Critérium du Dauphiné Preview

The Critérium du Dauphiné starts this Sunday and it’s Primož Roglič versus the field, the next best challenger could even be teammate Jonas Vingegaard. However there’s a stack of other names and as good as Jumbo-Visma are, their seven man team can’t control everything.

Route Summary
Three ski station summit finishes and a 32km time trial – more than the entire Giro or Vuelta – make this a classic stage race test, and a form guide ahead of the Tour de France which has a 40km time trial saved for the last Saturday. Billed as more accessible to the sprinters, that’s relative as in yes they’ll have more chances than last year here, but more often than not the “sprint” stages have climbs and mountain passes in the way. If you want a closer look at the route, there’s the route analysis from February. There are time bonuses at the finish of each stage, the usual 10-6-4 seconds.

The Contenders
Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) is the prime pick. His record in stage races is remarkable, it’s news when he loses, plus Tadej Pogačar isn’t here. He’s yet to win the Dauphiné, although he was on course in 2020 before a crash and he retired as a precaution. This year the course suits even more, he’s got a punchy finish to collect stages and their time bonuses, while any climbers who can match him uphill risk losing beaucoup time in the time trial. The question is form, it’s a month out from the Tour de France and he’s pausing his training camp to get some racing and hone the senses from riding in a bunch. Team mate Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) is probably the second pick, second in the Tour de France last summer we’ll see if he’s back in form too. If he is then he’s handy in the hills and competent against the clock and his presence more than doubles the team’s chance of taking the win because they can play the old 1-2 on other teams.

Rattling through the other contenders feels like “here’s why they won’t win” but up to them to try and crack the race open, especially as Wout van Aert could have his eye on the points jersey for practice rather than being Roglič’s sherpa and Jumbo-Visma’s seven riders can’t control the race alone.

Ineos don’t bring a big GC contender. Yes Tao Geoghegan Hart has a Giro win but before that and since he’s been in support roles. After a problematic 2021 he seems on the up again but how to take time and then defend it in the time trial? He has a leadership option in a World Tour stage race and

Bahrain bring a trio of Damiano Caruso, Jack Haig and Dylan Teuns but how to win?

Enric Mas leads Movistar but he’s yet to win a European stage race and seems more of a diesel these days than the dynamic rider at Quick-Step. Matteo Jorgenson is coming into form too.

Brandon McNulty (UAE) started the season taking wins from long range breakaways, now we’ll see how he’s climbing. He’s good for the time trial and this race is a rare opportunity as neither Tadej Pogačar nor João Almeida are riding. Fifth in Catalunya, fourth in Romandie, 19 year old Juan Ayuso starts his third World Tour stage race but if the pattern says third, hold those horses as the level is higher now and he’s bound to find the longer Alpine climbs and a 30km TT a bigger test.

Mark Padun (EF Education) is back at the race where he won two mountain stages back-to-back and he’s handy in a time trial too, what can he do on the overall? Team mate Esteban Chaves can do a better TT than some credit but is yet to win a World Tour stage race

Wilco Kelderman (Bora-hansgrohe) is very good for the time trials but how to outclimb Roglič, he’ll surely lack the punch needed with the Giro in his legs.

David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) can climb with the best and he’s even put on weight to beef up for the time trials and was a decent top-10 in the Volta ao Algarve TT but still looks likely to lose time to other GC rivals.

Ben O’Connor (Ag2r Citroën) is a consistent rider who keeps improving but he and his team would sign for a podium finish right now, winning is harder to see.

The Halland twins ride with Tobias Halland Johanessen so far getting the better results, it’s hard to see a win but some good performances this week from Uno-X can help catch the eye of ASO when it comes to a Tour de France wildcard for next year.

Primož Roglič
Jonas Vingegaard, Wilco Kelderman
Brandon McNulty, Tao Geoghegan Hart
O’Connor, Teuns, Haig

TV Coverage
Likely to be on the same channel you watch the Tour de France on. In recent years the race has clashed with the Rolland Garros tennis tournament which meant the scheduling of each stage got fitted around the action in Paris. Now the tennis is over and each stage will have a regular slot with the finish each day around 5.00pm CEST. There’s about two hours of live coverage a day.

