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Start: Dignes - Les Bains
Finish: Villars - Colmars
Riding Distance - 48.64km
Day three sees Trans- Provence riders have a slightly less arduous day than the epic that is day two. Regardless of that, it's still three hard stages including a brutal hike-a-bike to start the day.
The start of the day sees riders gain 500 vertical meters in less than four kilometers, starting with fire road and then a steep path cut in to the mountainside, the hard breathing and carrying (and no doubt cursing) is rewarded with amazing views across Provence, and in the distance the second special stage of the day (Special Stage 9)
Before any of that though, Trans-Provence competitors first had to negotiate Special stage 8 - a huge drop in elevation, and in classic Trans-Provence style, most types of technical riding thrown into one huge trail!
From the col an open section led through open loose rock singletrack and switchbacks, before plunging into leaf filled woodland, similar to something you may find on a dry day in the south of England.
The riders were then spat out into open meadowland all to briefly before finding themselves in a long rock chute of singletrack that threw them down to the valley floor. After cresting one more updulation™ (Trans-Provencers who have been part of the event since the first year are used to Ash's various ways of describing climbs without saying the word climb) the trail finally plummeted down to the timing belise and a chance to breathe.
After the feed station Special Stage 9 was a combination of woodland and rock gardens, before a hard fire road climb that lead to an open rock river bed through pine forest. Fast and not as technical as most stages, the climb in the middle ring meant that the stage really suited fit riders not just good technical ones.
The final stage of day three was more of what any one that loves mountain biking would ask for. Fast flowing open sections through the top stage, with a feeling of exposure, before pine forest loam curled down to a riverside trail, and the end of another hard days riding
As always today has been about great trails in beautiful country, but day three also passes a major watershed and begins our journey in to the higher Maritime Alps, as can be seen by tomorrows amazing start of day four with a 2000 meter drop from col du champs.
Top Ten Men Day 3
01 25 WEIR Mark 00:07:58 00:11:30 00:07:22 00:26:50
02 26 CRUZ Ben 00:07:56 00:11:24 00:07:35 00:26:55
03 12 CLEMENTZ Jérôme 00:07:53 00:11:47 00:07:25 00:27:05
04 36 RYAN Matt 00:07:51 00:12:19 00:07:30 00:27:40
05 35 VOUILLOZ Nicolas 00:08:10 00:11:59 00:07:38 00:27:47
06 06 BAREL Fabien 00:07:56 00:12:37 00:07:35 00:28:08
07 34 HESTLER Andreas 00:08:56 00:13:03 00:08:03 00:30:02
08 30 SORRELL Rowan 00:08:13 00:14:02 00:08:31 00:30:46
09 20 RICHARDS James 00:08:42 00:14:05 00:08:11 00:30:58
10 56 MATHEWS Iain 00:09:17 00:13:16 00:08:28 00:31:01