Dauphiné Stage 6 Preview

A race across the scenic Vercors plateau to Villard de Lans, the scene of many Tour de France legends.

Stage 5 Wrap: who dares wins. Romain Bardet was a tip for the stage win but with the concern that he can attack too soon, a tendency to show too early. It’s cost him results before but paid off yesterday when he went clear over the top of the Col d’Allos and used the descent to pull out over a minute’s lead before the final climb. At times he looked like a MotoGP rider, sat on the top tube but leaning over the side. He didn’t even know the descent, the closest he’d been to it was looking at it on a map.

Sky’s chase didn’t dent his lead until Chris Froome attacked and Tejay van Garderen chased but the 24 year old Frenchman won the stage. The victory salute was hesitant, put it down to fatigue rather than a lack of practice. The lack of a win was becoming a frustration, now in his fourth season as a pro he’s only managed to win twice and one of these was the overall at the Tour de l’Ain but without a victory salute. Froome and van Garderen were the other winners with the American pacing himself rather than responding to Froome’s attacks, doing what Team Sky often do to others. The riders were scattered all over the mountain with Vincenzo Nibali two minutes down and Michele Scarponi given a pass to finish eighth. Nibali was off the pace but gave the appearance of not even bothering.

The Route: if you saw yesterday’s stage and enjoyed it on TV prepare for more stunning scenery. The early climbs are fine as the race crosses the Valbonnais area of the Alps

The Col du Rousset is 13.8km at 5.4% and as regular as the profile above shows only it twists up via a series of hairpin bends. Here the race reached the Vercors plateau, a cycling paradise in the summer. The road crosses the plateau and then drops down a steep road before climbing the up the Gorge de la Bourne, a stunning section of road cut into the cliff. Roadworks have closed this section for some time and the road is being specially opened to let the race through for the day which could mean a few punctures of the route is littered with rockfall and other debris although normally they’ll sweep the roads. It leads to Villard-de-Lans, once a regular on the Tour de France during the 1980s and 90s.

The Finish: it’s called Côte 2000 but this refers to the ski lift which climbs up high. Instead it’s 2km at 6% to finish at 1,144m high. It makes for a punchy finish that’s hard, but short of an Alpine climb.

The Contenders: there’s a good chance of a breakaway sticking now that many riders have lost beaucoup time. The hilly route though won’t disrupt a chase because the roads are wide and regular for the most part. Who will go clear? The usual suspects like Thomas Voeckler, Simon Gerrans and Tony Martin are all well down on GC but take your pick from many more. Voeckler would have been an obvious pick in the past but he’s about to turn 36 and everyone is wise to his ways plus he’s not yet got that lean, ripped look he sports in July.

BMC Racing will contribute to the chase but others will be keen to help. Orica-Greenedge can back Simon Yates for the finish, he was close yesterday and the shorter, sharper finish could suit. Dan Martin goes well in a finish like this while Tony Gallopin is too close on GC for a long range breakaway but could try in the finish. Given the success younger French riders are having Julian Alaphilippe is a pick too.

Otherwise Chris Froome was the liveliest rider yesterday and can turn on the watts again, the cautious pick but also the history lesson choice too as The Tour de France has used this finish and it’s been Laurent Fignon and Lance Armstrong who won here. There’s a time bonus at stake too.

Simon Gerrans, Simon Yates, Julian Alaphilippe, Thomas Voeckler, Chris Froome
Dan Martin, Wellens, Gallopin, Taaramäe

Weather: early sunshine turning to rain with cooler temperatures of 20°C on the Vercors plateau.

TV: another early slot with the finish forecast for 2.45pm Euro time.

It’s an ASO race so you should find it on the same channel as you watch the Tour de France. It’s on Eurosport too and if all else fails you can rely on Cyclingfans and steephill.tv for links to feeds and streams.

55 thoughts on “Dauphiné Stage 6 Preview”

  1. Let’s hope the TV helicopter is working throughout the stage. Having ridden most of the roads on this stage, I can honestly say the provide some of the most stunning scenery I have ever had the pleasure to cycle through, particularly the sections from the Col de Rousset through to the end of the Gorge de la Bourne.

  2. @ Mr Ring”He didn’t even know the descent, the closest he’d been to it was looking at it on a map.”

    I am afraid Carlton Kirby disagrees with you 🙂 He repeatedly said that Romain Bardet’s extreme cornering was due to his local knowledge of the descend and even went so far to say he practiced regularly there.

  3. Sky train dropped a lot of first class riders. Not just Nibali but Valverde, Mollema, Gerdeman, Dennis, Kennaugh, Costa, Boss Hagen etc. etc. had to give up on the climb. No doubt some dropped voluntarily like Nibali who probably doesn’t want to go too deep in the red before July.

    Van Garderen gave a warning signal to spiderman Froome. In my view TVG might even grab the overall in the end. Talansky was better than I expected as was Dan Martin who hasn’t been racing since April. He must be feeling good about his performance.

  4. Nibali basically just went \_(ツ)_/¯ and swung off. I don’t think he’s too interested in pushing things at this stage.

  5. If I was a good drawer, a good cartoon for yesterday’s stage would have Froome off the front of the main group, elbows out and legs revving at 200 rpm; only to look back and see the likes of Nibali, Valverde etc looking uninterested and cracking jokes at each other. This just to address the malaise of some of the usual GC contenders here, not dismissing Bardet brave effort. Hopefully today and tomorrow we’ll have a good fight between the riders that are still interested in having a go at this race!

