Critérium du Dauphiné Prologue Preview

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.

Team Sky
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.

32 thoughts on “Critérium du Dauphiné Prologue Preview”

  1. Castroviejo not part of Team Sky anymore?? 😉

    After his Norway travails, Boom probably won’t win but I’m sure he’ll be looking to make a statement of sorts. Brändle is the one I think you may have missed though.

    • Good pick for Brändle, but he’s just an infrequent winner and yet to win anything in the World Tour so he was left out. Trek-Segafredo would love it though, they’ve having a tough season.

      • As you say, not enough wins though 6th isn’t too bad.

        Poor G. Shame they have turns. Looks like it would have been a Sky one two four otherwise. And Bardet beats Nibs… practice paying off…

  2. The 2014 Dauphine prologue was a little longer at ten-plus kms but Jungels did well apparently to catch his marker. The lead photo reminds me of the old Trofeo Baracchi and some of its classic pairings in the 1980s…

  3. Three chainrings Team Sky? I guess it won’t be hard to imagine who will have a chance in the later TTT either then? I took a little heat yesterday over my (I think justified) criticisms of Bardet. So let’s see how many seconds he can lose to the likes of Thomas, Jungels and Alaphilippe in only 6.6kms. 0-5 good, 5-15 ok, 15-25 hmmm, 25+ oops!

    • Your criticisms that people took exception to were not about his time trial ability, but about his attitude and whether or not you like him. Your comments were pretty much all about yourself. You specifically terming him, this Frenchman, said a lot more than you probably intended.

      • What I say and what you read may or may not coincide. Which I think is something like French philosopher Jacques Derrida said. For avoidance of doubt, Bardet’s Frenchness is no issue here.

    • I think you are being a little unfair on Romain Bardet (but, as always, the racing over the next couple of months will prove us right or, more often, wrong). He and his team have put in huge efforts with the express aim of winning the TdF. I guess TT will never be his thing much like a Classics type stage will never be Nairo Quintana’s. RB has been highly visible this spring in races that have gone nowhere near any mountains, a good performance at Strade Bianci I remember and I think others too. Yes he is likely to loose time today and possibly with the TTT (though the team look reasonable, how many out of the 7 need to finish?) but he could do really well in the last four stages. Perhaps foolish to write him off before a pedal has been turned?

      • Bardet did say that he distaste ITT training. However, I think it’s more about ”lowering expectations” than him not spending time on it.

        That said, his negative attitude towards ITT would limit the gain he can make from ITT trainings. For him, ITT is something to suffer through/tick off the list.

    • I don’t think it’s the comment on Bardet as such that people have exception with, more your constant, rather smug, obsession with everything Team Sky. You were briefly quite humble prior to and during the early stages of the Giro when Froome wasn’t dominant. Ever since stage 19 you’ve been back on turbo smug. You remind me of all the Man Utd fans from when I was at school. You’ve picked the dominant team (and rider) to support and talk about it is if you’re some sort of genius for doing so. Most people over the age of 11 are more naturally enclined towards the underdog and as such cheer for riders such as Bardet. They know their weaknesses, it probably contributes to why they like them. They don’t need you to point out how superior Froome et al are at every opportunity. That’s my take on it anyway.

        • Easy, people can have different views but there’s no need to argue as it will never end, once readers start taking pot shots at each other it just leads to bad tempers. But this also applies to Ron for flood commenting the same message again and again, please save my bandwidth.

      • I don’t know how long RonDe has been a fan of Sky but you wouldn’t have called him a Man Utd fan if it was from 2010 when they started. Sky were once the underdog as was Froome. That they now aren’t is credit to them not cause for some kind of inverse snobbery as if supporting the winners is not allowed.

        • Well, Rich is spot on that dude was talking endless shit on Froome being in decline, washed, etc – to the the point of naysaying anyone who said maybe don’t count Froome out yet – before and during the Giro right up until stage 19 and since then has been in full-throated Sky is great everyone else sucks mode. I’d call that prime frontrunning. Which, whatever, but it does make the schtick more grating I think. Nothing wrong with being a Sky, Man U, Yankees, fan per se – I mostly like Sky myself, tho without the starry eyes – it’s the superiority and condescension toward other athletes and teams. Inrng, I hear you, I’m all for free speech + diversity of views, it just gets a bit much.

          And if we’re talking deconstructionists, Paul de Man is probably more appropriate for Sky.

          Nice ride by Flower today btw, dude is always class.

    • A climber who knew he’d ship TT time made the race at the Giro this year and it’d be great for the race to see Bardet similarly on the offensive in the mountains here. Point being… a race of diverse riders makes for a good race!

      Sky v Sky or Froome v Froome would be quite dull. Lets enjoy what we have on our plates at the Dauphiné!

  4. Feels a bit old school having a genuine prologue that isn’t really twisty and doesn’t involve cobbles, a beach, a cycle track or the whole team. I think Boardman will just pip Indurain and Rominger…

      • I’m all for it. I wish they still started Grand Tours with prologues. I’ve always quite liked them though may be in a minority.

    • “or the whole team”
      A prologue by definition of the rules never involves teams, a prologue is an ITT not longer than 8km

      prologue may be included in stage races on condition that:
      1. it must not exceed 8 km; for an elite or juniors women’s or juniors men’s race, the
      must be less than 4 km;
      2. the
      prologue must be run as an individual time trial. If more than 60 riders are
      involved, the
      interval between the start of any two riders shall not exceed one minute”

      • You know what I mean. The Giro and Vuelta (and Tirreno-Adriatico) went through a phase of starting with short team time trials on rubbish fiddly courses.

    • Not all of us want that…I still think of bicycle racing as a “contest of athletes using bicycles” rather than some F1 or MOTOGP battle of engineers and computer-mavens. Of course the bike biz supports the latter so there’s (IMHO) too much emphasis on bikes as some sort of huge advantage. I still claim whomever is last at LeTour would still have been last even if he rode the bikes of the winner…and vice versa. May it ever be so.

        • Sorry, but most people indicate a joke with a smiley face or something similar. I have to admit back-in-the-day photos in WINNING Magazine of those wacky seat fairings and steel frames that looked as if they’d been laid on the ground and steamrollered were a great source of entertainment at the bike shop. Then LeMond won with those geeky tri-bars and it was all over 🙂

    • Thank you for that pic, haha. It looks crazy, I remember some pictures of Fignon on it too in the “overall” castorama outfit – Hard not to smile a bit.

      But I wonder if the idea is sound aerodynamically speaking?

      • I’m no expert but I think it’s got some merit, there’s an area of low pressure behind the rider that a uk tt er uses bottle storage to fill and lower drag.

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