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Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 3 Preview

A stage with a difficult climb towards the end, steeper and longer than the roadbook suggests and it should prove ruinous for many of the sprinters.

Jesus Herrada

Stage 2 Wrap: plenty of action, the day’s breakaway included Alexis Gougeard doing what he does best as he survived as long as possible and even threatened to take the stage win at one point before imploding and being caught by a chase group including Tony Gallopin, Serge Pauwels and Fabrice Jeandesboz. These three names tried to hold off the reduced peloton but Jesus Herrada surged past for the stage win. Behind Romain Bardet tangled with team mate Alexis Vuillermoz and because it was an uphill finish the 3km rule didn’t apply so Bardet fell out of the top-10 overall while Vuillermoz needed stitches to his hand. Fabio Aru was caught in a split in the peloton and lost more time.

The Route: a long ride that heads up the Loire valley before crossing over the Rhone valley. The profile looks mountainous but the gradients are gentle, the first bump to Chambles is 3-4% and then the two marked climbs offer soft gradients too. In between the two fourth category climbs is the Col du Sapet, no points but more climbing. There’s a long descent with plenty of sweeping bends as the race drops off the remote Ardèche plateau and down to the Rhone.

The race tackles the Côte de Sécheras, 2.9km at 8.2% as the graphic above shows. But that’s not half of the picture:

  • it’s a narrow road
  • it twists up via hairpin bends making it easier to line out the bunch
  • there’s a steep middle section that’s worse than the 13.9% indicated above and so ruinous for the heavyset sprinters
  • the road keeps on going up. After the KoM point there’s another 5km to do, nothing too steep but if the sprinters have been distanced they can be kept at bay by a team able to work.

The Finish: the final 10km are downhill with some hairpins and off camber bends and it’s kind of terrain where leading a chase is hard. It flattens out with 4km to go and runs into town and the finishing straight is on a slight downhill.

The Contenders

Julian Alaphilippe was supposed to win yesterday but a crash in the finish disrupted several plans including his. One rider who surprised yesterday was Greg Van Avermaet (pictured) who was seventh and will be feeling very confident about today.

Can Nacer Bouhanni get over the climb? Before the Dauphiné he spent days training in the Vosges to work on his climbing but today’s sharp effort is different than tackling mountain passes. Of all the sprinters he’s perhaps the best at coping with a climb or two but it’ll be hard and some in the peloton won’t help him close any gaps on the false flat section that follows the marked climb. Niccolò Bonifazio is another sprinter-who-can-climb but has a low win rate. Samuel Dumoulin could try something today, he can sprint up the climb and then hang in for a result and is in great shape. He’s on the early season Ardèche races in this area thanks to this.

Nathan Haas can manage a short climb and sprint well but too often he wastes energy which blunts his legs for the finish and Dimension Data team mate Edvald Boasson Hagen might be a better pick but his form seems to be mystery, the same for Simon Gerrans who also sat up yesterday. Dropped like a stone or simply saving energy for today?

Among the breakaway picks there’s obviously Thomas De Gendt. Other picks include Arthur Vichot who needs a result and Thomas Voeckler, once bound to escape on a stage like this but nowadays not such a certainty.

Julian Alaphilippe, Greg Van Avermaert
Bonifazio, Vichot, Haas, Bouhanni, EBH, Dumoulin

Weather: warm, sunny and a top temperature of 27°C at the finish.

TV: the finish is forecast for 5.10pm Euro time. It should be available on the same channel you watch the Tour de France and/or Eurosport. If not then cyclingfans, cyclinghub and steephill.tv have schedules and streams.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • TourDeUtah Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 6:06 am

    Gawd, I love the Daffy.

    My second favorite race.

    At the top of my bucket list.

  • @oystein4m Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 7:30 am

    EBH to Norwegian TV2 after yesterdays stage:
    -It was fast all day, the bunch rode in one line. I was well placed in the bottom of the last hill, but tempo was so fast that it wasn’t quite my day down there, so I took it rather easy. I tried of course but I knew “I am unable to stay with them to the top”, so I took it easy.

    http://www.procycling.no/spansk-seier-i-toff-avslutning/

  • Boris Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 8:10 am

    Nothing about Sondre Holst Enger?

