Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 2 Preview

The race goes into the Alps with a short stage and a big summit finish, today is a big test of form and fitness with a long climb that’s the hardest summit finish of the week.

Le coup de Jarez: cycling is a team sport and Jumbo-Visma provided a good reminder, sticking Tony Martin on the front of the bunch to keep the day’s breakaway in check. Just as he always does only this time he was helped by a series of mishaps among the lead five, Niccolò Bonifazio having a back spasm then Brian Van Moer and Quinten Hermans crashed and abandoned. On the final climb Tom Dumoulin and Primož Roglič chased down the attacks from Rigo Uran, Pierre Latour and Tiesj Benoot. With one kilometre to go the Dutch team had four riders on the front when rivals for the stage, like Julian Alaphilippe, could have done with a team mate or two to taxi them into position. Wout van Aert finished the job on the uphill slope into Saint-Christo-en-Jarez to hold off Daryl Impey and Egan Bernal. Note some outsiders for the GC lost time or sat up, like last year’s winner Tejay van Garderen, Marc Soler, Chris Froome and Dylan Teuns.

The Route: 135km east out of Vienne. The early part of the stage is gentle, maybe even one or two sunflower fields remain for photographers. The climb to Roybon bites but otherwise the first 90km are steady. After 91km the Côte Maillet, known locally as Le Montaud, is the northern stub of the Vercors massif. The race could have just followed the Isere river around but instead quits the valley floor to go over this steep climb – 6km at 8% – and down the narrow descent to soften up the field. Once off the climb there’s a long, wide road on the approach to the final climb.

The Finish: the Col de Porte? Yes but they only join the main road 2.5km from the finish, instead this climb is really the Col de Palaquit from Saint-Egrève, a back road that’s steep and irregular. For more details on it, see the dedicated Roads to Ride piece. The first part to the village of Quaix gives a taste with the steep section but it’s after the descent that the hard part comes with long ramps at double-digit gradients, the profile above says 9-10% for each kilometre but you’ll find 12% sections for 500 metres there. After the village of Sarcenas the road reaches the main road up to the Col de Porte and it’s a much gentler 5-6% to the finish, a chance to for the speed to pick up, here strong teams can reel in rivals or shelter their protected riders. The final ramp kicks up before a few metres of flat for the finish line.

The Contenders: Primož Roglič is the prime pick because he’s in form, he’s quick in a sprint and his Jumbo-Visma team have strength to control the race, just as they reeled in attacks yesterday they can contain things again today.

Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) is next for obvious reasons and today’s the day to watch his team collectively as well and see how they ride today. For all the talk of team selection we’ll learn plenty today but are still looking from the outside in, having heart rate and power data will tell the team more than we can glean from just watching TV.

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates) comes next, his form seems good but this will be the first time we see him on a long mountain pass since the UAE Tour.

What about Richie Porte on the Col de Porte? He won’t ride up any quicker but is part of a second group of riders who could jump and profit if rivals hesitate. The problem right now is the time gaps are too close among the big names, the likes of Roglič and Bernal and their teams won’t want to see someone take 20 seconds, compounded the fact that some riders will think twice about a late attack for the stage win if it just puts them in the red and they’re dropped in the final kilometre. Still Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Merida), “Emu” Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) might look for the right moment. Finally Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) has a chance if he can stay in contact with 2km to go.

Primož Roglič
Egan Bernal, Tadej Pogačar
Yates, Martin, Landa, Alaphilippe, Pinot, Quintana, Porte, Buchmann

Weather: sunshine and clouds, 30°C in the valley and a rising chance of a rain or a thunderstorm towards the finish

TV: the finish is forecast for 4.30pm Euro time. It should be available on the same channel you watch the Tour de France and/or Eurosport.

53 thoughts on “Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 2 Preview”

  1. I know it’s stupid, but I’d like to see Porte win on the Col de Porte. Don’t think he will, though. Boy JV look strong. Was quite odd to see Froome off the back with a teammate asking how he’s doing. It’s really an all-star cast here.

  2. No chain ring for Doom? He seems to be riding well and towed Wout into position nicely. Worked hard on Sunday for the team and didn’t lose much when he ‘sat up’ and finally, tactically he must be an option with his ability to TT away when it eases up a bit a couple of k’s from the finish, if that’s an option.

    I know Roglic is their main man but hard to see a guy who is a GC winner and really wants to win the Tour and not just ride as support, not taking his chances as they present.

      • He might seem to work for the team, but he might very well contend both the DL and the TDF for himself. Let us not forget that is probably is one of the top three GC riders in the world, together with Bernal and Roglic. He definitely was before his crash last year, and now he is in a much better team. It will be an interesting TDF.

  3. Any criticism of the all-star, all-suffocating yellow & black mountain train anyone?
    No? I thought not.

    For Jumbo-Visma read the new Skyneos.
    For Roglic read the new Froome.
    And for Wout Van Aert read the new Kwiatkowski?

