A hard day in the Alps, today’s stage is up and down all day with 4,600m of vertical gain.
Belleville rendez-vous: more than 50km covered in the first hour and a breakaway containing strong rouleurs like Pierre Latour, Daniel Oss, Chris Juul-Jensen, Bob Jungels and Søren Kragh Andersen helped propel the group to a lead of several minutes. As soon as the climb of the Col de la Madelaine started Davide Formolo said thanks for the ride and dropped them by the first hairpin. As the bunch chased, Formolo was looking more and more tired, at times he looked like he was pushing a wheelbarrow instead of a Colnago but he got the stage win.
Behind another Jumbo vs Ineos contest with both teams on the front again but the battle didn’t look as fierce. Still another day, another iteration and the Dutch team did the damage again, ran out of riders in the end again and Roglič assured again by taking second place and a time bonus. Bernal was distanced inside the final metres to lose a few seconds. However there was more going than two teams, Lennard Kämna tried a late attack which didn’t work but showed he can outride the mountain trains and will be precious support for the consistent Emanuel Buchmann. Thibaut Pinot consolidated his second place overall with another small time bonus and Dani Martinez overhauled Egan Bernal to take the white jersey.
The Route: the industrial town of Ugine will be humming to the sound of rollers as riders warm up. There’s only a short section along the valley before the climbing starts, there’s 4,600m of vertical gain today. The Col du Marais isn’t categorised by the race but it’s a climb proper. The Col du Plan Bois is a “new” climb, unused in the Dauphiné and a good find. It’s narrow and steep, an average of 9.5% but with long sections at 11-12% early and late, the middle section past some chalets at 7% feels comparatively easy. There’s a tricky descent and then it’s on to the familiar Col de la Croix Fry, a big wide road but with some more steep sections and then over the Aravis. The climb to Héry is awkward after a long descent before a technical descent back to the start in Ugine. There’s then 20km of valley riding.
The climb to Bisanne has been used twice by the Tour de France in 2016 and 2019 and is the sort of modern climb ASO’s course designers look out for, a steep backroad rather than the main road. It’s scenic early on with woodland, pastures and chalets before the Bisanne ski resort at the top. There’s a fast descent – interrupted by a short uphill section – and then a lumpy valley road to Megève.
The Finish: glance and the profile and you might think it’s a summit finish but it’s really an uphill drag up a sideroad to the mini airport and the La Cote 2000 ski area. It’s 7km at 4.5% but starts with a 8-9% ramp out of Megève before easing up, then with 2.5km there’s some 7% and right at the end they ride onto the airstrip which is 5% to the line.
The Contenders: a good day for a breakaway, Davide Formolo made it against the odds yesterday. Today the hilly start should allow some riders to get away. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) sat up yesterday so he’s a candidate. Looking at the others who have lost time on GC the problem is this has happened for a reason. Still Mitchelton-Scott duo Adam Yates and Jack Haig come to mind, Rigoberto Uran (EF Pro Cycling) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) too. But it’s a lottery, there’s no telling which move will work and some might prefer to wait for tomorrow too.
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) is the safe pick, if it all comes back together again then his finishing sprint superior to everyone else and his team look dedicated in support.
|Julian Alaphilippe, Primož Roglič
|Yates, Uran, Higuita, G Martin, Lutsenko, Haig
Weather: sunny and 25°C, a chance of a shower, even a downpour, late on the stage.
TV: the stage starts at midday and TV coverage should pick up the race on the Bisanne climb. The finish is forecast for 4.50pm Euro time. It should be available on the same channel you watch the Tour de France and/or Eurosport.