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Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 1 Preview

A short loop around the Cantal region and its extinct volcanoes. The best bit is the climb of the Puy Mary, too early for TV but a spectacular road before a finishing circuit fearing a climb that will rumble any sprinters short of form. Note the early finish today to avoid a TV schedule clash with the tennis in Roland Garros.

The Route: a start in Aurillac, know to many in France as a city that always seems to have the coldest temperatures on the TV weather bulletins and then a dash to the Puy Mary climb, 10km at 6% and 3-4% near the top, an obvious target for the early breakaway as there’s a mountains jersey to be won with 10–8–6–4–2–1 points for the first six compared to 2-1 points for the Saint-Cernin climb and 5-3-2-1 for the two ascensions of Roquenatou.

Roquenatou is 3.5km at 7% and comes with 45km to go and 18km to go. Few sprinters are starting the race but if any have shown up out of form they could struggle, perhaps being dropped if teams set a tough pace but otherwise just going into the red and paying for it.

The Finish: flat, it’s a wide road into the small town of Jussac.

The Contenders: it looks like a sprint… but where are the sprinters? Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) is here and has a good win rate this season, if he doesn’t win today then he should tomorrow or the day after. Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quickstep) is another pure sprinter, he’s a big rider so the climbs could be a problem but this is no mountain stage. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) needs a result because he’s on the jobs market at the moment, the talent is there as he’s bagged beaucoup stages of the Giro and Vuelta but hasn’t won since the Vuelta. André Greipel (Arkéa-Samsic) rounds out the pure sprinters but has had a quiet season.

Next comes a set of fastmen. Edvald Boasson Hagen can contest sprints and given Dimension Data’s dire season – they’re ranked below Wanty-Gobert, a living argument against creating franchises for pro teams – surely management will be insisting the Norwegian sprints. Sonny Colbrelli is Bahrain-Merida’s house sprinter, a versatile rider but caught between two stools, not the fastest in a dragstrip finish, not the punchiest in an uphill finish and the well-funded team has only three wins to their name this season. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana) used to win races by sprint but is he a sprinter? It’s more testimony to his talent that he can win in sprints and by other means. Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) is normally a lead out rider these days but has won in his own right. There are a few more contenders, Wanty-Gobert have a brace of riders, Ag2r La Mondiale’s Clément Venturini could be close, ditto Katusha-Alepecin’s Jens Debusschere.

Sam Bennett
Nacer Bouhanni, Alvaro Hodeg
Greipel, EBH, Venturini, Colbrelli, Nielsen, Mezgec

Weather: cloudy and the chance of rain, 22°C

TV: the finish is forecast for 2.50pm CEST / Euro time.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • DJW Sunday, 9 June 2019, 9:06 am

    A route where the major climb is featured early and is followed by less challenging terrain always seems a pity. It would have been interesting to see the route inverted thus finishing with the Puy Mary climb and the partly narrow and technical descent down the Jordanne valley to Aurillac. As for the winner, why not Daryl Impey from a reduced peloton?

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 9 June 2019, 10:39 am

      It it was hillier perhaps it’d suit Impey more, he got a stage here last year but could feature again too.

  • Anonymous Sunday, 9 June 2019, 10:07 am

    Is there radio commentary for this race in France?

    • The Inner Ring Sunday, 9 June 2019, 10:41 am

      It’s not live for the last hour like the Tour de France but France Info and France Bleu are media sponsors and should cover it along the way.

      • Anonymous Monday, 10 June 2019, 11:37 pm


  • KevinK Sunday, 9 June 2019, 12:35 pm

    I find this an intriguing stage. I’d love to see Bennett continue his strong season, esp. after not going to the Giro. It’s hard not to cheer for Greipel to do well, and Cort Nielsen is fun to watch. And there’s even a part of me cheering for Bouhanni, who I think has earned a break from his pariah status.