    The kings are dead, long live the kings.

    • There is a real worry, in my mind, that the Tour will end up as the long awaited “Ineos train v. Jumbo train”, quashing any attack along the way – it was hard enough to see one superteam fail, now there are two.

      More suspense, less spectacle.

      I’ll admit I’m biased though, since the back of my throat still screams “allez Thibaut” since last year (albeit slightly softer than Madiot).

      • Totally agree on all points, especially Pinot. I’m no more thrilled at the prospect of a JV train than I was by the Sky train, and two trains doesn’t improve matters. The lack of a dominant team is what made last year’s TdF so exciting.

        • But let’s not get too gloomy, surely two trains is actually better than one. Two strong teams with multiple leaders each taking pieces out of each other could be quite entertaining and might actually create some opportunities for less supported riders like Quintana and Pinot as the five or six potential leaders of JV and Ineos mark each other.

          Just for the record, I’m one of the biggest Pinot fans out there: The idea of the Frenchman training alone in his beloved mountain, skiing in the winter, tending his goats and trout fishing after training – It’s just too good not to buy into and I really think he was in a position to win the Tour last year. But he also put himself in that position without the best team support and I don’t see why he can’t do it again this year. I imagine lockdown would quite suit him, his form seems to be not far below the others and on a good trajectory.

          Allez Thibaut!

          • You might be right, but equally, the two teams could just strangle the race completely. Yesterday’s stage was dull for me because nobody could attack without JV shutting them down. More difficult to do that throughout an entire TdF, but it’s certainly been done plenty of times in the last few years, and now there will be two teams to do it. I think a more likely scenario is both of those teams backing one leader and all of their riders working towards that goal. Unfortunately for Pinot, this year’s field is far stronger than last year’s.

        • I have mixed feelings. Two “super teams”, with one looking a bit sub-par, could be suffocating for the race but there again a genuine challenge to Ineos’ dominance might force a change of tack and we might see Bernal, Sivakov etc trying something different. That might give other teams the confidence to also “have a go”.

          From an Ineos perspective, I think the biggest worry yesterday was less Froome and more Thomas – he looked pretty cooked when he swung off. Over-trained, under-trained or bluffing? I reckon we can discount option 3.

      • I am writing this after the stage, so I have the benefit of seeing what actually happened, but I am firmly in the “one train is far more boring than two” camp. Skineos deployed their train too early, and so JV were able to skin them at the end. This is a new skill for the two teams to learn, and it will be interesting to watch the learning process. It’s also possible to imagine the two teams trying to deploy simultaneously, or looking at each other and daring the other to start chasing down a break. It’s a whole new world…

        • After today, I’m all the more in the ‘two trains is no more interesting’ camp. I’ve long grown tired of stage racing being about trains, and then the leader doing a short burst at the end. It’s formulaic and predictable, and it’s much less impressive to see a leader doing that than winning from a long distance attack of their own.

        • Teams don’t count for much if the team doesn’t have the strongest rider… INEOS were not dominant in last year’s TdF yet they finished 1st and 2nd. If Roglic was an INEOS rider then INEOS would have won today, if Bernal was the Jumbo lead rider then Jumbo would probably have not won today.

  4. Was good to in see Valverde with a strong finish yesterday… actually got boxed in on the sprint but still managed fourth. Be interesting to see if he can hang onto the front group today.
    Then maybe Higuita for a black-box-dark-horse pick?

  5. Jumbo Visma are voracious. They seem to winning everywhere. It was interesting the Roglic didn’t bother to mark Bernal, but Bernal was definitely marking him.
    They were so strong at the front. I noted that one of the lead out riders (probably Roglic) also did a great job of boxing in Lutsenko.
    It’s interesting that Bardet has said that he move to Sunweb was because he wanted to leave France. I have my own theories on that. A strange move in my opinion.

  6. Did Froome sit up yesterday or was he in trouble? Big day for him today. It’s looking like the only way he will get a tour spot is as a road captain-esque rider. Jumbo are unbelievably strong.

    • Ineos look like they might be having Movistar moment. Bernal’s declaration of self interest re Froome and G, may have been justified by his form and his potential, but it didn’t play well for the team image. I imagine Froome is well jacked off that he has been dumped after his string of victories, you would have thought they could have managed a bit more dignity between them. Perhaps they miss Portal as a team builder, not just a strategist.

      G looked and sounded very glum when interviewed yesterday, not gloomy in that endearing Celtic way , just glum. Maybe Froome felt he’d put in just enough effort to keep in the race after Bernals condescending support for having him in the team…..

      • Funny how saying “the road will decide” basically amounts to “Bernal is the sole leader”, considering what we’ve seen of the riders’ form so far.

