Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 8 Preview

The final stage, 115km with four major climbs packed into the route before the tough summit finish to the Plateau de Solaison.

Stage 7 Wrap: the early breakaway stayed clear with Peter Kennaugh taking the win a few seconds ahead of friend and former team mate Ben Swift, a surprising second even if he’s not a stereotypical sprinter, see his stage win in the 2014 Tour of the Basque Country. Behind things were relatively defensive until high on the Col de Sarenne. Romain Bardet took off from the main group, a revenge move to make amends and if he had the space on GC to go clear it was still a solid move which brought him up to sixth overall. Fabio Aru tried twice but each time he was boomerang, flying up the road only to come back. On the last slopes to Alpe d’Huez Richie Porte decided attack was the best way to defend his yellow jersey and dropped all his rivals bar Jacob Fuglsang. It was another display from Porte who has been consistent all week ahead of more erratic rivals, notably Chris Froome who looked at ease on Friday’s ascent of the Mont du Chat but lost a few seconds to his rivals.

The Route: just 115km but packed with 4,000m of vertical gain. They start in Albertville and head up the scenic Doron valley – where Tom Dumoulin cracked his wrist in the Tour de France last year – before tackling the first pass of the day, the Col des Saisies, 15km at an average of 6.4% but that includes a descending portion mid-way meaning most of the climb is above 7%. Then a descent – where Pierre Rolland crashed hard in the Tour de France last year – where as soon as the reach the village of Flumet they climb the other flank of the valley, this time the Col des Aravis, 6.6km at 6.9% and also with a descending section meaning steeper parts on the way up. A quick descent – where nobody famous crashed last year – is chased by the Col de la Colombière, 11.3km at 6.3% and steady for the most part, there are no descents midway to toy with the averages. Then comes a fast and dangerous descent down to the valley floor. Here there’s 10km of flat road to approach the final climb, a small disincentive for the climbers to try moves earlier because they’ll use up a lot of energy trying to stay away on this section but at least it’s short.

The Finish: 11.3km at 9.2% and described in fuller detail in yesterday’s Roads to Ride piece. There’s a narrow pinch point just before the climb to line things out in a case a sizeable group is approaching the climb and then they round a bend and it’s 10-12% for the first four kilometres, a selective start as they tackle the section that climbs up the side of a cliff. Things ease up a touch once they reach the village of Brison but it’s only towards the top that the slope begins to back off before levelling off to 2-3% for the final straight to the line.

The Contenders: Richie Porte was the best of the main contenders in Alpe d’Huez yesterday, shaking everyone except Jacob Fuglsang off his wheel and he should find the final climb to his liking, the steep parts allow him to attack again and go clear to take a stage win in the yellow jersey.

The overall classification is looking tight with no rider able to go away without representing a threat to another’s position, for example if Romain Bardet takes 30 seconds on the final climb then Alejandro Valverde and Fabio Aru’s positions are in danger so they might well respond. Bardet seems to be climbing well but Fabio Aru is too and both are picks for the stage along with Jacob Fuglsang who has been very consistent so far, placing few attacks than Aru but this has allowed him to track Porte closer. Alberto Contador is still seventh overall but hasn’t been a protagonist as he so often is in other races while Chris Froome is looking erratic but given his performance on the steep Mont du Chat he could be back on the mix on the steep finish. Alejandro Valverde has been tipped but not quite had it on the climbs… which could encourage him to stay as quiet as possible until the end.

Can the breakaway stay clear? It’s happened a lot this week but the brevity of the stage and the intense climbing makes it hard to build up a lead and the main contenders will climb so much faster. Names to think about include Ruben Fernandez (Movistar), Pierre Latour (Ag2r La Mondiale), Sam Oomen and Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) but their chances are slim.

Richie Porte
Fabio Aru, Romain Bardet, Jacob Fuglsang
Froome, Valverde

Weather: hot and sunny with 30°C in the valleys later on but cool at the start and at altitude.

TV: coverage starts at 1.30pm CET, in time to catch the race going up the Colombière. The finish is forecast for 2.50pm CET. It should be on the same channel you watch the Tour de France and/or Eurosport.

