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Critérium Dauphiné Stage 4 Preview

The time trial stage to separate the GC contenders, a decisive day in this stage race.

Bennett scores: a rainy day and a bunch sprint, not much to write home about. Sam Bennett won an convincingly so. Dropped off by his leadout Shane Archbold, Bennett launched from the peloton to finish lengths clear. It’s a reminder that sprinting can be a team sport, especially seeing riders like Hodeg and Greipel cast adrift in the final kilometre.

The Route (updated midday): 26km, that’s almost a long distance event in today’s currency. Starting and finishing in Roanne, a town that once thrived thanks to canals – the internet of their day – and known in cycling circles for its amateur team that has helped the likes of Nick Schultz and Arthur Vichot into the pro ranks. It’s not a technical course, there are long straight sections of road. It’s a long straight line out to the climb and then a right turn in the town of Saint Alban and the road pitches up and climbs via a small road into woodland with some steady 7% slopes. The descent is longer and not as steep, it can be ridden fast and taking the right line can save time and both the recon and rally co-pilot style instructions from the team can help with a few seconds here. Then it’s back on the big roads to Roanne.

The Contenders: Chris Froome is the obvious pick, he’s won time trial stages of the Tour de France before and has made putting minutes into the climbers in the TT his modus operandi to winning grand tours. We’ll see if his form is there and his Ineos team mates Michał Kwiatkowski, Vasil Kiryienka and possibly Gianni Moscon could win if not Froome and Dylan van Baarle is handy too.

Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) would be the obvious pick but his form’s a bit off, still he’s one to watch. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) won the TT stage here in 2017 but doesn’t look to be in peak form yet. Jacob Fuglsang (Astana) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) look to be in great form but staying in contention is probably the big goal ahead of the stage win. Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) could be close too.

Katusha-Alpecin’s Alex Dowsett and Nils Politt are contenders for the stage win. Dowsett is the TT specialist but hasn’t win since 2017 while Politt has looked strong this week and was second in the Paris-Nice TT but both could lose time on the climb today. One outsider could have been Nelson Oliveira of Movistar but he went home yesterday. Deceuninck-Quickstep’s Rémi Cavagna is a TT specialist but was in the breakaway two days ago and was working for Hodeg yesterday. CCC’s Joey Rosskopf could set a good time too.

Finally Wout van Aert was second yesterday in the bunch sprint, third in Sunday’s opening stage and he’s good at TT’s too, he’d prefer a more technical course with sharp corners to power out of but if he’s in the top-10 again it won’t be a surprise.

Chris Froome
Tom Dumoulin, Michał Kwiatkowski
Kiryienka, Porte, van Garderen, Moscon, Politt, van Aert, Fuglsang, Rosskopf, Dowsett

Weather: sunny and 21°C with the wind from the south rising to 20km/h for the late starters

TV: it’s a TT but if you want to watch, the first rider is off at 1.15pm, coverage starts at 3.00pm and Dylan Teuns will leave the start at 4.58 CEST / Euro time.

{ 57 comments… add one }
  • Matt Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 6:28 am

    Hello! Thought I’d let you know that I’m very much enjoying these previews, so keep up the good work. On another note: have you had any chance to check out the field for the Tour of Belgium, and if so, what are your thoughts? I see the bookies have Wellens and Evenepoel as joint favorites, but would be great to learn your take on that race as well.
    Kind regards,
    Matt

    • Cedrik Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 7:20 am

      Hey Matt, Take your spam elsewhere.

      • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 9:33 am

        It’s not the usual spam attempt to include a link back their business, it’s ok. As for the Tour of Belgium, no idea, sorry.

  • RQS Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 7:27 am

    Small typo in the first sentence ‘and’.

    Was watching the post-race interviews. Van Aert seems to be slowly being set-up as the next Eddy Merkyx without him winning too much as they made a lot out of his second place. ‘Van Aert can sprint! Van Aert can TT! Van Aert can do classics!” There’s no doubt he’s a great talent, but until he gets some consistency with winning it all seems a bit premature. Maybe his nationality doesn’t help when holding him up, the comparison will always be Merkyx and not, say, Sagan. But surely Sagan’s career road map is a better fit and something Van Aert can more readily aspire too?! There will only ever be one Merkyx and that is because of the time and space he operated in. A modern Merkyx could not exist. Anyway, it just feels like a lot is being put on the young man when they should be giving time and space.
    From the POV of his career it’s hard to see how Jumbo-Visma was the right choice when Decaunick-Quick Step would probably give him better support. But maybe they weren’t so interested. JV isn’t for ever I suppose.

