Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 8 Preview

The final stage of the race and it’s mountainous but not as severe as the past two days. The finish is earlier once again.

Soler energy: two stage wins in row for Roglič. Which was the more surprising? Two days ago he didn’t seem so lively but still delivered. Yesterday it looked like the win was promised to Marc Soler who had over five minutes coming off the final descent, bookmakers must have been giving even odds or worse for his triumph.

Only it was Soler, a fascinating rider capable of bold moves but also supernova-style implosions and we got the later as he cracked, he shattered on the final climb. Some of this happened because Bora-hansgrohe applied the pressure but still, five minutes in 20km.

Once the final kilometre arrived the result from Roglič seemed inevitable, like watching a drama where you know a particular character has the plot armour to win. So it was and once he gets a small gap nobody can seem to come past. It was the kind of riding that, with hindsight must have his ex-Visma management green with envy, although presumably if he stayed with them he’d have fallen off a ladder while changing a lightbulb etc. Still Dutch management can console themselves with Matteo Jorgenson who was second on the stage and second overall, a strong signing and instant delivery.

Movistar ought to be delighted with Oier Lazkano finishing fourth, he was even attacking in the finale – in case you are wondering there is only one Lazkano in the pro peloton, the same rider who was crushing the cobbles earlier in the spring – but he’s leaving and on many teams the moment a rider is known to be leaving they become a secondary presence. One place behind the Spaniard him was Derek Gee. Javier Romo did a solid ride for Movistar while Callum Scotson’s impressive performance to Le Collet d’Allevard didn’t repeat but he was still 15th. Meanwhile Remco Evenepoel was adrift and again it’s hard to apportion form versus injury.

The Route: after a downhill start on a big road it’s around to the Col de Forclaz de Montmin, a scenic pass that has been used before to take the race away from the opal shores of Lake Annecy. It’s got a soft middle section before kicking up before the top again.

From here on a series of hilly roads. It’s easy to skip past them but they’re still roads that would be decisive in many another race, it’s just they are dwarfed but today’s big climbs.

The Salève a long climb with steep sections all the way to the top and then a balcony section across before a more gradual descent.

The Finish: 9.7km at 7.1% but the first seven kilometres are regularly over 10%. After the gradual valley road approach the road kicks up and starts climbing the flank of the valley. It’s steep from the start and on a narrow road. It’s like this for 7km to the mountain pass and from here the road drops, the race profile doesn’t capture this, and then it kicks back up to the line.

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The Contenders: Primoz Roglič (Bora-hansgrohe) for three in row? The finish suits with the uphill run to the line and his team are riding well. If there’s a sprint among him and the rest it’s hard to see him losing.

Breakaway picks include Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), Romain Grégoire (Groupama-FDJ), Davide Formolo (Movistar) and Sep Kuss (Visma-LAB) on a route that gives the breakaway a good chance to form and get clear.

Weather: grey skies and the increased chance of rain, 21°C.

TV: another early finish, forecast arriva; time is 2.50pm CEST with the last 90 minutes on TV. This frees up France TV’s schedules for the Roland Garros tennis tournament.

There’s a small irony as the tennis tournament is named after the stadium it takes place in which is named after Roland Garros who is celebrated as a first world war aviator. He had little to do with tennis and in fact enjoyed cycling, and become French schools champion in his youth but under the pseudonym of “Danlor” (an anagram of Roland). So all this clay court to-and-fro is a tribute to a cyclist.

Postcard from the Plateau des Glières
Much of today’s stage is on the same route as the final stage of the 2013 Tour de l’Avenir. While winners of the race are supposed to go onto great things, the 2013 edition was won by Spain’s Rubén Fernández who a decade later is still in a pro peloton having just finished the Giro for Cofidis but yet to land a win. What’s helped him along the way is consistency, he’s had many top-10 finishes and so he’s reliable and when it comes to scoring points, valuable.

The stage that day was won by Julian Alaphilippe who broke a spoke on his back wheel and despite a wobbly wheel went solo for the win ahead of Matej Mohorič. Adam Yates finished second and brother Simon took two stages; the prologue went to Alexis Gougeard, also with Cofidis today. Caleb Ewan took two sprint stages. Michael Valgren took the other stage which went to Albertville where yesterday’s stage started and it was a remarkable win for he and the Danish team attacked together in a coordinated move on the Col du Frêne and only the USA’s Gavin Mannion could follow. The short version of what happened then was the Danish team rode a team time trial to the finish with riders peeling off to leave Valgren to outsprint Mannion, holding off the bunch by seconds. It would be fun to see a team repeat this kind of move… but easier said than done.

61 thoughts on “Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 8 Preview”

  1. … and it seems that Monsieur Garros’s cycling physique was an asset when flying at least one of those early model planes as extra weight could have an adverse affect on handling!

  2. In the paragraph directly above the GC table, you write, “One place the Spaniard him was Derek Gee”. Should that read “One place behind the Spaniard was Derek Gee” or similar?
    Once again, fantastic previews and thanks for the oh-so-informative daily postcards.