88 thoughts on “Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 8 Preview”

        • He called a late evening impromptu press conference after the Mont du Chat stage to tell reporters that his DS’ had told him not to attack on the climb.
          I’m not sure why he did that, frustration or to deflect criticism of his performance?
          He’s rode well enough, if without the usual élan, so it seemed an odd thing to do.
          Maybe all is not well in the team?

  1. My objective opinion says although Porte is riding well, he can’t be said to be in amazing form.

    For the simple reason that in all the Dauphine climbs so far, he hasn’t been able to drop 32 year old Fuglsang with a highest GT finish of 7th and average GT finish out of top 10-20.

    Yes Fuglsang does not often ride as a leader. But when he has before, he’s often showed up by elite climbers.

  2. Fuglesang has shadowed Nibali program since his 2nd Astana season as plan B for GT’s and one week stage races . 2013 was last time he rode as team leader in Paris Nice, Dauphine and TDF. He has only had autonomy when Nibali failed and in ardennes classics.
    In 2013 he was left pretty much on his own, in the final week the team consited of only Fuglsang and Lutchenko.

    His ITT used to be was world class among GT riders. For the past seasons it has vapourized as he improved his climbing and punch – he can now follow accelerations on climbs instead of just riding pace. These days he is often loosing time to true climbers on ITT’s whom he used to beat by minuttues (this week he lost 1 second to Areau).

    I dont think he is a true GT rider, he should focus on one week races incl the northern classics + aiming to win races like Paris-Nice and Tireno Adriatico.
    I’d love to see him focus an entire season on Flanders and Roubaix. Techical he is one step above Nibali and if he can regain the power he used to have in ITT’s he could do really well – especillay if its wet as illustrated by the 2014 cobbled TDF stage. He rode Flandars in 2016 to learn and did faily well in his debut, but i guess that the promise to be sole Astana leader for 2017 TDF after Nibalis departure persuaded him to give it one more go.

  3. Porte has bested the guys here pretty easily and no doubt the rest will be full of excuses and say that this is only the hors d’oeuvre rather than the top banana as far as French races go. But provided he has the luck I see no reason why he isn’t the top favourite in July. Froome looks like he needs polish- I heard rumours (with unknown sources) in some places suggesting he is trying to leak as late as possible to make a Tour/Vuelta double possible but he nearly did that double last year and was as untroubled in the Dauphine as Porte is being this year. Valverde has been disappointing and has been making slightly uncharacteristic attacks which have proved pointless. I wonder why he hasn’t been following the wheels like he usually does then nipping out for the sprint at the end? As to Contador, well my theory is that he is done as a big race winner against big race fields. His fans will demur but check his recent record.

  4. Chapeau Peter Kennaugh, he has never seemed to quite be able to fulfil his potential. Hopefully this has tied a spot at the TdF and he can move on from here.

    To state the obvious this race is Richie Porte’s to loose and on any objective analysis must be favourite for July. As to the rest, a good ride from Romain Bardet but the reality is he was let go as he is no threat to the overall. Chris Froome is a bit odd, looked back to near his best on the Mont du Chat here not quite at the races. I have seen comments that he is past his peak, not sure about that but there is clearly something not quite right. perhaps he has tweaked his training programme to peak later, perhaps not. I suppose it is possible the riders have accepted Richie Porte will win and are now treating the race as a training ride and we shouldnt read too much into individual performances. Mani Buchmann might be in with a chance of the white jersey in the TdF, though the stresses of a three week race might be too much at the moment.

    Will Richie Porte want the win today or will he be happy to simply watch his rivals, cover any moves before riding to the finish? Fabio Aru has been looking good, is no real threat to RP so he might be able to get clear, take the win and get on the podium

    • FFS, there is no “Mani Buchmann”, his name is Emanuel. Don’t listen to the names that Carla Kirby has to made up cause he’s too dumb or lazy to remember or pronounce the right ones. This is so disrespectful, and he does it with several riders.

    • Or extrapolating from very limited data, he’s just having his slightly off year as per 2014, but managed it better /is given more room than 2014.

      If this continues, DB is probably going to have another long uncomfortable ride back from Paris and the dog is still going to bark in 2018.

      • 2014 was not an off year for Froome.

