Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 5 Preview

The final day of the Dauphiné and another big day the Alps. Before the flag drops the first question is whether Primož Roglič starts, he had a hard crash yesterday and may decide to sit it out, just as Egan Bernal did yesterday.


Ups and downs : things were lively before the race began with Egan Bernal not starting and reports of back pain. It seems a precaution rather than a calamity, Thomas Voeckler reporting for France Télévisions said he saw Egan Bernal out for a spin before the stage and L’Equipe wrote he was spotted out on a ride with a following car, hardly something he’d do if he was in agony.

The race had a very fast start with Thomas de Gendt going solo, he was then joined by others only to pay the price for his efforts and get dropped from the break. He persisted and made it back on the Col de Plan Bois. The day’s breakaway had 15 riders and a two minute lead and it was all quality, everyone in the move could stake the claim to the stage win ahead. The Col du Plan Bois’s descent is tricky and back in the peloton a crash took out Steven Kruijswijk, Emanuel Buchmann and Gregor Muhlberger meaning in the space of a few hours the 1st, 3rd and 4th of last year’s Tour were DNF but all with injuries that should or could allow them to start the Tour de France, the problem is training and recovering in the coming days. Thibaut Pinot was also involved, he somersaulted over the bars, but a picture doing the rounds showed him urinating while others were nursing wounds, a relief in more than one way for him at least. An hour later Primož Roglič fell on a section of valley road but was quickly back up, clothes ripped. Bahrain-Merida tried to test Roglič and Jumbo-Visma on the Bisanne climb but nothing came of it, they shrunk the yellow jersey group down but once they sat up others were able to get back on.

Back up ahead Kenny Elissonde was the first to attack the breakaway in the finish, darting to one side of some street furniture to surprise the others and then using the only steep part of the climb to try to ride away but he wasn’t able to hold them off, first David de la Cruz got him and then Lennard Kämna. The German kept up the power to go solo and crack the others. It’s Kämna’s first pro win but he should be on the radar for all the medals and titles he’s won since a junior and in the U23 ranks and he had a quietly impressive Tour de France last summer where he was able to get in all-star mountain breakaways in the final week and it was about the same time that the chatter said he was leaving Sunweb for Bora-Hansgrohe, a big loss for Sunweb.

Among the GC riders the pattern was confirmed again, even with a crash Roglič wasn’t troubled and Pinot is close behind. Bahrain-McLaren tried but while they upped the pace Mikel Landa couldn’t do much, there was a long way to the finish and it was status quo.

The Route: 153km and 4,000m of vertical gain in a loop around Mègeve, today’s stage is similar to yesterday’s but the climbs are more regular, think ski station access roads rather than backroads. Not that they’re less steep, the quick climb up to Domancy bites and then the Col de Romme is very steep from the start with a long 11% ramp from the start to the second hairpin, it’s the hardest climb of the day. A fast descent with some blind bends comes the Col de la Colombière, an Alpine classic with its steeper second half and then a long descent to start the Col des Aravis, a gentler climb. After another long descent comes the “Côte de la Frassette”, it looks tiny on the profile but this is really the first two kilometres of the Col des Saisies at a hard but 10%. From here it’s 30km of valley road to the finale…

The Finish: the same finish as yesterday in the final 8km but to get to this part the riders have two hard climbs, first the Domancy climb, known as the climb used in the 1980 World Championships and steep but regular then a quick descent to the start the next climb to Cordon, it’s got a hard start before levelling out in the village above and is the last sustained steep section of the race before riding across to Mègeve and picking up the same road to the mini airport and the La Côte 2000 ski area.

The Contenders: another day for the breakaway, but who to pick? Some of yesterday’s strongmen who made the break? Or those who sat back and might be fresher today? Actually both with Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) who seems to be improving and both Michał Kwiatkowski and Dylan van Baarle (Ineos) again too. Among those who weren’t in the breakaway, Pierre Latour (Ag2r La Mondiale), Adam Yates (Michelton-Scott) , Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling), Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) and Geraint Thomas (Ineos) come to mind.

If a group has a good chance of staying away today there’s a second contest to win the race overall. Assuming he’s OK today, Primož Roglič leads overall. Roglič is out leaving seven riders within 35 seconds. Look to see if Groupama-FDJ, Cofidis, Bahrain-McLaren, EF Pro Cycling, Astana or Arkéa-Samsic send a rider in the move as they could act as a relay. Easier said that done as a tactic, but it might show who has plans. Some squads may try to defend their GC, eg Cofidis and EF Pro Cycling will be content with a 2nd overall and 4th overall respectively. Attacking today is high stakes stuff, they risk a boomerang move that instead of seeing them move up the GC could see them drop down, both a blow to the morale and a loss of precious UCI points. Still Domancy and the early part of the Cordon climb are obvious launchpads.

Alaphilippe, Kwiatkowski, Thomas, Yates, Teuns, Higuita, Latour
Roglič, G Martin, Martinez, van Baarle

Weather: sunshine and clouds, 24°C in the valleys.

TV: the stage starts just after midday and 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.

18 thoughts on “Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 5 Preview”

  1. With all the discussion about fluctuating form etc we often forget that “incidents and accidents” play as big a role as the ability to push the pedals around. On days like yesterday I do wonder about how much risk the riders are putting themselves through for our entertainment.

    Could be another big break again today though JV might well get some help chasing. After the Ineos DS’s comments it would seem likely that Geraint Thomas will at least make an effort to get in the break, not sure it is the sort of thing Nico Portal would have said in public.

