Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 3 Preview

The sprint stage of the race, it’s a crucial day for the likes of Sam Bennett and Dylan Groenewegen otherwise their week is reduced a mountain training camp.

Alaphilippe sits up first in La Chaise : the stage started with a crash, after eight kilometres Romain Combaud, Stef Cras and Steven Kruijswijk (pictured moments before) were on the ground and out of the race. Kruijswijk was going to be a precious help to Jonas Vingegaard this week and during the Tour de France but he’s got a broken collarbone and pelvis; Wilco Kelderman is his likely substitute. The early breakaway never got more than two minutes with Jumbo-Visma keeping a tight leash. In the move again was Donavan Grondin who’d taken the mountains jersey on the opening day and extended his lead. But he’s no climber, he’s a track specialist – world champ in the Madison with Benjamin Thomas of Cofidis – and started cramping up and had to spend minutes sat beside the road before getting going and would make the time cut with seconds to spare. He’s French, and with an interesting back story as he’s from Reunion island in the Indian ocean.

A sprint finish loomed in La Chaise Dieu, literally “the Seat of God” and the name comes from the presence of monastery in the 11th century. The fast pace all day and hills in the finale left some sprinters floundering and lead out riders left behind. Jumbo-Visma led all the way to the finishing straight with Jonas Vingegaard again giving Christophe Laporte an impressive leadout, turning the power to do most of the last kilometre but crucially not all of it. A lull saw a late attack by Richard Carapaz but this proved to be a leadout for Julian Alaphilippe who sprinted to the stage win. Laporte stays in yellow but is tied for time (bonuses) with Alaphilippe.

The Route: 191km and over 2,000m of vertical gain, if today is The Sprint Stage, it’s like a day out of the Vuelta with some climbing along the way and the theme of this is the way the course rises out from the Loire valley. It does this at the start. Then later the Côte de Neulise is another climb out of the Loire valley but neither are steep, the hard part for the latter climb is at the start.

The Finish: Le Coteau is on the banks of the Loire, opposite the larger city of Roanne. It’s a flat finish with some roundabouts through the town’s zone industrielle before a tight bend to the left before the flamme rouge and then a tight bend to the right soon after with a 650m finishing straight.

The Contenders: on paper it’s a match between Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-Al Ula). Bennett seems to be climbing better but he’s erratic in the sprints but his team will hope Danny van Poppel can help here. Groenewegen has more speed but he’ll have to cope with the climbs.

Milan Menten (Lotto-Dstny) is making a name for himself as a sprinter. Lionel Taminiaux (Alpecin-Deceuninck) is probably his team’s quickest option and this also means two more teams to chase. As will others

Bennett, Groenewegen
Vernon, Menten
Taminiaux, Dversnes, Laporte, Trentin, Mihkels

Weather: sunny, 27°C but a headwind for much of the stage including the run to the finish.

TV: the stage starts at midday and finish is forecast for 4.40pm CEST. There’s live coverage from 3.00pm onwards.

22 thoughts on “Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 3 Preview”

  1. Glad to see Migkels and Vernon received rings, two young sprinting prodigies that showed quite a bit of depth already this year.

  2. A surprising end to yesterday’s stage. One of those lists of top ten finishers that, if you hadn’t watched the stage, would leave you wondering if there was a big crash in the final few hundred metres.
    Great to see Alaphilippe back to somewhere near his best. Hopefully we see more of that this week & in July!

    • At least, now we know why Carapaz isn’t “aggressive in the mountains” (cit.)… ’cause he’s a sprinter! Hence the tendence to sit on wheels.
      Zprinting Carapaz replying to qlimbing quaranta.
      Jokes apart, it’s not the first time Carapaz tries this sort of move. Always a nice variant to pure sprints.

  3. Jumbo to let Jayco & Bora do the hard work, I’d guess. The break will have a tough day into a headwind and most likely a bunch sprint. Not much incentive to go after the Combativity Award!

    • Pure inner ring, love it !
      Quick useless fact: in modern french, “La Chaise Dieu” literally translates in “The god chair” and not “the Chair of God”, which makes no sense obviously, as very few people worship chairs. Apparently the mix-up dates back to the 12th century when the original latin name of the place “Casa Deo” (“God’s house”) was somehow misspelled “Chasa Deo” and from there to “Chaise Dieu” as Chasa implies a place where you rest, hence both a house and a chair. So nowdays it should be called “La Maison de Dieu” and not la “Chaise Dieu” but the absurdity of the name is a lot more fun I think !

      As a quick sidenote, many many thanks again to our host, I can’t stress enough how these previews/lookbacks are the highlight of my morning routine ! Long may it continue.

  4. Kruijswijk out. First chink in the J-V LeTour armor? My hope was both J-V and UAE would arrive at the start with all of their first choices on their teams, but that’s already gone now…will it get as bad as UAE in 2022 before the flag drops in Bilbao? Fingers crossed it doesn’t!

    • Yes, quite a loss for JV, and for Steven himself of course. Not bad though, if as a team you can swap in a rider who has 6 top 10 GC placings in grand tours just like that.

      • Gotta wonder between crashes and Covid-19 how many J-V and UAE guys who rode the Giro might get called up to ride LeTour as well? If J-V doesn’t throw Roglic in, their tag-team tactics from last year might be a bit harder to pull off?

  5. Looks like a long and very lonely near 200km for Burgaudeau. He may get some uncontested camera time for his sponsor though surely he would appreciate a little company. Even the breakaway regulars don’t seem to fancy it today. Why not?

    • The less hope is there you can dream about, the fewer the riders who go on a break. Even a very very very tiny little hope may be enough, but barely any hope is too little for most. Shocking how under other circumstances, not even much more favourable, some more athletes actually end up believing it, just a little bit, but enough. Hope is necessary for hell, I read somewhere.
      A self-fulfilling prophecy of sort, by the way. If a good number of riders do believe that a break might make it, no matter the exact nature of the course, chances are high for a break to make it – and the other way around. If teams expect the stage can be a bunch sprint, they’ll probably make it a bunch sprint, while if they in any moment feel it’s a lost cause, the break will be gone. A good example of the complex collective dynamics happening in a peloton.

      • At least the part I didn’t sleep through looked like nobody wanted to race until the final sprint. So much for too-tough courses, eh? But one might say they all wanted to save energy for the oh-so-exciting stage tomorrow? Lots of criticism heaped onto RCS races but ASO’s to blame for this one…will they get skewered…probably not.

  6. They need to put Sam Bennett on a Pinarello – one of those bikes with the asymmetric design that resists pedaling forces! The SWORKS thing he’s riding seems to veer wildly to the right when you stand up and really mash on it 🙂

  7. Sam Bennett deviates from left of the centre line to all the way over to the right-hand barriers, and he still can’t win a race.
    Where did it all go wrong, Mr Bennett?

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