        He won Oman, he won Romandie, he likely would have won Dauphine without the crash – if I say he would have won Tour without that and then the TDF crash there will be words from Gabriele etc – but come on we all know it’s incredibly likely. 2014 was ruined by two crashes not a jour sans.

        *(on two other notes –

        I think if Froome was arrogant enough a la Contador to say ‘I would have won 2014 without crashing’ more people would go along with the above, instead he’s quite humble and happy to go not put much fight to the ‘he was a bit nervous in 2014’ narrative that’s built up around that year – I think most objective fans don’t buy that – from every race I’ve seen with Froome at top form up until 2017 I cannot believe he wouldn’t have outclimbed/TT’d Nibali and Contador that year. Gabriele saying Nibali was the premiere GT rider in 13/14 is in cloud cukoo land, and quite frankly laughable.

        the other note – I do think it’s fair to say Froome is more susceptible to a crash than other riders with his height and necessary weight loss. I’m interested to see if Dumoulin will be similar)

        • In 2014, Nibali had an on year and out-hilled and out-cobbled the other GC contenders before first matching Contador on the first MTF (loosing a couple of seconds) and then the day after, he out-descended him. From there on, he out-biked every other rider in the race, and won the TDF with the largest margin in the last couple of years. That was a great performance!
          It isn’t necessarily so that the others were bad that year, but Nibali was best, all over, in the TDF. Out-standing when the others were out falling.

  5. Ritchie looks great, confident, comfortable, and calm, if nothing else it bodes well for a contest in July, would TJVG ride for him? If so that could be enough to get him over the line, Roach is supposed to be his Lieutenant, but can’t last deep into the stages. I think he will want to make a statement and take the stage and race in style.

      • This is a great point. How can BMC overlook a potential Tour victory for the sake of keeping TVG happy? We all know the team isn’t strong enough in the mountains, TVG would be invaluable to them – seems daft not to take him. Especially as Porte might give them victory at the Vuelta also if he follows the Froome/Quintana pattern, and there’s absolutely no way TVG could…

        BIG decision for BMC – if today happens in the Tour the will have egg on their face if they haven’t bitten the bullet.

        Porte will have Sanchez as well right?

        A BMC team of:
        8Bookwalter (or Frankiny? How good is he?)

        Would be a strong team. Take TVG and Sanchez out and it’s weak in the mountains. They would be crazy not to go all out for Porte. What do BMC do?

  6. It would be good if we could freeze everyone’s form as it is now for the Tour, that way we might have the chance of an interesting race. Porte would be obviously the strongest but nailed on to lose time in a first week crash/echelon, with a jour sans to follow. Froome seems both strong and weak at the same time, but with his Tour A team to guide him through his bad days he’d be up there. Aru keeps trying to attack and looks relatively good, and Bardet would be a bit of a wildcard in the mountains too. Plus you’d have Thomas turning up with a chip on his shoulder after the Giro and Quintana with unknown form but something to prove. The thing is though I can’t get the feeling out of my head that Froome will have it all under control when the time comes.

  7. Great shot of a flying Richie Porte. It also shows how small his bike is. Two years ago when he had just switched teams I visited Paris-Nice and saw this very small BMC in front of the team bus. I was wondering which possibly Columbian climber would come out of the bus and ride away on it when finally Richie mounted it.
    Also interesting to see shallow rimmed climbing wheels are still popular for stages like this despite the high average speeds even on climbing stages and the fact that the bike has to be weighed up in order to reach the weight limit. Most probably a psychological thing as the lighter wheels feel a tiny little quicker, livelier to accelerate during a possibly decisive attack late in the race but certainly a blow to the wheel sponsors – Shimano in this case – who are interested in making us believe that aerodynamic trumps everything.

    • STS,
      A+ for shallow rimmed climbing wheels.
      Don’t need to add weight, spend more to do it & then carry that baggage up the mountain.

      • Nothing more than box section alloys needed especially for upward finishes. However, this view doesn’t make much money nowadays! still holds true though.

  8. Poor Richie seems to be once again let down by his weak team. Was already isolated on the first climb of the day. I hope BMC brings up a stronger squad for TdF in order to be able to provide assistance when he really needs it. Three weeks can be such a long time 😉 .