  • Doctornurse Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 8:41 am

    Interesting stage yesterday with some puzzling tactics by SKY- Landa, Poels, Kwiat all put in seemingly silly digs and have moved from the top 15 to now being between 2-14 minutes behind, removing them as threats for the other GC contenders…

    Perhaps this was just to shake out the legs before the full SKY robot review later this week?

    I mean, why send your 2 Million Euro/year Domestique Landa to the front if not to win the stage? Clearly, Jesus Herrada is a quality, top drawer rider, but one would think that a multiple GT Stage winner, elite, elite climber and GT protected rider (Landa), 2016 monument winner (Poels), former WRRC (Kwiat) and brilliant climber (Henao) could have given Herrada and the breakaway a better race than THAT??

    Maybe SKY should just stick to the powerpoint slides and powermeter numbers and do what they do best? Crunch the data, stick an electronic post-it with a number on a screen, and ride to that number in a boring, uninspiring, but devastatingly effective way, deliver Froome to the last 3K and then cash their enormous paychecks…

    Either way, Alberto has come to play this week, and for him this is all about benchmarking himself against Froome. He knows that Froome is under pressure to win before the TdF, and prove that he is still worth the what? 8? 10? million Euro investment that SKY is making in him, his collection of domestique Galacticos and state of the art technical support.

    Alberto on the other hand is under no such pressure- His sponsor is leaving and finding another team is not a major concern. He is riding for his palmares, to cement his legacy as the greatest GT rider since Hinault and specifically to beat Frome in the TdF- Nothing else. He is clearly building up to his Giro 2011, or TdF 2014 levels of fitness has the unquestioned support of men prepared to ride themselves into the ground for him. he is in complete control of his situation- No need for pointless attacks, changes in start times, or other silly mind games. He has the legs to do all the talking required this week, and the only person THEY are paying attention to is Chris Froome. He was a bit lucky to not lose a few seconds at the finish yesterday, so he needs to stay vigilant…

    Porte is also tranquilo. This race is right in his wheelhouse as a 1 week SR specialist and his bad day is at least 10 days away. His focus is to confirm to management that TJVG should be on “Bring me a bottle and my raincape” duty during the TdF, and that he is a better long term racing investment to the team.

    Hopefully we will see them show themselves today and we can get past these silly tactical skirmishes, and see who is the fastest…

    • George Vest Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 8:57 am

      I agree – if they really wanted to win the stage it was difficult to work out what Sky was doing

    • Augie March Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 9:04 am

      I can understand a team that’s behind in the GC launching a series of attacks to put the race leader and his team under pressure, but surely saving this for at least a cat 1 climb would be a smarter way to go about things? It’s not like a fairly gentle cat 2 and then short cat 3 would perturb the likes of Contador and Porte, and the pace was high enough so that even had Landa/Kwaitkowski/Poels won the stage it’s not like they would have gained much time (and even if they had, that wouldn’t have helped Froome in any meaningful way, in fact it could do the opposite as with the race lead it would be Sky’s job to set pace).

    • Anonymous Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 10:09 am

      I won’t be complaining about Sky attacking as it did make the race more fun to watch. It did make Tinkoff work so there was some sense in their tactics but it would have been more useful on a harder stage.

      • Bilmo Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 10:30 am

        No pleasing some people. Sky are boring… Sky make pointless attacks…
        I would agree I was surprised that one of the Sky ‘super domestiques’ couldn’t push on for the win but the one thing about Sky is that they are always fully behind one guy.
        Froome looked good and before the commissaires changed their mind he actually gained some time on Contador.
        Bring on the rest of the week.

        • RonDe Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 10:53 am

          Agree with you Bilmo. Sky make an attack and they are criticized for it and the boring “robot” stuff gets rolled out. If they hadn’t done anything they would have been criticized too. Maybe the critics should come back when they’ve masterminded multiple TDF wins and several other races to boot?

          Haters gonna hate. But why be so boringly predictable about it?