        I don’t think there will be leadership issues this year at Ineos, not from what we’ve seen so far. There’s only one rider at Ineos who looks strong enough to tackle Roglic, and it’s Bernal. I don’t see either Froome or Thomas have a chance against Jumbo, not from what they’ve shown so far. The rest is words – we assume their egos are bruised, but it might not even be the case.

      • but… we still have 4 1/2 weeks until the 3rd week of the TdF starts… so still a bit early to be writing folks off here methinks… Froome and Thomas know how to lead a race and don’t need to practice it, they just need to be in the right shape at the right time…

        • I wouldn’t write them off but it’s striking when they’ve won the Tour de France they’ve been in form for weeks before, eg winning the Dauphiné convincingly in early June and then winning the Tour 6-7 weeks later.

          • Isn’t that the crux of it though? Normally they’d go all out in the Dauphine and then go off on a heavy training camp at Tiede and then refresh and be ready to go. This time they can’t do that so they really only had two choices and it would seem they decided to hold their camp slightly earlier and then race only two weeks before rather than train. Therefore I think they are probably working more to the numbers with the Tour in mind rather than a ‘normal’ Dauphine or Swiss tours where they have the time to ease off and pick up again afterwards.

            Having said that, if I’m correct, Bernal looks okay as in purposely a bit under done. G looks like G (he crashed out of Swiss last year) and Froome looks way off. The key domestiques look okay too.

  7. Was Roglic not worried about Bernal’s time bonus yesterday, did he not expect it, was he unable to rival? 56 riders finished on the same time as Van Aert yesterday. It will be a lot less today. Who will lose out apart from the obvious punchers/non-climbers: Van Aert, Impey, Lutsenko, Kwiatko, Roche…Interesting times ahead.

  8. I thought Chris Froome’s ride was a bit odd. I can see loosing time to allow a stage win later on but 5 minutes is not enough time lost for that. There was some discussion on Eurosport about what was said between him and Jonathon Castroviejo, the thought seemed to be that CF was asked if he was OK and said yes, he was just taking it easy. Today is likely to be revealing for a number of riders not just Chris Froome.

    Difficult to see past either Primoz Roglic or Egan Bernal for a winner today, though there is the possibility of storms which could help a breakaway.

    Given what has happened with the World Championships I do wonder how likely it is for the TdF to happen. Media reports suggest virus levels are rising rapidly in France and that could put the Tour at risk. Winning this race could well be more significant than in many other years.

    • Agree with all this. Unless Froome’s face contortions prove to be Oscar worthy he’s not looking like he can get close to challenging even the top 10. I also have doubts about TdF proceeding. Gatherings of more than 5000 are banned but how do you measure crowds on a mountain?

      • It was mentioned on ITV4 last night that medical advice to prevent Covid 19 spread is for cyclists not to draught and leave at least 20m between each other.
        Obviously impractical and unworkable for professional riders but just goes to show that there is a risk nonetheless.
        From what I understand, the raised level of infection in France is localised but still a worry too.
        Particularly as teams, and possibly fans, will travel around the country.

        • What about the scenario where one member of the peloton (or even a team worker) tests positive during a race. Unlike in football it would seem to be impossible to ascertain who they had been in contact with, the only option would be to abandon the race and wait two weeks for all involved. Not really conducive to relaxed racing……

        • One thing people might not notice from TV is that all the riders are inside a “bubble” for as much of the time as possible. From when they leave their team bus to sign on and start nobody can get near them. Once they cross the finish line the zone is fenced off again and they can ride to their bus without being in contact with the public and when they stay in hotels it’s one squad per hotel now. It’s far from invincible but it is a useful risk mitigation. We’ll see what happens in the coming weeks, this blog won’t try to explore the virology but will enjoy the sport for now.

          • I’ve seen some riders give interviews without masks, and I’ve seen riders from different teams shaking hands/fist-bumping/hugging after races. The media and various others are in close proximity too. I’d be particularly worried for Fabio Aru: as a coeliac he can have spleen issues, which can mean you can’t fight off infections so well.
            The far bigger worry is the public mixing with each other in large numbers: virology-wise, this is the worst thing that can happen. Unless they can ban fans successfully – and I can’t understand why they haven’t done that (in all races) – the race should be cancelled. If you go back to ‘normal’, the virus comes back – it’s an epidemic. I think it largely comes down to the western idea of people having an absolute right to do whatever they want without considering the consequences for others. Compare this with how people in countries in East Asia have behaved (after China’s initial poor response). You only have to compare the numbers in China, Japan, South Korea with those in France, Spain, UK. Sorry to bang on, but from the point of view of how to deal with an epidemic our collective behaviour is reprehensible – both governments and the public. I’ll shut up now.