    • Not yoda Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 7:36 am

      Call it cliches. Belgian press will tack the Merckx label to any rider that gets within 10 m of the podium 😝

      • RQS Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 8:02 am

        Having pointed out the typo I’ve spelt Merckx’s name wrong about ten times. But people don’t visit to read my comments. Though the real crime is that I knew it but was too tired to check.
        Van Aert’s problem is that he could soon be eclipsed by Van Poel, and in some senses already has.

        • KevinK Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 8:33 am

          Another typo, it’s Van der Poel. 😉 By the way, I agree with both your points, about Sagan/Merckx, and Van Aert.

      • Paul Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 9:18 am

        Only half of them…..

    • Gervais Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 3:05 pm

      I have been following the carreer of WVA for a long time and he has never been compared to Merkx
      He’s been called the next Liboton, the next Eric de Vlaeminck, the next Sven Nys after that they compared him to Museeuw and Boonen. He as been the next one since his jr days with Telenet Fidea
      So far he as always responded well .Also him and Mathieu have been racing against each other since they where kids and when it counts Wout as beaten him many times.

    • Peter vdh Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 7:39 pm

      Solid win by Wout Van Aert today. And yet, still no comparisons to Merckx in the Belgian press. Not even once … Very disappointing 😉

      • Gervais Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 9:49 pm

        Everyone knows that Remco Evenpoel is the next Merckx 🙃

        • Paul Thursday, 13 June 2019, 5:55 pm

          + 1 Pidcock, Revenpoel, Adrian and And Wout the future is bright

  • David P Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 8:19 am

    “It’s a TT, but if you want to watch” sums it up brilliantly

  • KevinK Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 8:36 am

    Bennett was a man among boys yesterday, going into the wind fairly early, and easily pulling away from the sprinters who tried to grab his wheel. I keep thinking of scenarios where Bora keeps him, but it doesn’t appear that will happen. What’s really baffling to me is the recent rumors that Bora (via Specialized) is making a move for Viviani. Can someone explain any of that to me?

    • cefi Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 9:13 am

      Well one scenario is, that if Sagan gets his record breaking 7th Green Jersey this year, he will stop trying to do all the sprints at the Tour, and will instead just focus on selected stages like GvA, or Matthews did in the past. I mean, he cannot go for green forever anyway, and I guess he would also lose the motivation a bit, once he has the record alone. So that would free the space for another Bora sprinter at the Tour. Sure, there would still be Ackermann, but still better situation for Bennett than now.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 9:46 am

      I suspect the “Viviani to Bora” story was probably a ruse to put pressure on Deceuninck to keep Viviani’s spot in the Tour de France after a poor Giro. Bennett should move but which teams have space for a sprinter in the Tour de France on their roster? (Bahrain, CCC, Katusha-Alpecin, EF, Di Data? Or do Cofidis make him a millionaire like they did with Bouhanni?)

      • Paddy Dunne Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 10:19 am

        Sam is in such a tough position. It must be a difficult situation. Does he show loyalty and be rewarded with fewer opportunities or move on. I’d really like to see him at Cofidis. Cedric Vasseur is steadily making good changes and if they had a proper top flight sprinter competing on the biggest stages, what a coup that would be. Be worried if he went Di Data they won’t be around that long as an outfit

        • Davesta Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 12:52 pm

          Bennett has certainly been a victim of unlucky timing – when Bora took over the team, Bennett was very much an ‘up and coming’ / ‘2nd tier’ (depending on your point of view!) sprinter. Good for wins in smaller races like the Turkey, Slovenia, Qatar etc, but hadn’t achieved results in the bigger races and especially Grand Tours. Of course, Bora signed Ackermann at the same time, being the homegrown (German) talent…

          Since then, obviously both riders have gone on to achieve some great results – multiple stages each in the Giro in consecutive years, along with other WT stages in Paris-Nice, Dauphine, Romandie etc…

          From Bora’s point of view, this sudden success is probably something of a surprise and has left them with not enough races to share between the two (with Sagan also taking his pick of races at TdF, California, MSR etc). If Bennett had progressed and Ackermann had stalled, for example, then Bennett would probably have a very enviable race programme…as it is, I’m sure Bora would love to keep both Bennett & Ackermann but know that it’s likely impossible. And with Ackermann being the home rider, I expect he’ll take preference…

          I’d love to see him move to EF – they’re certainly in need of a sprinter and are a team that seem to now be finding their way & building a good atmosphere and support network.