          • George Vest Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 2:24 pm

            I wasn’t criticising Sky for being boring, just saying that it was difficult to work out their tactics. Landa’s attack in particular didn’t really look like he meant it at all

        • Larry T Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 12:53 pm

          Yeah, c’mon Doctornurse, get with the program! SKY is incapable of making anything like a pointless attack. Everything they do is the product of cold, clinical calculation done at Brailsford’s secret skunkworks (kind of like the Batcave) while pointless attacks are…well…the province of those who let passion get the best of them. You know who THEY are. A few weeks ago plenty of folks were going about pointless attacks by Vincenzo Nibali. They said the same about Claudio Chiappucci and Marco Pantani back-in-the-day. Someone needs to get through to Nibali to let him know you don’t win any races with these silly tactics – cold, clinical calculation and robotic control of your riders is the ONLY way to go!!

        • Chris Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 2:07 pm

          Usually behind the one guy who wins . (chortle)

          • gabriele Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 3:30 pm

            Or quits.

    • HWSB Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 11:32 am

      Regardless of the result here, at least Froome is jostling for position at the pointy end of a major race with less than a month to go until the Tour.

      Quintana, on the other hand, is riding solo in the mountains in Colombia. I’m sure it’s great for his legs, but he lost time last year on a flat, aggressive, windy stage.

      I don’t think Froome does care so much about victory at the Dauphine. He only cares about the Tour. So if he can sharpen up here, all the better. The 2.1 Route du Sud (Quintana) won’t be going at the same warp speed as the Dauphine.

      • Doctornurse Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 11:53 am

        Hmmmm… I disagree. Froome cares very much about winning the Dauphine. he comes in FULL Skeletor form took zero prisoners in the prologue, is fighting with sprint trains to stay in front and is looking for ANY opportunity to gain seconds every day.

        His sponsors are spending millions of Euros and FULLY expect that Froome is leading the highlights package back in London on ITV4. Finally, losing a bicycle race of ANY length to Alberto Contador in the month before the TdF is playing with fire with gasoline soaked pants on.

        Oh no… Best believe that Froome is in it to win it.

        I maintain that outside their robotic (but again, exceptionally effective/impressive) comfort zone, SKY are tactically suspect. Look, if you are going to attack on a gentle climb like yesterday, then ATTACK!! Send Landa up the road with Poels and Henao, pin it at 450-500 watts and COMMIT to the win!

        Contador has not won the GT Triple-Double (Winning all 3 GTs at least TWICE) by chasing after the sort of soft, weak, disorganised, unimpressive nonsense that SKY tried to cobble together yesterday.

        Let’s see what they come up with today…

        • Ecky Thump Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 12:18 pm

          I’ve watched quite a lot of the major races this season and I’d say that Sky have definitely turned over a new tactical leaf.
          They’ve been much more adventurous and got riders in moves, breakaways etc.
          I’ve little doubt that they’ll revert to type in TdF though, I’ll give you that.

          • Sam Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 4:41 pm

            Yeah, I’d probably agree. But the Skybot tag is too handy for some

    • Nick Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 12:17 pm

      Perhaps Sky just want to keep people guessing? Or test Tinkoff’s legs? Contador was on his own towards the end, so the other teams will have noted that.

      • Doctornurse Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 12:30 pm

        Meh…This Contador we are talking about. This cat single handedly held off a STACKED Astana team (and their *5* stage wins) in the 2015 Giro for what? 10 stages? including that vicious stage where he made up a MINUTE on the Mortirolo to catch and drop Aru to win by 2+ minutes…

        I think that Contador can fend for himself just fine, particularly against weak, uninspired, uncoordinated attacks on gentle terrain…

        Now if they really want to attack Contador, they will need to either COMMIT to the win on gentle terrain, or race for 3 weeks at the highest level, THEN hit him on with a coordinated, sustained attack on a punishing HC climb (like, say the Colle de Finestre)-

        Do THAT and then we can seriously talk about isolating Contador….
        Anything less is just so many training intervals

        I am sure SKY can do MUCH better than what they showed yesterday- I am also sure that Contador is ready for anything…

        Let’s see today…

        • Nick Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 2:21 pm

          To be honest, I think you’re more likely to see in July, rather than today.

    • rupert Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 12:48 pm

      Tend to agree with those that think that skys approach has changed – few yeas ago it was a long train, then last year the had the (super) domestiques do a day each of pulling, Nieve one day, Poels the next, then Porte whilst the others rested. Now they are seeing how the rest react when they ping off a potential challenger … It turns out not much but it’s something to try.