  6. Valverde not interested in this race and only support for Quintana in the big show. Probably easing off for another tilt at La Vuelta. Nibali did this last year. Only Sky are interested in combining the two but I doubt Froome will get this one unless TVG cracks later, which he shows no sign of doing.
    I hope Yates wins today!

      • Hands up! I got that wrong. Good thing I’m not playing fantasy cycling on this one. I wonder if they did it on this stage as they knew it had a lot more descending and not so much elevation at the end. Be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. Certainly an open race now.

  7. just wondering – please forgive the ignorance – there seems a lot of positivity on Froome’s performance yesterday, but it seems compared to 2013 he wasn’t even close to obliterating the majority – TJ overtaking didn’t seem a good sign nor Talansky etc being within 10secs – why is there generally a positive feeling when you get the feeling if he’s not beating TJ he’s in trouble with Quintana?

    Was it the climb being short? But if so him losing power 1k from the top seems even worse in that case?
    Was it that it wasn’t suited to him?
    Was it the power of the team?

    Just a bit confused as it didn’t look great to me, but no one’s really saying so?

    Guess opinions reserved for later climbs, but generally from watching over the last few years, you basically know from climb1 who’s got it and who hasn’t (with Nibs maybe holding back the fire power here).

    Get that TJ is improving so measuring this against 2012 TJ is unfair, just seemed odd.

    Was already thinking beating Quintana will be extremely tough, good Froome is there or there abouts, but doesn’t look magisterial?

    (yes I like Froome, I like Sky, I know I’m not an old old watcher, new fan, new cyclist, sorry)

    • It was more the fact that Froome had dropped Nibali and Valverde by that point, so his form relative to them looks good for the Tour. Froome also has the Grand Tour record over TVG (4 podiums in successive years). Quintana’s current form is a complete mystery as he hasn’t raced since his pretty unconvincing and below-par ride in the Tour of Romandie. So all in all the signs are looking good for Froome for July, but as we saw last year Nibali was nowhere in this race then dominant at the TDF.

  8. Carlton Kirby talks complete and utter drivel, either of Rob Hatch or Declan Quigley are far superior. I’d even rather listen to Ligget on ITV4. I says ‘engage’ or ‘select’ about every 3rd or 4th word, and never when they are the appropriate word to use! He also gets obsessed with certain riders, he refers to pretty much and stage/race as an ‘Eddie Bos kind of day’, as well as usually getting a bit hot under the collar about Sep Vanmarke, Stijn Devolder and any half arsed sprinter who’ll probably struggle in about 10th.

    • Of all the nonsense that came from Kirby yesterday, the most memorable was the pearl of wisdom that you should never follow the wheel in front on a descent ! His seriously explained view was that riders should all take their own individual line, based on their individual physical characteristics and machinery. Someone should have a word in his ear, explaining that there is only one correct line to take.

    • Yesterday, Kirby tipped Bardet for the stage win with still 30k to go and called Lemond fat in so many words. I felt it was a good day for him, he’s clearly on form.

    • I like Kirby. I know he’s not always accurate but I like his sense of excitement, and I like the drivel too. He’s very easy to listen to, and he’s quite good fun. By far my preferred choice of all the commentators.

      • There is a video on Youtube – Iljo Keisse, Tour of Turkey 2012 Stage 7 – with the most absolutely best and funniest commentary by Carlton Kirby I’ve heard in many a year. Fantastic.

      • Hear! Hear!
        Carlton Kirby is the only real presenter, with a great voice, great sense of humour and a fantastic command of language. All the others are just ex-riders without any presenting training or talent. Grimm to listen to.

  9. An emotional, very, very interesting stage. Interesting on so many different levels! How the different teams worked together, the quiet way Purito rode, that Nibali still likes bad weather… Somehow fitting, that Tony Gallopin went out playing with the big boys. I wonder if Tiesj Benoot briefly forgot that he got a team mate in front? This season, although we not even yet have reached july, we already have seen more exciting and real racing than in some other years during the whole season!

  10. Well, I thought Nibali was the one to watch yesterday but I can live with a 24 hour delay !
    Very impressive.
    Does Chris Froome really dislike the wet / cold weather as he seems to ?

  11. Nacer Bouhanni was better than Thomas Voeckler today. Not only in places, but also in time – some 20 minutes. Of course it is just one stage and there can be all kind of reasons for that. But it corresponds with my feeling about Voeckler, that he will find it hard this season to go for his usual trademark rides. Till now he mostly delievered when his team needed him. I hope for them he can do it this year and it helps the team to find a new sponsor. I think they have a hard time not having as much money in the team for training camps, cars, hotels etc., as most other teams they compete with have.

  12. I have to say I’m pretty surprised and disappointed that you didn’t predict the breakaway of Martin, Nibs, Valverdemort, Gallopin and Costa today. It was obvious that was going to happen.

    Wasn’t it?

    On another note what an epic fail by BMC, Sky and AG2R.

  13. So I watched yesterday while Bardet won the stage and GC had a bit of a shake out.
    Couldn’t watch live today but read the stage summary and it looked awesome. Maybe because I’m a fan of Nibs/Contador and like an attacking style.

    But anyhow I made sure to be in front of the TV for stage hilights rerun, and what a pathetic excuse they showed for a story.
    Almost definite I wouldn’t watch any cycling on TV now unless it was live.
    Welcome to weekends (Sundays) only.

    • well itv 4 coverage live wasnt that better than the highlights as by the time it went live the group of 5 were already well away. highlights just seem to be the last 30 – 40 minutes plus talking heads, i’m guessing it all depends on the extent of the french live feed

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