      • KevinK Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 11:48 am

        That makes sense that it was a ruse, otherwise it’s bizarre, esp. since there are some big prizes that both Sagan and Viviani both very much want. As for Bennett, despite being the odd man out, he’s still getting in good races, still getting great support, and winning an impressive number of races. I could see him going to one of the WT teams mentioned and despite getting the TdF, not winning as consistently or as impressively. And isn’t Cofidis pretty much positioning Laporte to be their big sprinter? PCS says he’s signed through 2021.

        I agree with cefi that there may be room for Sagan and a dedicated sprinter in the same tour. He and Bennett have already done that once, and Sagan seems to be evolving away from being a serious contender in pure sprint stages. Plus he’s much less dependent on a sprint train, and having both Ackermann and Sagan, or Bennett and Sagan, in the same grand tour would give opposing teams nightmares.

        • R Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 12:08 pm

          On the one hand, I feel that Bennett is being treated pretty harshly by Bora, essentially replacing him even though he’s been a pretty good success story. But on the other hand, he’s still got a good calendar of races this year for a guy who they may seem to be forcing out.

          He’s racking up the WT wins across the whole of the year and should have some decent options when looking for a new team. I’d still be interested to see how he fares at the Tour against the fastest (probably Greonewegen & Viviani these days?). But I think he’s earned a shot at that, at the very least.

      • Ferdi Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 1:13 pm

        Ineos, Astana or Movistar.

  • Richard S Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 8:55 am

    When was the last time there was a time trial, anywhere in the world, without a climb in the middle of it? It’s getting to be a cliche.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 10:00 am

      One thing to note is people are making comparisons with the Tour de France TT, Stage 13, as the distance is similar but the courses are different, today’s it’s much faster and more obvious with the main climb in the middle, compared to the Pau course which goes up and down a lot but without a central climb.

    • Jacob Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 11:54 am

      I agree. A good oldfashioned flat time trial of 30-40 km would be nice.
      It’s as if you’re not allowed to favour the powerful guys.

    • Andy W Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 12:24 pm

      Yeah, can you do something about that damn motorway bridge on our Wednesday night club 10 ?

  • DJW Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 10:03 am

    Surely over 300m of irregular ascent in 11kms is enough to exclude the heavier pure TT specialists (Dowsett…) from the favourites list, and to include the climbers with TT ability. Pinot seems to fall into the latter category : climbing and some TT talent, form, ambition, confidence… What could go wrong?

  • Gareth Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 10:41 am

    Woods is looking very strong, I wonder if he has made any progress on the TTs. I’m thinking a sneaky each way on him for the tour, he is over 300 – 1 and definitely seems to have the uphill engine, it’s just his team and time trialling I doubt.

    • Andy W Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 12:23 pm

      Read Phil Gaimon’s “Draft Animals” for more about ‘Rusty’ Woods : I became a fan

  • TheSquid Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 11:28 am

    You do a great job with the recaps and previews. They are very much appreciated!

  • Andy W Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 12:35 pm

    Will be interesting re the Sk…err Ineos guys – Kiryienka & Kwiatkowski are certainly capable of winning, but will they soft-pedal it round because their job is simply there as doms for Froome ?
    Or will they take the view that 26km is not going to wreck their legs for the rest of the week and a performance today does matter to them ?

    This is a bit different in that it’s only a 1 week race and it’s midweek, but always amuses me in the ITTs at the GTs that perhaps there are only a handful of guys out of 150 trying : the GT contenders because they’re after the win or podium position, the TT specialists because it’s their stage, some young guns trying to get noticed – but the vast majority of the field just want to get round it without knackering their legs for the days to come if it’s early-on, or like the one at the end of the Giro a couple of weeks ago they just want to go home.

  • Kevin Smith Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 1:52 pm

    Froome out after a recon crash. Taken to hospital.

    At this very early stage he must be a doubt for the Tour.

    • Anonymous Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 2:04 pm

      Seriously, not another recon crash?

    • jc Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 2:07 pm

      As always the most innocuous stage can cause a problem. Without more info impossible to know whether the hospital trip is just a sensible precaution or something more serious.

    • Mattgc Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 3:02 pm

      Now confirmed he has a broken leg, wont be at Le Tour

      • jc Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 3:10 pm

        Seems like an unusual crash where you sustain a broken leg whilst cycling on your own.