    • irungo txuletak Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 1:40 pm

      When you say Kontador is the best GT rider since Hinaut, you may have ommitted Indurain. He was not bad neither… Maybe more dominant than Kontador, certainly more boring, too.

      • Doctornurse Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 1:49 pm

        Always a good debate, but I rate Indurain *slightly* behind Contador as GT rider since Big Mig never won the Vuelta.

        Only Contador and Hinault have won all the GT’s at least twice, and when you have a record that not even Merckx can claim, that is something special…

        But like I said- Its an excellent debate 🙂

        • gabriele Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 3:28 pm

          Indurain had way stronger competitors along his whole career and got the Giro-Tour double.

          Contador often had to endure more severe political pressures within his teams (and beyond) and showed much more than Indurain that he’s able to win even when he’s not the athletically stronger rider in the field or against adverse conditions.
          Plus, even if this shouldn’t matter that much, he’s racing attitude is more enjoyable to watch.

          Very hard to decide between them.

          • irungo txuletak Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 5:50 pm

            good summary of my thoughts. Indurain also won 5 Tours in a row, but I think the point on stronger competitors is disputable. I think the current field of GT riders is quite strong (but it was maybe not the case in the begin of Kontador carreer).
            it is also very difficult to compare different time frames.

          • gabriele Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 6:29 pm

            @irungo txuletak
            Hence my “along his whole career” above 🙂

            To start with, for historical reasons he didn’t have to really face who’d have clearly been (in some ucronia) the strongest pure GT rider 2005-2010, that is Basso, while he had a lot of different rivals who were a bit more of all-rounders, like Evans, F. Schleck, S. Sánchez, Valverde, Purito, which was great for cycling and for these same riders, too, but made things a little easier for Alberto.
            Then you can observe how a lot of luxury gregari / less talented GC riders were making *recurrent* top tens: Leipheimer, Vande Velde, Bruseghin, Kreuziger, Rogers, Van den Broeck…
            Pure GT class belonged, more or less, only to Andy Schleck, Sastre and Menchov. The first two had (very different) limits because of their personality, the latter only crossed sword with Contador in respective top form once, the 2010 Tour.

            Then things started to change and Contador could prove how good he really is as a racer, not only as an athlete.

            However, in a very long high-level career – as I stated elsewhere – a lot of different situations end up making it into the equation, thus a deep palmarés rarely lies.

    • dom Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 2:58 pm

      If you’re including dopers like Contador on a best of all time list then surely Lance would be the best since Hinault? If you’re just going for clean riders then LeMond

      • gabriele Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 3:23 pm

        Lance can not be compared to other *normal* dopers, I’m quite surprised by the quantity of people still doing that. Facts struggle so much to stick.

        • ZigaK Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 4:31 pm

          While he was a giant ass and used his political influence to pressure other competitors and accusers, I am sure he doped pretty much the same as the others, maybe just smarter.

          • gabriele Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 5:50 pm

            Well, being able to dope without excessive worries about when, what, how much… makes quite a huge difference. Especially when some of your main competitors conversely *have to*, because you’re unleashing UCI testers behind ’em.
            It’s not that hard to catch the difference when you compare Fuentes’ tables with what we know about USPS practices – and it’s not like the Spaniard didn’t know how to push heavier on the doping side for his clients, if they only could.
            Besides, that same situation allowed a deeper level of structured team doping (without the sectary control which worked in Armstrong’s teams, you can’t risk nor spend too much in sharing practices with every gregario)… which had pretty evident effects on racing.
            If that wasn’t enough, the political context affected heavily race dynamics of other teams, too, in a more extreme way than the good ol’ favours trading, or than peloton dominition out of pure charisma and winning ways.
            I can’t remember another rider whose *surfacing* doping slips were simply wiped off the map as many times.
            I’m not speaking of the ordinary balance between trying to fly under the radars and a certain granted level of cover-up by the institutions which works for everyone in every sport (as I said, Lance was pretty special in that sense, too), I’m speaking of something going *wrong* for whatever reason and the guy being bestowed instant *states of exception* by the authorities in charge, sport ones or beyond.