    • Not going with Froome’s acceleration, not even attempting to do so, close to the top of the Colombière was a rookie mistake of Richie. Lost him the race. It’ll become nearly impossible to win any GT if you do mistakes like that.

      • And Kwiato was already left behind at that point but then managed to join back Froome in the valley afterwards. So he had to pass Richie in the descent and he did not follow him? WTF?

      • Froome made the acceleration and then cracked on the final climb. What’s to say he wasnt paying for that acceleration and that Porte would have followed a similar fate if he has acted in kind.

        • Of all those featuring in the GC battle Richie was by far the strongest today. He was able to climb the last climb as fast as Fuglsang despite having to speed along the 10 ks trough the valley at probably his FTP all on his own. He would have had plenty of time to recover for that less than 1 minute burst of >500 Watts it would have taken him to follow Froome on the Colombière. And if he can’t do that then at least man up and grab your last chance and follow Kwiato when he comes by in the descent. Which the guy from Cannondale-Drapac did who crossed the pass with Richie. Even if Kwiato then had decided to stop riding – which I doubt he would have done – it would have helped Porte to significantly reduce the gap to the Froome group where Fuglsang was cruising along through the valley at some 2xx watts.

  9. Funny thought, Contador is more and more like a “King Maker” these days. And oddly, the actual King benefits more if they are on different team to AC.

    • How do you figure? Contador didn’t seem to have played a part in anything that happened this Dauphine. Sticking like glue to Froomes wheel one minute, dropped the next.

      • Agreed. No idea what Contador did to be king maker. Mr Irrelevant more like. More and more irrelevant in last few years – would be stunned to see anything from him at Tour… as has been the norm against top opposition in top TDF form since his doping ban…

        • At the time of writing, it looked like he could have worked with Froome on final ascent, obviously that didn’t happen.

          But there had been instances where Contador’s aggression has benefited others rather than himself. Most notably last year’s Vuelta.

          • Fair point. Didn’t happen today though.

            I think he should have slipped away a few years ago – every year he stays sours his legacy – he’s been so far below the top riders in their top TDF form and managed to cover that up with Vuelta/Giro victories but you can’t ignore his talent drop from pre-ban to post-ban (for someone who denies it) being painfully suspicious now. I thought he was a once in a generation talent… but it doesn’t feel that way any longer. Like him for the occasional excitement but it’s rarely at the top TDF level – if ever in the last seven years?

  10. The other thing is that Froome seems quite void of team support by Sky standard this Dauphine. Wondering what’s brewing up in the Sky camp. Maybe nothing at all.

  11. TDF is going to be fascinating. If Ritchie, Fuglsang, Quintana, Froome can avoid issues could be incredible. Nip and tuck… assuming Ritchie doesn’t have a customary jour-sans (which he kinda avoided last year, aside from TT?)… or Ritchie is on another level and it’ll be dull as? Can Froome up his game? Has Fuglsang gone up a notch? Will Quintana be too tired? I’m Discounting Contador, haven’t seen anything from him at TDF for years – no hope unless luck plays a part. PS Why is Dumoulin at Swiss tour? Is there any hint he could go to TDF? This is going to be an interesting few weeks at least until the first mountain stage! Shame Nibali isn’t going to join the party just for kicks, he must be tempted seeing Froome weaker than his usual TDF invincible self?

  12. What a race, marvelous… Sublime… I think Froome by attacking so hard has lost a Tasmanian friend, he’s gonna miss him in the coming Tour

      • Not so sure. Froome and his team rode for Astana’s victory today. At the start of the stage Froome might have thought he had a chance. But on the third climb? He must have felt that he did not stand a chance against Porte today on the final climb and that others who were already in front of them were clearly fresher. But he still attacked very close to the pass. Just for training? Or to prevent that the guy that went away from Sky wins this and becomes even more confident for the TdF?
        I don’t think Porte will ever do them a favor again now that he knows what to expect from them.

  13. Heard a couple of comment from Martin & Porte to the effect that other riders were prepared to risk their podium places to make Porte lose. Seems like an odd way of putting it & implies some bad blood between Porte and those unnamed riders. Froome attacked to win and I can’t see how anyone was racing purely to do Porte down.

