New Names in the Dauphiné

Read the results and you can see who won yesterday but also who might win tomorrow. Yesterday’s stage of the Dauphiné saw several promising riders in the top-20.

Wilco Kelderman is not a new name but his third place on the Col du Béal – or first behind the Froome-Contador duel – was very impressive. He’s just ridden the Giro and normally a young rider would be tired. I suspect the Dutchman is going to find every passing day in the Dauphiné harder and harder as fatigue accumulates like compound interest, the more tired you are then the more tired you’re going to get. Kelderman – “Cellar Man” in Dutch – made a name for himself in the 2012 Dauphiné with its monster 53km time trial. That was the day Bradley Wiggins won and Andy Schleck crashed. There can be mitigating factors in a time trial like the start time but over that distance there was no hiding. Come 2013 and I picked him as a rider to watch and he did well but quietly, fifth overall in the Tour de Romandie and taking the Tour of Denmark. This year results could have been different had he not punctured in Paris-Nice at the foot of the Mur de Fayence, an event which surely cost him a high GC finish, perhaps a podium? He made up for it in the Giro with a solid seventh place. As for the future, his contract is up and Belkin’s budget might not stretch to keeping him alongside Bauke Mollema, Robert Gesink and Laurens Ten Dam.

Yates to the Tour de France?
If Kelderman has been around for a while, Adam Yates is a first year neo-pro. Eighth on the Col du Béal, last year he finished second overall in the Tour de l’Avenir but it’s the start of the season that stands out. Best young rider in the Tour de San Luis he then won the Tour of Turkey overall. Impressive for a 21 year old. People are now talking about him riding the Tour but forget it. Yes the Tour starts in Britain but the “line up a local” gambit is presumably below Orica-Greenedge. They are not short of riders for July and even if they were, Yates is a 21 year old with a busy season already. He deserves a good break.

He’s not in the Dauphiné but Sam Bennett could ride the Tour de France. His case is different because NetApp-Endura might welcome the publicity in the first week, a sprinter will be very visible and if they’re a good team, they’re not packed with star names. But still, as good as the Irish rider is the publicity is likely to come from him finishing, say, fifth as challenging the likes of Marcel Kittel, André Greipel and Mark Cavendish is a work-in-progress.

Back to the Col du Béal and IAM’s Sébastien Reichenbach (“rye-shen-back”) was one place behind Yates. Last year he won the Trofeo Matteotti and was fourth in the mountainous Tour de l’Ain. He was just outside the top-20 in the Ardennes classics, not results to make the front page in his Switzerland but decent for a second year pro. A pure climber we should see more of him this week and possibly in the Tour de France.

Kenny Elissonde was 12th yesterday and famous already as the stage winner on the Angliru. A pure climber he probably found the Col du Béal wasn’t steep enough yesterday. In fact he might not be riding the Tour de France because it’s not mountainous enough. It didn’t cause any ripples but Tony Gallopin’s 15th place was impressive for a rider who’s often taken for a sprinter in the finisseur mold, a rider who excels in hilly classics. Clearly there’s more under the bonnet than a fast finish.

Finally there’s a rider who could not shine yesterday so he won today’s stage instead. Giant-Shimano’s Nikias Arndt is only 22 but has won many sprints in the amateur ranks. In his first year as a pro he had two top-3s in the Tour of Turkey, “helped” because Marcel Kittel crashed out and so the German had to take over. Later on he finished the Vuelta with third place on the final stage. Today marked his first pro win after two second places this year. He’s not related to 2004 World Champion Judith.

I wanted to explore a few of the names in the mix yesterday and try an answer to the “should Yates ride the Tour” question I’ve got by email, comments and Twitter but all this would run to too many words for the preview. To pre-empt any comments, yes Andrew Talansky is doing very well but is 25 and already into his fourth season and Bob Jungels is still a neo-pro too as the label applies to riders in the first two years.