    On that note, it was interesting to me to see the response to Laporte’s win in stage 1 of the Tour of Luxembourg. He put Jules into the barriers meters from the finish, and Jules had an absolutely horrific crash. I kept thinking that if it had been Bouhanni instead of Laporte in exactly the same situation, Bouhanni would have been DQ’s, expelled from the race, and probably worse.

    • RQS Sunday, 9 June 2019, 2:14 pm

      I don’t think Bouhanni has done anything of the sort. He needs to keep his head down and let his cycling do the talking (win or lose) and we will see if the leopard has changed his spots.

      Not sure about this Critérium. It looks a little short on the excitement stakes and a little too sprinter friendly for the CdD. The lines up look explosive enough though. Hopefully will be a good show before the main event (TdF).

      • KevinK Sunday, 9 June 2019, 6:20 pm

        I feel a little sympathy for Bouhanni because I know he’s one of the few Muslims in the peloton, and I have no idea what he’s had to deal with because of that. Maybe he’s just an innate jerk with poor impulse control who should have been banned from cycling long ago, maybe there’s a little more to the guy than we all get to see, I don’t know.

        • Bon Monday, 10 June 2019, 12:53 am

          What has his religion got to do with anything? Bouhanni is known to be a bit of jerk in the peloton.

          • KevinK Monday, 10 June 2019, 10:49 am

            It’s not so much religion as ethnicity and racism. I think it’s safe to say the French majority has had a somewhat fraught history with respect to its substantial muslim population. I’m trying not to say anything inflammatory here, and I know we’re getting well away from what this blog is about, but I have traveled enough and lived enough different places to empathize at least a little with what it’s like to grow up as part of a minority community and then try to integrate successfully into the majority community, whether it’s being black in the US or muslim in Europe. Anyway, that’s the last I’ll say on this, as I don’t want to get further into the weeds.

    • Anonymous Sunday, 9 June 2019, 3:43 pm

      He didn’t put anyone into the barriers. He didn’t even move.
      The Wallonie rider tried to sneak through a gap that just wasn’t there, respectively the barriers went narrower. Laporte hold his straight line, it wasn’t his fault. And the commisaires obviously saw it the same way. So what’s your point?

      • KevinK Sunday, 9 June 2019, 6:08 pm

        I watched the race live, and watched the replays repeatedly from all angles. Jules (“the Wallonie rider”) started his move by going wide around Laporte, who was on the left side of the road. There was room for half a dozen riders to get around Laporte’s right side. Laporte responded by drifting right until there was a tiny lane left for Jules. As Jules started to pass Laporte, they came to a place where the barriers were pushed out about a foot by idiot fans. Right at that pinch point, Laporte y leaned into Jules with his shoulder and then hip, and Jules’ front wheel hit the foot of the barrier and ripped the tire off the rim. The podium ceremony was delayed about 15 minutes, so the commisaires clearly were considering what to do. Note that Petite had no problem holding his line straight to the finish, and that the next nearest sprinters behind Laporte/Jules were 3-4 abreast and no one got squeezed near the danger point.

        My point is there is a double standard for different riders. Some never get the benefit of the doubt, and others do. DQS has evolved a sprint style that I think is often dangerous and risky, and they virtually never get called on it. That’s why I was shocked at Viviani’s penalty in the Giro. This is something the UCI needs to improve dramatically.

        • Dan Monday, 10 June 2019, 11:39 am

          Alaphillipe was pretty reckless (deliberate?) in his peel off after the lead-out yesterday, i thought. Hit the front with Gilbert, then eased off and rolled through the middle of the entire field impeding a few riders.

          WvA called it out (very politely), but Colbrelli almost had a huge crash as he was squeezed in to another rider, he was probably most affected.

        • Anonymous Monday, 10 June 2019, 12:07 pm

          The jury made their decision, and you can write 3 more tl;dr postings about it, they saw it otherwise. Get over it.

  • Ferdi Sunday, 9 June 2019, 6:04 pm

    Love the early finish.

  • Anand Sunday, 9 June 2019, 6:38 pm


    Another TdF stage win in route hopefully