  3. Gre has been very impressive this race coming off the back of his injury recovery. After last years efforts at the Giro, we are perhaps yet again getting a glimpse of just how versatile and talented he is. IPT have a real jewel in their hands.

  4. Surely a day for a break to win. Every team minus a few with top GC riders should try to get a good climber in the break. Even those riders between 6th and 15th may get enough rope to go in the break. The start is straight away up hill making it even better for good climbers to get in the break. Today is surely the day for an organised break to go for the win.

  5. A boring classics campaign, a boring Giro, now a boring Dauphine. I cannot believe how dull cycling has become. The way Roglic wins is obviously the pinnacle of boringness. Drafting until 200m to go and then jump to the line. Repeat all over again.

    • OK, I’ll bite: A) When was it so exciting for you? B) What made it so? C) What would you do now to fix it?
      Meanwhile (as noted) there’s tennis from Roland Garros 🙂

      • All good questions there Larry. But so far no response…

        For me, the period of Robert Millar/Philippa York, Sean Kelly and Sean Yates was golden growing up.

        But I’m pretty sure that if I take off my rose tinted glasses there were boring race days back then too.

        • Well how much coverage could we watch in these times compared to today? Most races were never televised at all and nobody could watch 5 dull hours of a Grand Tour stage from beginning to end. And we had no internet for all the armchairs to whine about “dull” racing

      • A)
        Not much so far this year. Paris-Nice was great. Amstel was quite decent and Flèche was better than usual. E3, G-W and Dwars were all good (crashes aside), but it’s been a pauper season so far.

        The Glasgow WCRR last year was one of the best days of racing I’ve ever seen, and aside from Imola, the Worlds have been fantastic since Yorkshire. The two most recent Tour de France editions have been the best in a long time. Ronde last year was one for the ages. Colbrelli’s Roubaix ditto. There have been many lovely days of racing in recent years, but not all races have delivered. The Giro has a bad run, especially compared to what came before.

        Fierce battles using the whole palette of cycling. A mix of bravery, complexity, aggression, calculations, bluffs, adversity, personality. Good use of good terrain. Races with more stories, open to interpretation and the imagination.

        Wait for better luck. If Pogi is a little vulnerable after the Giro and Vingegaard is better than expected, we could have yet another great Tour. Regardless of that, I look forward to Paris very much.

        If I were UCI president? Not much I could do. I’d grant the Giro its request to be postponed a week or two. Ban team radios, only allowing riders to listen to the race radio. But there’s no magic wand.

    • Hard to argue against Climber’s points, though, isn’t it? Unless you enjoy watching a very small number of riders dominate races with little or no competition.
      That has been the case in all bar one of the monuments and the Giro.
      And Roglic’s sprint victories at the top of a hill are as predictable as they are effective. I find that dull, and that’s why I’m against time bonuses in races – those encourage that style of racing.
      Riders like MVDP and Pogacar are incredibly impressive, but I for one don’t enjoy watching a non-contest.
      The Giro had entertaining bits, but not the GC race, and not from its very beginning. I fast-forwarded through some of Pog’s processions up mountains.

      • All depends on what you want to see. Some remind me of a student my wife once described: She teaches philosophy of sport and this kid thought her course a great fit for him as he said he “was way into sports.”
        She asked what sports he was “way into” as in which ones did he play? He responded with “none” but said he watched a lot of sports on television.
        She couldn’t help correct him with the observation that it seemed more that he was “way into….television” rather than sport.
        IMHO the dullest bicycle race is more entertaining than any baseball game, but that’s just me…the guy curious about what those who declare cycling dull would do to fix it if they were the king-of-cycling..other than just complain.

        • There’s nothing one can do to ‘fix’ dominant riders, and nothing one should do. They’re just very good.
          There have always been dominant riders since I’ve been watching the sport (35 years), but I don’t remember a time when there were dominant riders in all different types of races (from 1-day to GTs).
          I’ve always thought the Merckx era must have been very tedious. Impressive, yes. Exciting, I doubt.

          • And everything/anything that EVER happened worthwhile in the sport ONLY seems to have happened once you got interested in it…whether that was 3 decades or 3 years ago.
            Aren’t you the fellow who admits to never having raced a bicycle at any level? I won’t say you have to have raced to be a fan but I will say I don’t much care about the opinion of the relative merits of race X vs race Y or racing season X vs Y from people whose knowledge of the sport has come strictly from watching others do it on TV.
            Is that snobby or elitist? Probably.

          • As ever, Larry, a complete lack of comprehension of what the person you’re replying to has said, and you respond to something that only happened in your head.
            That’s the first paragraph of your reply. And it’s followed by some arbitrary garbage.
            I broke my rule of not reading or replying to your comments (taking your own advice) and that was my mistake.