        • Anonymous Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 4:39 pm

          Whilst hitting a wall!!

        • motormouth Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 4:47 pm

          he was apparently at high speed (blowing his nose?) when he lost his front wheel.

          https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8941496

          • hoh Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 9:30 pm

            Seriously, doping insinuation now?

            Bone loss or not, you break something when you hit a wall at 60 km/h

          • motormouth Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 10:42 pm

            hoh– I didn’t mean to include that link when I committed my finalized comment, but can’t edit it out. I decided to keep that aspect of my reaction to myself.

            and I agree it seems to not be totally uncommon for cyclists to break femurs (maybe due to position on the bike) in serious crashes, but the femur is generally one of our strongest bones. if the crash was at speed then it’s not surprising. my apologies.

      • Mattgc Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 3:33 pm

        CN getting ahead of itself, suspected fractured femur but not likely to be at the tour according to @friebos

        • bmj Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 3:44 pm

          That sound you hear is Thomas breathing a sigh of relief, as he knows he’ll be the protected rider in July.

          • Mattgc Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 4:06 pm

            36 TT KMs and 18 TTT KMs at the Vuelta.
            Froome vs Roglic?

          • MJJ Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 4:36 pm

            Brailsford has already said Froome will be out for a long time. Hopefully he can fully recover and be back next year.

          • hoh Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 9:31 pm

            Unless Roglic want to pull a Velverde and do 3 GTs in a year.

          • Cd Thursday, 13 June 2019, 12:03 am

            Roglic isn’t riding Le Tour

          • Mattgc Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 5:19 pm

            I’d be surprised if he makes it back for the Vuelta.
            This should give DuMoulin all the encouragement he needs to get himself fit for the TdF.

  • Steve F. Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 2:32 pm

    Dowsett seems to have changed himself from a pure TT specialist into a lead-out man for Kittel (who?) and lost his TT mojo in the process so I’d be surprised to see him feature.

  • Jeff Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 4:10 pm

    Does Froome’s crash mean that Thomas is now the undisputed leader, or is Egan Bernal in the mix too?

    • Jeff Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 4:10 pm

      *At the Tour de France*

    • Anonymous Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 6:57 pm

      Which answer do you expect now? I’m not Brailsford, and I don’t know if he’s reading this blog.
      But what I do know, is even if, he won’t tell you. You have to wait and see then, like we all do…

    • Motormouth Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 7:33 pm

      I don’t see how thomas couldn’t be named leader, and still ride for Ineos. he’s the defending champ, it was bad enough Brailsford kicked dirt in his face in the first place. unless they both have questions on his form (to be confirmed in tds).

      • Cd Thursday, 13 June 2019, 12:04 am

        Agreed. Bernal will be the super helper on the climbs. He’s so young still he can be the leader in the future.

      • Vitus Thursday, 13 June 2019, 12:33 am

        Of course Thomas will be the leader. Unless the race tell otherwise or he crashes out of TdS too.
        I have no doubt Bernal hs future GT winner potential. But I don’t understand some talks about him being podium or even winner contender before the Giro and now for the Tour. He is 22 and did one GT so far, which he finished 15th, behind his teammates Thomas and Froome. He had no burden then, other than top domestique.
        Nobody knows how he will stand a team leader position or jersey defending role in a 3 week race at the moment. We’ve seen so many hyped top domestiques who never made it when they were in a leading role. Give the kid some time. He could make the podium, but he’s not a favorite to me amongst many more experienced GT riders.

  • jc Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 5:34 pm

    From the details that are now emerging it sounds very serious, crashing into a wall at 60 kph is going to do a lot of damage. It is very early days but there must be some concern about whether he can ever really recover from this. Dave Brailsford, unsurprisingly, sounds very shaken. It does show the risks the riders take.

    • Cassandra Wednesday, 12 June 2019, 9:29 pm

      Let’s hope that even the haters can find some kindness and wish him well

    • Steve Thursday, 13 June 2019, 12:20 am

      Agreed. Some humanity would be in order, as it should always be for any rider who pays for the risks they take to entertain us all.

  • GazelleCM Thursday, 13 June 2019, 5:52 am

    Wishing Froome a speedy recovery. Unfortunate combination of circumstances, high speed, less stable TT bike, high wind and deep rim front wheel, nose blowing.

    The multiple broken bones make a return to cycling as a contender in topraces this year uncertain( also considering his age). I hope he can find the perseverance and energy to start a new.

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