These are just a few names we’ve seen in and around the Dauphiné and on just two stages. There’s nothing unique about the Dauphiné but the combination of a tough summit finish and a field full of Tour de France contenders does mean there’s little left to chance. But there’s only so much room at the top: more riders are tipped for the top than make it there. The names above are already thriving.

19 thoughts on “New Names in the Dauphiné”

  1. Very true re Orica Greenedge. At the Tour de France they will target flat stages probably with Michael Matthews and intermediate stages with Gerrans/Impey/Albasini; with no GC rider, taking a neopro climber makes no sense. If OGE do sign a genuine GC contender for next year be it Wiggins, Kelderman or whoever else, then you might see younger guys like Yates and Chaves selected for grand tours, but as they’re current strategy is giving them such great results there’s no reason to change it.

  2. “As for the future, his contract is up and Belkin’s budget might not stretch to keeping him alongside Bauke Mollema, Robert Gesink and Laurens Ten Dam.”

    The budget might not be the only thing in consideration there. Belkin is an American sponsor, aiming at the international market, but as you can see by those four names the cycling team is maybe even more Dutch oriented than in its Rabobank days. Actually I was surprised they did not sign some American riders this winter. Giant-Shimano on the other hand is a Dutch team with only one somewhat notable Dutch rider (Dumoulin), so you’d think they’d be interested in signing a rider like Kelderman. That is if Marcel Kittel doesn’t eat all their budget and they find a sponsor for next year.

    • I think they’re happy to be sponsoring the team just the way it is, endearing the company locally and internationally.

      They’re also probably one of the front runners in the contest of sponsorship value or ROI.

    • Beside the fact that “nations” of teams shouldn’t play a great role in a globalized sport like cycling and, Giant-Shimano has actually 9 dutchmen.

      • Maybe, maybe not; I sort of enjoy FdJ, Orica, Androni, Rabbo, etc. I could never understand all the obvious but missed “delivering the mail” opportunities at Postal. I thought that was a cool sponsor, until it wasn’t. I was an especially big fan of Euskaltel, am becoming one of Columbia and can’t wait to see a New Orange kit. A nationality heavy team gives another, and maybe more legitimate, reason to root for a team. As I’m not old enough to drive one yet, I couldn’t care less if Ferarri sponsors a team of possible ringers…

      • Giant-Shimano has 9 Dutchmen, but De Telegraaf or Studio Sport are not going to do big interviews with Albert Timmer or Koen de Kort. OPQS probably gets more attention in mainstream media with Niki Terpstra alone than G-S. Likewise a Dutch rider is always going to be worth less to a team like Sky or Movistar that has no commercial interests in the Netherlands

        And you can wish for nations not to play all you want, but no French or Italian medium is going to give attention to Wilco Kelderman or Bauke Mollema outside of the race coverage. For that you have to be either a real superstar like Froome, Cancellara or Quintana (admittedly Mollema and Kelderman have potential for that category) or a local.

  3. Be interesting to see if Lachlan Morton converts his promising 2013 rides in the USA Pro and the Tour of Utah into anything. No signs here tho….

  4. I’ve read somewhere that the Dutch have coined Wilco Keldermerx?

    Not to engage in hyperbole, but the guy is an animal. Hope he can hold his form ove rthe next few days and really add something to the GC showdown between Froome and AC.

  5. Sébastien Reichenbach (“rye-shen-back”)

    Sory, but nobody (except confused English speaking commentators) would pronounce “back” if his name ends on bach. It’s baCH. CH. CH.CH, 😉

  6. It is true that melting tar on the higher mountain roads of France have long been a feature of bike racing. In general their secondary roads are some of the best, with the exception of towns where finance is different. I understood that one of the reasons for this massive investment was that responsibility for the road system was to be handed down to Departments or towns rather than be the responsibility of the State.

    Whatever, they are preferable to the third world pot holed, and flooded tracks that pass for roads in most places in Britain !

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