    • jc, you will never find the ‘incidents’ quantified in any manner in pro road cycling.
      I suspect it would make far too horrendous reading.
      As a workplace the safety culture is in long-term denial – for dangerous descents like yesterday’s read ‘tricky’. For accident causation read ‘race incident’ and so on.
      It’s coming to something when one of the major team mangers, Lefevrere in this case, pronounces that he “gives up” trying to warn the authorities about safety of the riders.
      Pinot thought yesterday’s descent would have been resurfaced by now. It wasn’t, perhaps because of the virus, who knows?
      But, even if was due to be resurfaced, that in itself is an admission of its current unsatisfactory condition.

      It would be interesting to quantify the incidence of accidents / crashes, and perhaps compare them to other sports or occupations. I suspect that road cycling is a significantly dangerous occupation to undertake. Was yesterday’s stage, or the ‘tricky’ parts of it, risk rated for instance? Or the unguarded bridge in Il Lombardia?
      I know that the UCI stewards do a walk-through, but should there be a H&S professional alongside them?
      I can well imagine the horror of this suggestion amongst many cycling fans, but the horror of a proper H&$ approach is preferable to the horror of rider injuries to me.

      • The descent of the Sormano in Lombardia is dangerous full stop, never mind just the corner of the bridge that Evenepoel crashed into. There are crashes on it every year, most of them serious. De Plus dropped over the edge a couple of years ago, as did Bakelants. It’s narrow, fast and unpredictable (I.e. not just one hairpin to another) and at a stage of the race where it has to be ridden full bore. The organisers are determined to have the ridiculous climb that precedes it in the race though and have ignored it. I hope they drop the climb and it’s descent. It’s changed the character of the race and I’ve moaned about it for years.

        • The descent is narrow and technical, but it’s the situation on the race that makes riders crash on it. If you’re ahead on the Sormano, you need to make sure you keep your advantage. If you’re behind, going full on is your only chance to come back before the Civiglio. It’s a calculated risk.

          I was gutted by the crash, and obviously I feel for the man, but I’m part of the “this is cycling” crowd on this one. Racing isn’t just about watts/kg.

      • The UCI should make a risk assessment and couple that with compulsory safety measures.

        Steep, technical descent? All potholes should be fixed, compulsory sweeping of gravel and sand and mattresses in all corners.
        Peloton sprint on slight downhill gradient? No barriers with legs that stick out and maybe compulsory mattresses.

        In rally the navigator warns the driver for corners with a difficulty rating for the corner and how far away it is. The UCI could demand a similar system for descents with signs along the road, so the riders know what they are heading for.

      • There were signs before that curve and that bridge at the Lombardia. Both Evenepoel and Levere (notoriously loud, when he wants) did not raise an issue with that descent. Bramati in an interview said that the narrow bridge was marked, and that they tried with Remco that section several times, marking the spot, concluding that… “this is cycling”. Should we say good bye to the hairpins of the Stelvio, Iseran, Bonette, not to mention the narrow streets of Roubaix, Flanders, and Amstel because some H&S or Risk Manager will say that they are not worthy?

  2. Yesterday was particularly attritional, especially when you take into account Il Lombardia. Did anyone catch this live? I saw the screen shots on twitter which didn’t show how it was he ended going over the side of what looked a straight piece of bridge which in itself looked incongruous.
    Roglic should be untroubled today. The GC competition look like they’re resigned to their fate behind Roglic.
    I expect INEOS will be all out for a breakaway place. Kwiatkowski and Alaphillipe looked spent after trying their break on the penultimate climb yesterday. Should be another exciting day of racing, other than what appears an inevitable JV GC win

    • It was a sweeping left which he took just a bit too fast/wide and hit the corner of the bridge that juts out into the road. There’s clips on Twitter if you really want to see it.

      • I thought Bora Hansgrohe had it bad, but that’s a big blow for JV. In some respects you would imagine this is more about the TdF, than the injuries themselves.
        The car that took out Schachmann was criminal. How did that happen?!

        • An old lady, presumably a resident of Como, moved her car to another parking spot across the street, unaware that a cycle race usually held in autumn and accompanied by thousands of noisy spectators was taking place. She could just as easily have taken out a camera bike or support vehicle. The whole race seemed underprepared- riders have been injured on that bridge before, so why the jutting wall wasn’t marked is a mystery.

  3. If the tdf is anything like this it will be last person standing to take the win.
    I guess that make pinot the next best although he had a tumble and i am not sure if his team is strong enough to react to 150 km of hilly attack.
    The other GC riders have a chance with JV super train to chase anything down. I was going to sit this one out but i have to watch it now even though it finishes 1am in the morning. I will be watching for a few to try even though they probably don’t have the form from 5 – 10 km out. Landa, Lopez, Quintana, Porte. Pogecar. I don’t know enough about martinez or Martin to predict there capability.
    Can Pinot deal with the pressure.
    Either a gc person will go for a long distance flyer and catch the break away or the break away will win. FDJ will let the break go unless they are forced to chase hard. Need to save there matches for the final hill. If one of the teams has somebody 5 mins down it may be worth it for the breakaway just to make fdj chase that little bit harder all day.

    • It was, although there was a makeshift French national team that formed around Pinot for a while!
      Richie Porte was quoted as saying before yesterday’s stage that the racing had still been fierce and everyone was on their last legs. In a way, having a strong team or two can bring some order to the peloton and calm things down, ride tempo.

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