19 thoughts on “Critérium du Dauphiné Preview”

  1. What a very astute plot by Ineos, they know they’ve been the only ones able to win here and then take the TDF in twenty years, since Armstrong or so, hence they decided to go massively to the (now nicely poised in GC terms) Tour de Suisse, and so force poor Roglic to win this – one contender less in July… Brilliant!

    Only, Jumbo aren’t that dumb and sent Vingegaard to win this. Or do they actually want Roglic to win here and the Dane take yellow? Van Aert can come in handy, too.

    Don’t worry, Movistar will take care and win this with Mas, he was spared in May precisely to take this instead of tackling the Giro, which was too easy a prey for the proud Spaniards.

    • Yes, an interesting move by INEOS with Kwiatkowski probably coming from the Dauphiné to make up the TdF squad with seven from the TdS. Pidcock, if he rides the TdF, looks an odd one. Has he better form in recent training than he’s shown in races this season? He looks like, in French parlance, an électron libre, but how will that help an INEOS GC bid, and will he last three weeks?

    • On a serious note, I won’t be surprised if Vingegaard proves to be a stronger contender (or pretender?) to the Elysian throne.

  2. What happened to Steephill TV?? I wanted to see the start list for Swiss vs Dauphiné and Swiss route preview. I was wondering why Ineos sent Thomas to Swiss and not Dauphiné as the long TT would be good practice for TdF and suit him (I assume he still TT’s well?)
    O’Connor or Haig for a surprise upset – realistically I can’t see anyone getting enough time to defend the TT though.

    • Don’t know more but seems steephill’s taking a break.

      Thomas sounds set for a road captain role more than a contender but the TTs this year surely suit him way more than Adam Yates.

      • How does Thomas earn the reputed 3.5 million euros as a road captain? Is that exceptional for someone of his age with such a low chance of winning big?

        • He’s surely not on anywhere near 3.5m now – he signed a new contract with ineos over the winter, and there were reports of him potentially moving elsewhere because the offer from ineos was so relatively low…of course he was never going to leave ineos – it’s his home – but it suggests the money isn’t anywhere near as good this time around

    • Steephill put a post up earlier in the season that they were taking a break and looking to see if they can reboot in a commercialy viable way in the future. Super disappointing as I loved being able to watch highlights spoiler free and I’d probably pay for the opportunity should it arise.

      • @Jerome “I loved being able to watch highlights spoiler free and I’d probably pay for the opportunity should it arise.” Go for GCN+ then? I bought a subscription last year and it’s been brilliant… I don’t miss trying to hunt for highlights on Steephill and elsewhere!

  3. Looks like Jumbo really going into the Tour de France mode, like Sky did with the race. Is this basically their team for the Tour?

  4. This should be a good opportunity for Ineos to practise challenging for stage wins, which should come in handy for when they have to try to salvage something from the TdF this summer. (A strong team can’t compensate for not having the best rider, both Jumbo and Ineos are surely starting to understand that.)

  5. A bit of a change from when the Dauphine was a practice run for the main Tour contenders and the Tour de Suisse a bit of an after thought.

    I think we need to see where Primoz Roglic is in terms of fitness before anointing him as run away favorite. If he has completely recovered from his knee injury then yes but recovery isnt always straightforward (see Tom Dumoulin).

    Perhaps I have missed something but I dont think Jonas Vingegaard has done anything of note since last year’s Tour. Maybe he is back in form but dont believe we have any evidence one way or other.

    There does not seem to be any other obvious picks. It will be interesting to see how TGH deals with being sole leader in what is a very high profile race (the Giro being happenstance rather than planned)

    • Vingegaard was 2nd at Tirreno, 6th at Basque Country. Hard to say what current form is like. Have to say I’m not so impressed by his bike handling: he knocked Vlasov into the boards at the end of one stage in Basque country, chopped Izaguirre’s front wheel in the next, knocking him down.

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