    Anyone got any ideas?

    • See my answer to Junkie above. Froome is too experienced to think that he had a chance of besting Richie when he attacked close to the summit of the Colombière after all the unsuccessful attempts before. And he didn’t even have a teammate in front of him at that point. It was only after Kwiato did an extraterrestrian effort on the descent that Froome could argue that his attack did make sense. But the big question is: Why did Richie not follow his last attack with all he had? And why didn’t he follow Kwiato when he passed him?

      • Think you have this wrong – Ritchie not talking about Sky – more likely Movistar etc – Sky and Astana were racing for the win with legitimate attacks that didn’t come off – just because they didn’t come off doesn’t suddenly mean they were clearly doomed from the start and were part of some bigger dark-lord-esq plan – plus given the history between Sky & Astana it’s a no go that he rode for them. Ritchie likely means Valverde but either way he’s a little daft to put this out in the open. If for some strange reason he does mean Froome, extremely doubtful, he has it very wrong and will surely see in time.

      • Well, Froome managed to get enough of a lead to be in virtual yellow at one point. That doesn’t strike me as being a spiteful attempt to spoil Richie’s big day, it was a solid attack that ran out of legs on the final climb. And Kwiatkowski didn’t pass Porte, he came back to Froome (who did the work on the descent, did you see him catch & pass the Contador group?) from the break.

        • Kwiat did catch and pass Porte on the descent. He had been caught by Porte and Froome on the penultimate climb just before the Froome attack and dropped by Porte as the Aussie responded. MK’s descent must have been spectacular. There seemed to be a short period near the foot of the descent where Froome eased off the gas and suddenly MK was back on and pulling hard.

          Can’t really see what Porte was whinging about. Everyones efforts on the final day seemed to me to be valid ‘Hail Marys’ to try and unseat a dominant leader. Porte was preoccupied with Froome and let the win slip through his fingers. His comments only make sense to me if he was upset at Froome and others not pulling on the penultimate climb. Froome’s attack was perfectly timed, as Porte had been clearly finding it difficult to match him on descents in previous days and Froome suspected he couldn’t out climb him in the finale. Froome gambled for the win and it didn’t come off….as did Aru, Valverde, Martin……even Fulgsang’s effort only just suceeded. Porte really has only himself – and lack of team support – to blame.

        • Watch closely. Kwiatkowski was dropped behind Porte, Oomen and Benoot before the Colombiere summit, so he must have passed him on the descent. Or find a shorter way downhill to suddenly occur in the Froome group.

          • He did pass on the descent, France Televisions moto reporter called this out during the stage when he saw him go past Porte on the descent.

            As mentioned on here before descending isn’t Porte’s strong point while Kwiatkowski is very good at it, he won the 2014 world championships in part thanks to his descending skills.

          • Yes, or you could say Kwiatkowski’s valley effort won it for Fuglsang! That group’s lead on Porte doubled while MK was burying himself on the run in to the climb.

            I’d like to retract my ‘whinging Porte’ comment above. Just heard a long interview with him and he wasn’t moaning very much and accepted it as ‘just racing’. Seemed genuinely pleased for Fuglsang too.

          • Kwiatkowski’s valley effort was all for Froome winning the race. He was virtual leader after Kwias’s pulling. Only Froome hadn’t the legs in last climb but Fuglsang did. End of story.

          • Well not quite end of story, Kwiatkowski was of course working for Froome, not Fuglsang, but without MK’s valley effort pulling that group an extra 30 seconds or so clear of Porte, Fuglsang’s excellent climb would not have been enough to clinch the GC.

            It was cetainly enough to make a poor beleagured Aussie feel the world was against him!

  14. One takeaway from this years Dauphine, is that the Tour in July may be awesome and exciting. Robotics be damned. Wide open.

  15. It’s odd that Fuglsang, a domestique his entire career with zero wins at World Tour level (at least with Astana), suddenly breaks out of the pack of hard-core favorites, at their peak, in the last three days. I mean he was so “off-the-radar” prior to the start. Nothing in his few races this season indicated this top level of performance was to come. Even if he wasn’t riding for Vino and the Astana squad, one would ask of his performance: Has he turned to the dark side, Luke?

    • Because if Fuglsang’s performance is on the up-and-up, with no funny business, then the poor man is like Cinderella who’s been slaving away all these years for her evil Italian step-mother and step-sisters, with no chance to meet her Prince Charming–until now.

    • I think people may have forgotten the last Dane to suddenly explode from the peloton and land the big prize in the 90s. Just saying….

      • Just like David Millar ? An ITT’er who suddenly wanted to climb and ride GC in GT’s ?

        Fuglsang finnished 6th in Dauphine (and Catelonia) as a neo pro back in 2009 – almost winning on Mt Ventoux when he broke away from the main peloton at the base.

        2009, thats before Wiggens could climb, when Porte was still swimming and Frome rode Motirolo ‘the nibali way’ when he was not crashing out of ITT’s within the first 50 meters. In 2013 he was 4th in Dauphine. In 2010 he was 3rd in tour de swiss and 4th in 2011 (while riding as domestique for the Schlecks)

        Its not like fuglsang is comming out of nowhere, he has been there in the toughest one week stage races since he was an under 23 neo pro.

        Did i mention UCI cross country MTB under 23 world champion?

        • I agree that Fuglsang isn’t completely out of the blue, he’s been around a while as one of the better climber domestiques who’s also handy in his own right in shorter stage races and one dayers. A bit of a Scandinavian Kreuziger. Didn’t he get a medal at the Olympics last year? And I seem to recall him being at the sharp end of Lombardia a couple of times. Still, it would be a massive surprise if he won the Tour. Which he won’t.

          • The surprise that Fuglsang hasn’t won more before, not that he won the Dauphiné. Seventh in the Tour de France before, he could well have picked up a few stage wins and one week stage races but this week saw him take his first World Tour win.

          • Fuglsang cant sprint, his evils have been fast guys likeRui Costa, Dan Martin, Samuel Sanches, Van Avermat etc. Fridays sprint was between the 4 slowest guys on the line (looked almost redicously) Additionally has previously lost time when upill sprinters like Valverde, Purito accelerated the last 2-300m… bonus + 10-20 sec pr stage.

          • I loved hearing that the Olympics gave Fuglsang confidence – I know the old mantra success breeds success but it’s so satisfying when a rider who’s clearly good makes a mental breakthrough from aggressive riding and takes themselves to a new level subsequently. IE GVA and Cadel E being good examples.

            I think it makes me happy because these stories promote aggressive racing – seeing so many riders sit of Froome’s wheel yesterday, whilst sensible in one sense tactically, did seem to make it abundantly clear why he’s on a different level mentally to many of them.

          • Agreed, he is in no way ‘out of the blue’ – he’s been arguably the best mountain domestique for years now but I was beginning to think he would never get the chance to shine in his own right on the highest stage. Hopefully this will boost his ‘Olympic confidence’ and pursuade Astana to let him go for it.

            On the subject of confidence, with a little bit more of the stuff, Meintjes could have bagged the stage win and white jersey yesterday. I’ve never really been impressed with him before, but the way he closed in the last 3km had me thinking he left it too late. Hopefully, this will give him the boost to believe he can be an influence at the top table, rather than just hanging on ‘a la Zubeldia’.

  16. “Junkie” opinions:

    Contador: “Like him for the occasional excitement but it’s rarely at the top TDF level – if ever in the last seven years?”
    Froome: “2014 was not an off year for Froome.” Yeah, it’s “incredibly likely” he’d have won the Tour (where his team wasn’t even protecting him as they should) because it’s “incredibly likely” he would have won Dauphiné, too (where he ended with a total shipwreck, far more than the fall may justify). Sure. He had won Oman and Romandie, you know?

    Ok, so Froome didn’t stand a chance against Contador in 2014 Vuelta. Both in identical conditions. We must imagine that 2014 Froome wasn’t that good, or that less than 3 years ago Contador was superior to a supposed TdF rider.

    Only other options available: “TDF level” means “you can reach that at the TDF only”. Which is curiously different from what data show while at the same time sounds very like the old Armstrong lullabies.
    Or “Froome’s form is the most unstable thing in the universe, right there with some bosons, and his undeniable superiority disappears to make of him a lesser rider in some races, even a very mediocre one in some others”. Obviously, it’s up to his fans to decide when he’s got his “TDF level”, which is “when he wins what he has to”, irrespective of any other consideration. Curiously enough, if you take a quick look to Froome’s victories, you’ll notice that most of them are TDF – Dauphiné. Outside that couple of races, you’re left with very, very little else. A couple of Romandies, barely a handful of valuable *stages* (Vuelta and Tirreno). The rest was collected in amasingly minor races, tending to insignificant (HST, Andalucía, Oman, CI and the likes).
    If you’ve got a “proper engine”, call it overall quality or whatever, you end up winning nearly without really going it for it even outside your little reservoir. Unless your form is very, very unstable.

    I’d second this latter theory, but that leaves us without *any* chance to extrapolate fantastic results which Froome didn’t actually achieve. It’s complicated with every rider, but with Froome it’s simply laughable.
    Many were expecting him to win this Dauphiné, for example, or last Vuelta, or the 2013 Tirreno, or any of the last three Romandies, or this year’s HST, or the 2012 Vuelta, or whatever etc. etc. etc…. sometimes he came close but at the same time clearly out of winning reach, some other times it was even a total fail, expressing a level so much lower than his supposed “TDF standard” that no top rider would ever get down to (in terms of difference), even if short of form.
    It’s a bit like Nibali… since 2014 included (and unlike what Quintana or Contador generally do in most races, with very few and very predictable exceptions).

    • oh blimey. here we go. what a load of biased codswallop.

      we all have eyes, you’re living in a fantasy world.

      Froome’s victories are only at TDF – Dauphine? What about wins at Oman, Romandie, Criterium International, Andalucia, stage wins in Vuelta, Tirreno… basically he’s won something at some point in virtually every race he’s entered since 2012…

      you really need to give up the desperate Froome hate – he’s clearly the stand out GT rider of this generation up until this year despite whatever new increasingly restrictive parameter you dream up each time another TDF win confirms his talent. Just give it a rest – we all have eyes, we all know the deal.

      Onto this years TDF! Could be so interesting and absorbing!
      (please don’t ruin it for us Gabriele by taking Froome’s possible fall as proof of your high and mighty theories)

      • “Froome hate”? ^__^
        You should accuse me of “Nibali hate” as well.

        Froome is what he is, for now. The leading GT rider of the last couple of years, with a very narrow top performance focus time.

        I don’t know how you’d define a “generation” but since the word’s current meaning normally covers a span of 20-25 years, it would be daring to reduce that at much less than 10 years. Froome isn’t, quite clearly, the leading GT rider from, say, 2007 to 2017. Even if you wanted to take into account that old debunked nonsense of “Contador after being DSQ”… well, we’ll need to see what about Froome’s results from now to 2022. I don’t rule out, not at all, he’ll be able to prove he’ll be the rider of “a generation”, was it so. Was it so.

        My guess, but this is really a wild guess, is that he’ll be one very significant figure in a transition period, with his strong performances in the most important race as his greatest value and with the most relevant flaw – in order to really stand out – being his drop in performance *elsewhere* (which may be just relative, and still place him in a good position, see the Vuelta – but which is often surprisingly huge). Please notice the difference between “elsewhere” and “anywhere else”.

        I already appreciated his growth as a more mature rider in recent year, his capability to win against a strong rival favoured by the course, his will to put a few sparks in the worst Tour in years.

        Outside of that, exactly as I anticipated above, you’re forced to go for minor races or… stage wins! Come on.
        Not to speak of the fact that in *Romandie* he already proved himself disappointing way more often than not, even if you exclude “old 2011 Froomie”, despite that being one of his very few hunting grounds, the only WT one besides Tour and “Dauffy” (I don’t believe much in WT, but it’s not like Froome’s other victories happened in prestigious races who the WT cruelly left out, like, dunno Appennino – his best Classics result ever, by the way – or Vuelta a Burgos…)..

        You offered me the occasion to clarify a couple of points, but I must also say that you smell a bit like the sort of fanboy or simulated fanboy who just goes for a brawl.

        • “You offered me the occasion to clarify a couple of points, but I must also say that you smell a bit like the sort of fanboy or simulated fanboy who just goes for a brawl”.
          Sorry, this looked like the sort of gratuitous insult I’m known for, but – no: I just forgot to finish the sentence (getting oldie like Conty). I meant: “I must also say etc. etc., *hence* I won’t answer any further in this thread”. That was what it was meant for.

  17. Great race in its own right and right down to the wire! Superb win by Fuglsang and great to watch Porte making gains on his own roommate. Really bodes well for the next race!

    Speaking of – Inrng I’m curious – do you know what sort of programme the top GC guys will have between now and Le Tour? Assuming they are in peak form now – how do you rest from a week like this and then prepare for the next without losing the form you have? Do you need to keep working really hard, or taper down like some athletes?

    thanks, m

    • Most of them obviously aren’t in top form.
      Most of them don’t need at all much tapering because they didn’t go all in.
      The most typical situation is needing to shave some weight (look for the riders who performed relatively better in the easy ITT than climbing).

      Hard to say about individual training, but my guess would be that next month they’ll have some more altitude training but not necessarily in Tenerife. They’ll work on pace variations and attacks, avoiding the blocks of “mass” or “quantity” work they’ve probably been doing before the Dauphiné.

    • It depends on the riders:
      – Fuglsang is going to Tenerife/Teide but worth remembering very little of the Tour route is at altitude
      – Aru is off to Sestriere for more climbing and altitude (note the Astana pair don’t train together)
      – Bardet is going recon some Alpine climbs this week, address a business school in Grenoble and do some mountain intervals to sharpen his climbing. We’ll see if he spends more time on the TT bike, he could do with it

      In general most riders have long blocks before the Dauphiné like Gabriele says, now is about sharper efforts to reach that fabled peak. They’ll do uphill efforts to simulate attacks and responding to attacks.

      • Going into another altitude camp three weeks before the Tour must be pretty unusual. A novel approach? Because typically you don’t / can’t do the high intensity efforts you have to do to push your form to the max at altitude.
        But no, on Tenerife / Teide they only sleep at altitude and train much lower. Same for Sestrière.
        Typically it’s high intensity, not too many hours and lots of recovery time. Weight loss? No not any mare so close to the Tour since you need to have your reservoirs topped up when doing this high intensity stuff successfully. If you still want to lose some kilos now you’re desperate. Or you’re already in great shape but still carry too much weight. Which is a rare thing at that time of year for any high zoot GC rider nowadays.

        • Most riders will lose 1-2 kgs in the month before the race (sometimes including the first week of a GT), with one kg being sort of a standard and 2 sort of a upper limit. The weight they hold while delivering top performance isn’t really sustainable or healthy to be kept for months.
          To perform high intensity you need your muscular storage to be fully available (glicogen and so) which means short term carbo loading, your body fat isn’t directly involved as such for the most part (otherwise, they couldn’t atack while in racing form… with ridiculous body fat percentages).
          The two “reservoirs” shouldn’t be confused.
          Obviously, carbo loading may make weight loss more complicated, but it’s far from impossible when we’re speaking of the above mentioned quantities: the coach just does his maths. Losing a pound a week would leave you on your knees, but 150-200 gr a week is perfectly compatible with training.
          They intentionally keep that little margin because when you shave it away you find yourself with increased punch (and to avoid getting ill when you’re fine tuning).

          Altitude training a few weeks before a race isn’t that novel at all (it was being done by some in the 2000s) but it has been become more and more common in very recent years.
          In the last 3-4 years many chose that option. They work at varying altitudes, indeed, but also over 2,000, depending on the daily task (in fact, you can add Passo San Pellegrino to the list of favourites and it doesn’t reach 2,000).
          Sierra Nevada can also be popular before the Tour, but Livigno has become a classic: in 2016 Contador went there between Dauphiné and Tour, and Roche, in that same 2016, was training there right before tackling the Yorkshire (which is one week before the Giro he was then racing).

          What you describe with much recovery time is true for the last phase, entering tapering (say from next weekend on), but those who did the Dauphiné, will mainly have a further block of work before that, significant in quantity even if intensity focussed.
          Apparently, people consider that they work better on intensity at home instead of at races, which was the usual way… (which ended up hindering TdS startlist, indeed).

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