One of the highlights of the Critérium du Dauphiné was today’s time trial stage around Grenoble. The route is identical to Stage 20 of the Tour de France, the crucial final stage before the parade in Paris. So what lessons can we take from today for July?
Here are the results, the top-10 plus a selection of others.
|Tony Martin (Ger) HTC-Highroad
|Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
|Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
|David Zabriskie (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
|Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack
|Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
|Geraint Thomas (GBr) Sky Procycling
|Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
|Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
|Rui Alberto Faria Costa (Por) Movistar Team
|Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre – ISD
|Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur – Sojasun
|Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana
|Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto
|Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
|Christophe Kern (Fra) Team Europcar
|Matthew Busche (USA) Team RadioShack
|Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
|Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
|David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
|Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ
|Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
|Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
|Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale
|Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team
|Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
- An impressive ride by Tony Martin. An obvious favourite for the win today but he’d gone backwards on the climbs earlier in the week, suggesting all wasn’t well. But word is he has actually lost a bit of weight and is biding his time for July, where he wants a solid position on the overall classification. Note he was an early starter and had to face wetter roads than those higher on GC.
- Fabian Cancellara might be looking over his shoulder, perhaps not for the classics but certainly for time trial stages and even the Worlds.
- Bradley Wiggins is in impressive form. For me he’s always better when he’s in the mix of things, his 2009 Tour de France breakthrough came after a season where he rode Paris-Roubaix and the Giro d’Italia. Let’s see how he climbs over the weekend but he himself says his power to weight ratio is on target.
- Boasson-Hagen is back, proving his is a lot more than a fast finisher. When you see his third place today you realise comparisons with John Degenkolb and Peter Sagan are a bit wide of the mark, he can do a lot more.
- As for the rest of the top-10, it’s kind of expected. Riblon is a surprise but he’s got the pedigree to do this.
- If Jérôme Coppel will find his result ok, I’m not sure of Jurgen Van den Broeck or Robert Gesink will be too happy.
- Christophe Kern is worth a mention. Dropped by Cofidis in the winter, he washed up chez Europcar. Today broke his bike and had no replacement time trial bike on the following car, so he finished on a normal road bike. He still beat Gesink and Vacansoleil’s TT specialist Lieuwe Westra.
- David Moncoutié is in good shape. I’d watch for him to take a stage this week and to be ready for a good “farewell” Tour de France in July, possibly taking the King of the Mountains jersey.
- Neither Samuel Sanchez, Luis Léon Sanchez nor Nico Roche will be happy tonight. Losing over three and half minutes today is a blow. Once this race is finished there’s a time to recover and then not that much of a window to work on improvements. Any gains between now and July will be small, improving your fitness by two minutes is a big ask. Their only hope is that this a jour sans… or that they deliberately sat up today, something I find hard to imagine.
- Someone who can’t claim a bad day is Ivan Basso. He’s not looked in form this week at all and today he had a stinker, losing six minutes. Liquigas will now be counting on Peter Sagan in July.
- Overall, note the time gaps. We’re talking two minutes across the top-10 alone. The tricky course with its ever varying gradients and many corners means I’d expect gaps to open up, possibly more given the fatigue of a grand tour. The overall classification could well change on the eve of the Tour de France’s final day. This is a crucial stage for the Tour de France.
- The situation will be different in the Tour de France, it’ll be the 20th day of racing. The French say le fraîcheur counts, being fresh in the final week of the Tour de France. Indeed we often see the climbers turn in a decent performance because they can cope with the racing, it is not so much a test of raw power on the day but stamina after four Saturdays of racing.
An identical course in July… but obviously a very different race. Nevertheless, some riders will sleep well tonight knowing everything is going to plan whilst others might feel their in a race against time to get ready for July.