          • ZigaK Thursday, 9 June 2016, 10:04 am

            2 points:
            1 – nobody needed to worry excessively about the testing, it’s til today described as “idiot test”, and it was even easier back then, for everybody, not just for the initiated.
            2 – unleashing the testers it’s more of a rainmaker stuff
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFYv6sixE0g
            Tyler Hamilton got a visit when he went to Phonak, and he was pretty pissed about it, but if you actually read what happened (as he describes it in his book) the guys called him, he came to Aigle, they said they found some unusual values, nothing illegal, but be vary, don’t do something stupid. I would say it seems to me they took care of one of their star riders/prime assets and advised him very softly v. doping.

          • gabriele Thursday, 9 June 2016, 1:14 pm

            1- If “nobody had to worry” (plain false, non-Pantani’s syringe in 2001 is an example; compare that with the Actovegin story, how hard it was it for Pantani to come out of that. I also can remmeber by memory something about VdB and Botero, and I could look for more), it becomes harder to explain the difference in known doping practices.

            2- Or have a look to the list of Mayo’s false (or “wrong”) positives…

            It’s true that everyone had a certain degree of liberty, yet someone was blatantly freer than others.

            OTOH, it would be unclear why Armstrong worked so hard on the political level if it wasn’t to get a competitive advantage for his team and himself… for instance, was it fot the *sake* of cycling as a whole that he had the head of AFLD removed?
            Besides, but this is just a personal impression, he was a true competitor, not a starlette-type. He wasn’t interested in appearing in a photo with the so-famous Sarkozy (the other way around, I’d say) – he was interested in winning. And very little more.

          • gabriele Thursday, 9 June 2016, 1:19 pm

            @ZigaK
            I missed a bit the “about the testing” part.
            All the same, my point stands, even if not all the examples, but only part of them, are fitted to that.
            Besides, you don’t need to make people test positive… as you say in the story you report, you exercise pressure – if the rider and the team are clever, they’ll step down in doping practices, reducing frequency, intensity etc.
            If they don’t, well, they test positive. And got DSQ.

            Just like Hamilton.

    • Will Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 3:51 pm

      While I agree with you to an extent regarding Sky’s tactics, I don’t agree about the pressure. A man with a job and squad guaranteed for next year under more pressure than a man with neither? I know which rider I’d rather be.

      Not that I’m suggesting Contador will struggle for sponsors or finance, but he’s got to demonstrate he’s still worth the money or it won’t be there. Froome absolutely does not.

      • Doctornurse Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 6:16 pm

        Well, Will, I have to respectfully disagree…

        Contador has had his butt kicked by Froome in the Tdf 2x before, so in a sense, he really has nothing much more to lose here- He is clearly NOT the favourite for the TdF this year and does not need to prove a thing- Dude has won all the GTs twice and has nothing to prove to anyone .

        Froome on the other hand is clearly the TdF favourite, and as Serena Williams has shown in the past few GS tournaments, when you are the champ, even if you are the best athlete, there is a LOT of pressure at the big tournaments, even if you are otherwise secure.

        Froome simply *cannot* lose the Tdf- Why?

        The man has demonstrated multiple times that he can peak once per season, which he times for July. So this IS his season and its unlikely that he will win any other GT’s or major races in a season AFTER July….

        Froome is being paid 4+ million Euro a year, and has demanded and received an absolutely glittering array of current, former and potential World, Olympic, Commonwealth and National champions, former team leaders, monument winners, GT stage winners, GT jersey winners and GT protected riders, all of whom have to COMPETE for the privilege of fetching his bottles, gels and rain gloves, setting a tempo that he likes, keeping him upright so that he can win the TdF.

        Further, he has a small army of physios, personal chefs, nutritionists, pillow consultants, mechanics, drivers, logisticians, trainers, and soigneurs all at his complete disposal, all costing millions and all completely focused on Froome winning the TdF.

        That’s pressure…

        Therefore, if he just gets his ass kicked at the Tour, (as opposed to crashing out) then his entire value proposition gets called into question- What else is SKY paying him to do? Be an also-ran in the late summer races? Play the role of the polite British cycle racer? Make Cameo appearances on TV celebrity shows? Give lovely interviews as to why he got beat? No. They pay him millions in exchange for the TdF. That is all.

