the ring road is tailor-made for the sprint trains to line up and wind up the last attackers, if necessary. Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Søren Kragh Andersen (Team DSM) and Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easypost) are three Danes who will try their luck in the sprint, but the big favorites are the best sprinters in the race, from Fabio Jakobsen ( QuickStep-AlphaVinyl), Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) to Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) and Alexander Kristoff (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux).