A flat prologue for today, the chance to establish a hierarchy from the start and a quick guide to form. It’s early with the last rider due to finish before many in France will have finished their lunch.
The Route: a 6.6km prologue in Valence, on the banks of the river Rhone. Valence has hosted a stage of Paris-Nice, now it’s the Dauphiné and next month it’ll host a stage of the Tour de France. Today’s course is nothing technical and it’s so flat it’s not worth bothering with the profile, just 50m of vertical gain, most of which comes after the flamme rouge where there’s a right-hand bend and it climbs away from the river and into the city centre.
The Contenders: who to pick from Team Sky? Michał Kwiatkowski, Geraint Thomas, Jonathan Castroviejo used to be a short distance TT specialist in his Euskatel days, Gianni Moscon and Dylan van Baarle could all crowd the top-10 today. Thomas is the prime pick.
BMC Racing’s Tom Bohli went so close in the Tour de Romandie and has a course even more to his liking. Paddy Bevin could do well here too but it’s likely too flat.
Bob Jungels was third in the Dauphiné’s opener in 2014 (pictured) and can do a good time again, probably not the stage win but it’ll stand him in good stead for the TT. Team mate Julian Alaphilippe has won time trials before like in Paris-Nice but this is probably too flat and linear for him.
Lars Boom won the Dauphiné prologue in 2011 but Lotto-Jumbo’s best chance is probably TT specialist Jos Van Emden who excels on flat courses like today. Meanwhile Lotto-Soudal’s Victor Campanaerts is another specialist for whom today is the most important stage. Mitchelton-Scott’s Alex Edmondson is their best bet.
|Jos Van Emden, Tom Bohli
|Jungels, Castroviejo, Campenaerts, Edmondson
Weather: a possible advantage for early starters with a rising chance of rain and even a storm in the afternoon but since the stage is over early everyone might still stay dry. 25°C the top temperature.
TV: early, the last rider back will arrive at 2.50pm CEST.