Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 3 Preview

A hard day in the Haute Loire with a tiring uphill finish.

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Great Dane II: the day’s breakaway had some strong riders and none more so than Bruno Armirail who was caught almost within sight of the finish line except that it was so foggy that he probably could not see the finish. He’d jumped away on the final climb and provided a nailbiter of a finish.

With the peloton reduced to about 50 riders by the climbing Magnus Cort took a flyer with 200m to go to take the stage and with it the first World Tour level win for the Uno-X team. Primož Roglič finished second to collect the six second time bonus, he didn’t quite finish the job for his team who had been chasing earlier and Aleksandr Vlasov made a move on the climb before but they’ll take the result and aim for more today.

The Route: 181km and almost 3,000m of vertical gain. A small uphill start might help a breakaway go clear. Then it’s over to Arlanc and the climb to Saint-Victor-sur Arlanc which featured in the 2019 edition where the race split to pieces but this was with 20km to go. Here mid-stage it’s just a tricky climb.

The Finish: a big ring drag to the line in the shadow of Mont d’Alambre, an extinct volcano cone. It’s 4km at 5%.

The Contenders: the same again? Magnus Cort (Uno-X) has a good chance but the continued uphill run to the line means advantage Primož Roglič (Bora-hansgrohe).

The breakaway has a chance today too even if Uno-X will ride hard to give Cort another shot and defend yellow. Half the field is already five minutes or more down on GC. Semi-random picks are Koen Bouwman and Bart Lemmen (Visma-LAB), Kevin Geniets (Groupama-FDJ) or Davide De Pretto (Jayco).

Roglič, Cort

Weather: cloudy but warmer, 23°C.

TV: KM0 is at 12.25pm and the last 90 minutes should be live with the finish forecast for 4.55pm CEST.

Postcard from Olliergues
Today’s course is a palimpsest, drawn over so many previous routes, whether the Dauphiné, Paris-Nice, the Tour de France or many other amateur events. With 150km to go today the route passes the small town of Olliergues – population 743 – and famous for… the Tour de la Communauté de Communes du Pays d’Olliergues. The pleonasmic title doesn’t trip off the tongue but recent winners like Valentin Paret-Peintre and Alex Baudin might be more familiar.

The latest winner is Paul Seixas, the 17 year old who is hoovering up U-19 junior races in France and beyond and tipped as the next big thing in French cycling… or even cycling. He’s already won national titles for road racing, cyclo-cross and time trialling which suggests range to put it mildly. In recent days he’s won the international-level Tour du Pays de Vaud stage race and the Classique des Alpes one day race. Seixas beat Spaniard Adrià Pericas – who is set to join UAE’s Gen Z feeder team – in both competitions. Notably he won the Classique des Alpes solo by over four minutes. Seixas is from nearby Lyon and rides for the Decathlon junior team where he’s alongside the likes of Aubin Sparfel, another name tipped for the top. So if today you don’t remember Olliergues, keep an eye on Seixas and Sparfel in the years to come.

19 thoughts on “Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 3 Preview”

    • I have often wondered whether the breakaway hear the peloton coming. I suppose the radio tells( warns) the rider or riders , but that would be very different from actually hearing your fate bearing down on you.

      Of course, cycling is comparatively quiet compared to many sports, but from the side of the road you can hear the wheels turning and even the riders breathing when the peloton sweeps by. The sensation of being relentlessly, remorselessly hunted down must be terrifying; something quite primeval, especially in settings like yesterday’s.

  1. Thank you so much for continuing the Postcard section of the previews. I know France and Italy pretty well, but I learned so much from your postcards throughout the Giro, and now the Dauphiné. Very much appreciated.

  2. It is rare to have to reach for the dictionary twice in one short paragraph. So thank you for palimpsest and pleonasmic, the latter of which my computer told me was spelt wrong, but the Oxford dictionary has it!

  3. Watching the finish with the peloton slowly appearing in the murk behind Armirail was absolutely fantastic – I had the Jaws theme going through my mind.

  4. Ah, Paul Seixas. I remember my son racing against his younger brother Nino in benjamins. He was pretty good, but surely not quite as good as Paul.

  5. I’m a little shocked that Cort’s win was the first WT win for Uno X, given the surprising and extensive success they’ve had over the least few years. It was a pretty good one to have as their first, and Cort is a great guy to deliver it.

    Another thanks for the postcards and related minutia. This kind of thing is a unique aspect to cycling (the way races are intertwined with both regions and history), and really enhances the viewing experience. And always glad to read about riders to watch, so I’ll make a note of the names Seixas and Sparfel.

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