          • @J Evans: not about to start the whole “how much do masks protect you and others” debate here, but if you’re referring to Gaviria giving interviews without a mask after he won on the tour d’Occitanie, it’s because he recovered from Covid and was considered immune.

            I heard other riders have had PCR tests to detect prior infection (and, it is assumed, immunity), and those might be allowed not to wear masks.

      • The sensible thing would be for the government to ban all fans from attending – preventing further spread of the epidemic should come first. Some would ignore it, but most would obey, especially if there were large, on-the-spot fines.

        • The sensible thing would be to cancel the entire race, which would be a lot easier than making an unpopular government more unpopular by applying authoritarian measures.

          • Not sure how much more authoritarian it would be to ban fans than it would to ban the race – ASO are not going to cancel it. One seems a lot less bad to me than the other.
            I’d also argue that it is far more authoritarian to follow a policy that is based on helping the economy than it is to follow a policy that is based on looking after people’s health (even if you tell people that this is giving them ‘freedom’).

    • Yes, given that the 7 day moving average of new cases is currently 1809 and rising (compared with the post-peak low of 434 on 17th June and 1261 one week ago). Despite PM Castex’s alert I see little evidence in the town where I live that people are changing thier behaviour. Macron’s a knowledgeable cycling fan but how far can numbers rise before the government is compelled to halt cycling. I fear the worst. Let’s at least enjoy the Dauphiné.

  9. Looking down the finishers yesterday I was surprised to see James Knox at over 15 minutes behind Van Aert at 128th. He is supposed to be a climber/budding GC candidate. Is he ill (team rider Vansevenant withdrew overnight), riding for Alaphilippe and saving himself..?

  10. Jumbo Visma are imperious. But that sort of form always worries me – the shadow of Lance looms large.
    They didn’t look worried at all. The most interesting moment was Bernal’s attack which Kuss just ate up like he was an hors d’ouvre. Roglic rode off without getting out of the saddle and Ineos didn’t last the final km. It was interesting that Dumoulin was dropped off the back. But they played INEOS like a fiddle.
    I think Kuss even flicked his head at Bernal as if you say “get back behind and draft you fool”.
    INEOS will need to rethink their strategy as they are way off the mark.
    People are talking as if Froome is a prospect, but even he has to acknowledge that he’s no where near ready to lead. It doesn’t matter what Bernal says he can’t expect to be on top form. It’s clear that Bernal is their main man, but neither he or his team mates are in the form to beat Roglic.
    This all bodes well for the Tour, though perhaps, depending on your view point we are trading one dominant team for another. Everything is still to play for….

    • It’s quite ironic that there are so many media stories about Ineos leadership and when it becomes clear on the road that Bernal’s their man, it all becomes a bit irrelevant. Ineos are trailing in JV’s wake right now and Roglic looks like the man to beat if the Tour goes ahead.

      • You know it was always going to be a matter of waiting and seeing with Froome – but unless he recaptured everything (or Bernal AND Thomas were off the pace) pragmatically he was always going to need time and Races to be their GC man. He has only shown how far off he really is. Today looked like a good day for him. But he clearly seems a passenger at the Dauphine.

        • Right. I’ll just come out and say no way can Froome even podium at the TdF and I think the odds are less than 50/50 that he’s even a domestique there. I purposefully didn’t use the more popular phrase “super domestique.” Skyneos are a “what have you done for me lately” team and he hasn’t done much. Leaving him home will reduce drama and media stories ad nauseum and let the riders more useful to Bernal ride. Good to see he’s recovered from his terrible accident, though.

      • It’s gone from talk of three leaders and the road deciding… down to all hands on deck to help Bernal. I think Thomas looked useful today, better than his Tour de l’Ain but still distant from his 2015-2019 riding. For Froome, his problem is Amador looked rock solid in the Tour de l’Ain and Tao Geoghegan Hart was stronger in Occitanie. Meanwhile Jumbo-Visma will likely take the seven at the Dauphiné now… and add George Bennett as their 8th rider.

    • Dumoulin got caught up in the crash and only just made it back to the peloton by the base of the final climb so that might account for him both not being with his teammates for the climb and struggling a little at the end. Uran also has to use energy to get back and of course Higuita never did get back on.

  11. I don’t see the jumbo visma train is not at this point nearly as strong as the best sky years. What do i mean. There was a fairly big group most of the way up the mountain with ineous and JV on the front meaning the pace was good but it was not amazing.
    The biggest years of sky had them blowing away the entire field right from the bottom of the last mountain and you might end up with just 2 sky riders on there own taking minutes out of the next best. There was no threat of that.
    Come the tour the situation may change. JV will get bennet i presume and some of the riders in this race will probably be stronger. Ineous will also be stronger. I think they have a few riders that will be coming into good domestique form.
    Because of the way the season has been i am expecting all teams to hold nothing back on sending there best teams to the tour. They need all the exposure they can get for the sponsors.

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