        SKY has a history of jettisoning riders when they stop producing at the levels that they expect, and given that he is not as versatile or gifted as Wiggins, his options as a TdF loser are a bit more limited…

        Given that he is getting older, quite possibly slowing down, does not possess an Alberto Contador’s level of racing tactics, Vincenzo Nibali’s level of bike handling, or Nairo Quintana’s level of recovery and strength in week 3 of a GT, his options to win are slightly limited and reasonably predictable and offers precious little room for error….

        As he tries to win the hardest bike race in the world….

        Against generationally significant cycling talent….

        Every year….

        So yeah…. He is under enormous pressure- Maybe that’s why he just kept riding up the mountain after the prologue?

        • noel Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 6:29 pm

          is this pressure any worse than the last 3yrs? he’s now a multi millionaire 2 time tdf winner. In 2013 he still had to walk-the-walk after effectively forcing Sky to jettison Wiggins in his favour. The pressure seems to be all on Brailsford to me, he’s set up this system and he has to go back to Sky at the end of the contract and prove value for money. Froome can go back to the beach in South Africa with a decent palmares and a pot of cash if it doesn’t work out from here.

          • gabriele Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 6:57 pm

            I’m not the greatest Froomey-fan 😛 but I believe it would be *very* hard to defend that he’s an athlete who can’t cope with pressure.
            Especially since 2014 on (he didn’t look that mentally convincing, yet, during the 2013 Tour).
            He really stepped up from a psychological POV – and it’s not like he couldn’t handle pressure before; it’s more like he used to get too much nervous and struggled to simply do what he had to, be it winning or helping.

            However, I’d suggest that Contador’s pressure comes mainly from within himself (that’s how he is, he always wants to win ^__^), Froome has external pressures, too. Contador is going for cycling history, the press or the public don’t matter anymore.
            Froome maybe still needs to demonstrate something.

            Usually, Sky always cared a lot about this lesser races and prepared its leaders for them, unlike the rest of the teams (even Contador’s is more of a personal attitude). They matter for them, or used to.
            Nevertheless, it seems that their trying to change their game, this year, you note that from several factors, both individually and team-wise… hence maybe their goals changed, too. We’ll see.

        • Will Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 8:36 pm

          Fair enough to disagree. I’m not sure where this comes from though:

          “Froome is being paid 4+ million Euro a year, and has demanded and received an absolutely glittering array of current, former and potential World, Olympic, Commonwealth and National champions, former team leaders, monument winners, GT stage winners, GT jersey winners and GT protected riders, all of whom have to COMPETE for the privilege of fetching his bottles, gels and rain gloves, setting a tempo that he likes, keeping him upright so that he can win the TdF.”

          He’s demanded them? Not Sky wanting the best squad possible or the most versatile or to be able to target basically every race on the calendar? Yes they have an embarrassment of riches ($$$) but let’s not pretend they were brought in purely to ensure Froome wins in July. In fact, you could make quite the argument that neither of their marquee signings from last year (Kwiatko and Landa) were bought in for that purpose at all …

          “Further, he has a small army of physios, personal chefs, nutritionists, pillow consultants, mechanics, drivers, logisticians, trainers, and soigneurs all at his complete disposal, all costing millions and all completely focused on Froome winning the TdF.”

          Again, does he or do Sky? If he wasn’t there would Sky provide A N Other with the same service? I’d wager certainly.

          I’m not saying he’s under no pressure – he’s an elite sportsman aiming to win one of the toughest sporting events in the world again, but as I said above, I’d much rather be in a position where I had all of that, and it was guaranteed for the next few years, than the position Contador finds himself in. That’s not to say Contador will feel it either, I think Gabriele hits the nail on the head when he said that pressure mainly comes from within and as you said, his record speaks for itself.

  • PT Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 10:09 am

    The AG2R GC guys are not having much fun.

  • Polkadots Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 10:23 am

    Haas was with the main group yesterday. I think he might be a better option than EBH.

  • AndyRaff Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 11:47 am

    Bouhani seemed slipped back considerably on the final two climbs yesterday. Off day? Or toiling? Or saving his legs?

