Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 1 Preview

The Critérium du Dauphiné begins with a hilly stage around the old volcanoes of the Auvergne, can any of the sprinters hang on for the finish?

The Route: a tour around the Monts Dore and the Puy de Sancy, the highest point of the Massif central mountain range. But it’s around rather than over, the course could have hillier but there’s plenty of mountain climbing to come. First comes an 88km loop, then three laps of a 20km circuit around Chambon sur Lac. The categorised climb is just a short sprint up to a viewpoint, but to get there there’s more climbing before.

The Finish: a flat finish by the lake.

The Contenders: it’s too hilly for some sprinters so the breakaway riders will fancy their chances and they get the consolation of five climbs for the mountains competition. Romain Combaud (DSM) is the local but he’s never won a pro race. Dorian Godon and Oliver Naesen (Ag2r Citroën), Mathieu Burgaudeau (TotalEnergies), Harry Sweeny (Lotto-Dstny) are long shot picks.

Ethan Hayter (Ineos) is a fast finisher who can handle these climbs. Sprinter Ethan Vernon showed in Romandie he climbs well too and Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) is a candidate here too. Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) ought to be the prime pick but he could find the climbing too much and he’s not a regular winner in bunch sprints either these days.

Vernon, Laporte, Bennett, Fraile, Zingle

Weather: sunshine but the altitude will keep the temperatures down, 19-22°C and the rising chance of a thundery downpour later in the stage.

TV: the stage starts at 1.00pm and finish is forecast for 5.00pm CEST. TV will cover the final two hours.

9 thoughts on “Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 1 Preview”

  1. Not so long ago, this would be an Alaphilippe stage, but now we must wait to see what form he has. I don’t fancy the breakaways chances as there are bound to be too many guys who are raring to go.

  2. The roads of the Auvergne are endlessly sticky, unforgiving and lumpy. Maybe this first day will not be decisive but it will certainly take a toll on legs later in the race – especially if the temperatures are high.

  3. “Well done INRNG and Tovarishch on picking Laporte” is kind of funny since the others given chances to win either DNF’d or were 79th, 84th or 126th on the day. OTOH they did choose the guy who came 4th in addition to the winner. Do people bet real money on things like this?

      • Yet it was you using that word, not me. I seem to remember being flamed for using it or was it “Anglo-Saxons” that got folks riled up? Perhaps I should use a more descriptive term like “English-speaking drunks arguing about cycling in a bar” since that’s what my wife calls us? “ESDAACIAB” for short? 🙂

  4. Apparently they do.

    But whether people real money on who will win a stage or not, naming three or four riders who are worth following (if you watch the race) for the very reason that their chances of winning are way above average is a nice and, I believe, appreciated service for all readers, including the probably quite small minority who will have a flutter.

    There is, of course, always an element of luck involved, but if we have a prognosticator who had the winner among his picks and a prognosticator who didn´t, the former *could* simply have been luckier than the latter, but it could be that he was the one who had done his homework – and he could therefore indeed deserve a “well done”.

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