  • irungo txuletak Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 1:43 pm

    I am just impressed by the prediction of INRNG about Herrada. I really had not expected him to win there.
    Really surprised about GvA as well. I know that he was more than a cobble eater, but this was really hard labour with all these climbs.

  • Raphael's Quick Step Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 2:50 pm

    I think we will see more from Sky. The Dauphine is not about the Grand Reveal, it’s about flexing the muscles and that’s how I would take yesterday’s stage. Froome’s super collection or super domestiques are not there for a GC podium and so are probably using ‘free days’ to test the legs. Revving the engine can be as useful as winning. It also requires less time in post-ride rigmarole of doping control, jersey, press and winners podium.

  • Raphael's Quick Step Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 3:06 pm

    Still, it’s nice to see that Aru has not yet ‘ridden’ himself into form in this race. It will be interesting if this happens to arrive in the TdF at precisely the most crucial stages.

    • gabriele Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 3:29 pm

      What a nonsense.

      • Whaleoilbeefhooked Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 8:27 pm

        +1 Gabriele, a semi-interested/unmarshalled peloton; chasing on a technical downhill; a rider on the ragged edge but with plenty to prove. This is what we watch pro cycling for FFS. Presumably Raphael watched to the end to confirm his prejudice?

        • LeoA Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 8:46 pm

          Am I the only one confused by this thread? What is the point?

          • Merino Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 9:19 pm

            Some people believe that Astana leave riders to prepare without much structure or support and when the riders don’t perform, Astana management then vilify the rider and tell them to prepare and perform at level that is more acceptable. Old school.

            Some people believe all cyclists performing at the top level are using PEDs and we should just enjoy the cycling/racing.

            In between these two extremes is a possible truth than non of us really know how far that needle points in either direction.

            I have decided to join the club that enjoys the racing and doesn’t get wrapped up in thinking/speculating about things we’ll never know in the ‘present’.

            I enjoy reading the previews and reviews nearly as much as the racing, and for the majority, the interesting posts in the comments section.

    • Neuron1 Thursday, 9 June 2016, 3:53 am

      Only riders from teams R’sQS likes are capable of that. All others are cheaters.

  • Michael B Wednesday, 8 June 2016, 10:46 pm

    A slight aside but was anyone else wincing when they swung onto the bridge with the 90° left hander a few KMs from the finish? The corner suddenly tightened up thanks to a wall that a few riders almost hit head on… and behind the low wall? A sheer 50m drop. It looked far, far more dangerous than some of the Alpine “ravines” that commentators love to talk about. Surprised there wasn’t a barrier to funnel riders in. A mistake at that point would’ve been literally fatal.

    • T-72 Thursday, 9 June 2016, 6:41 am

      It certainly looked like a place where things could go wrong, and the ASO did not put any physical structure in place to prevent it. Compare with the Giro stage in Friuli with many km’s downhill on narrow roads: lots of safety equipment installed. A WT organizer should try harder, there should be a certain standard in terms of safety.
      The other thing this race always lacks is spectators. It might be a great preparation for the TdF for the riders, but an event in the world’s premier cycling series should have a few more people interested. Looks like ASO forgets to market cycling in France to the French.

      • The Inner Ring Thursday, 9 June 2016, 10:30 am

        I’ve ridden the course and didn’t think the bridge was that bad, it’s narrow but wide for cars to drive over and you can see it from afar as you approach.

        As for spectators it’s never going to rival the Tour de France for spectators, no race can. There are lots of posters along the route announcing the race but it’s midweek and nobody is on holiday, few will take the day off work to come and see it, cycling just isn’t that much of a draw.

        • Michael B Thursday, 9 June 2016, 3:18 pm

          Interesting to get a first hand perspective on it – on TV it looked really iffy, but just goes to show that doesn’t always reflect reality. Still one heck of a drop over that wall, mind.

      • Vitus Thursday, 9 June 2016, 3:20 pm

        Nonsense. The streets were relativetly crowded the other day.
        And I don’t know what you expect on a normal Wednesday at worktime.. You can’t compare that to weekend queen stages or the odd we start a GT in another country on a weekend to show how many event fans we can get on the street. And you cant’t compare to to the TdF, when whole France has it’s holidays.