          • As Lee quite brilliantly put it, ‘It’s like you’ve asked ChatGPT to comment on cycling in the style of Donald Trump…’

          • I started watching cycling in the downtime between Indurain and Armstrong. Once Armstrong got a couple under his belt there was never any doubt that he would win the Tour in those years, but that was more or less the only race he did win. Beyond that I don’t think there have been any riders that had the kind of dominance MvdP and Pogacar display. Other riders had odd years – Gilbert, Boonen & Cancellara – but also had off years due to various reasons. They spread the amount of major wins MvdP has had over 10-15 years. Sagan dominated the media coverage without ever really dominating the results sheets. All the riders above also tended to take riders to the finish with them which at least led to some sort of suspense. MvdP in particular never seems to have a bad day. And any hilly one day race with Pogacar in is a foregone conclusion, before we can even consider his stage race performances. Maybe modern sports science and preparation is so well honed that the best are always the best, and the unknowns that led to random off days have gone. I’m not sure what I am trying to prove or disprove here, I’m just wiling away a quiet Sunday afternoon!

          • Richard S, exactly.

            Also, Larry, the idea that you have to have done something in order to know about it is patently ludicrous.
            Just two off the top of my head: Dave Brailsford never raced bikes as far as I’m aware; and Arrigo Sacchi never played football (and as he said, “I never realised that in order to become a jockey you have to have been a horse first”).

          • In reply to Richard S:

            Is MvdP really that dominant?
            In the cobbled monuments this year he certainly was – billed as top favourite, and never really felt in danger of not winning, particularly with Van Aert absent. But it was only 2 years ago that people were worried he’d never fulfil his potential because of his back injury…he won Flanders that year along with a few other races, but was eminently beatable (remember Girmay in the Giro) and even anonymous in the TdF. And last year, whilst victorious in big races, he hardly dominated them – his wins in Roubaix, World Champs etc were thrillers…even this year he was outfoxed by Lidl Trek & Pedersen in Gent Wevelgem…

            Meanwhile, to suggest Sagan never dominated the results sheet is a stretch – his record in stage wins during his peak was phenomenal!

            I think what people really mean, is that the manner in which Pogacar (and MvdP in the monuments this year) are winning races is boring – when Sagan was winning it was often in sprints/reduced bunches, so there was suspense and the result was unknown until the finish line. But when Pogacar takes off with 80km to go and nobody follows, it sucks all the suspense out of the sport. And that, admittedly, is quite dull.

            Pogacar in particular brings with him a certain inevitability – it feels like he’s just toying with everybody in Catalunya, Liege, the Giro this year. He’s full of impressive feats, but when they’re so inevitable, the lack of suspense isn’t too appealing to watch…

          • Oops, that was me above.
            Oh, and I’ve done a fair bit of bike racing in my time so my opinion is definitely worth something 😉

          • “I never realised that in order to become a jockey you have to have been a horse first”
            Who claimed you had to be a horse first? To win a HORSE race there’s no way to avoid having to be a horse…the jockey, no matter how fast he could run, would have zero chance running against horses so the phrase is rather silly, no?
            My opinion is to appreciate a SPORT as something more than mere entertainment, one needs some experience/background in it…otherwise it’s just another entertainment “product” judged on how exciting (non-boring) it us…like reality TV, etc.

    • It seems very adapted to the rider, with incredible peaks and unexpected lows… l would really love to see Soler take four minutes on everybody else in the stage 4 of the Tour de France (Galibier one). Then nobody would know what to do exactly.

    • @Anonymous. I know little about football, but Dave Brailsford certainly did race at a good level, even as an amateur in Europe.

      • Thanks for the correction, BC (Anonymous was me – I can’t get used to remembering to put my name in below my comment!) – didn’t now that about DB.
        (My point still stands – and there must be many people in cycling who didn’t ride, and similarly in other sports/walks of life. I don’t watch football nowadays, either, but it is true about Sacchi, who managed one of the greatest club sides of all time, and Italy for six years.)

  6. Could this be Roglic’s year to shine at Le Tour?
    He’s certainly in good shape and has a strong team behind him…Pogacar surely has to be at least a little bit tired from the Giro (?!); Remco is clearly not on full form after his Itzulia crash; Vingegaard is an unknown but surely seeing some effect from that same crash…could Roglic finally avenge his near miss in 2020?

    • I wouldn’t say that Roglic was “shining” exactly, with barely winning the overall with a few seconds and being dropped on the last climb like that. Pogi would have to be very tired for Roglic to be able to have a chance. No idea why people continue to put Remco even in the same list of top contenders, maybe he should concentrate on the classics.

      • I wrote that before yesterday’s stage, when Roglic had a commanding 1min lead and a good chance of taking his third win in three days…clearly Roglic read it and decided to prove me wrong!

  7. For those who claim that cycling as a sport is ‘boring’. Did you watch stage 8 of the Dauphine?
    Even those who think bike racing is simply crossing the line in first place could not but be excited by the final 5Ks of today’s stage.

  8. Anonymous said. “cycling as a sport is ‘boring’” – literally nobody here has said that.

    Someone certainly did say that. See ‘Climber’s’ post above.


  9. Anonymous said. “cycling as a sport is ‘boring’” – literally nobody here has said that.

    Incorrect. See ‘Climbers post earlier on.

  10. Sorry for the double post. The comment “You already appear to have posted that” came up on the first attempt, when the post did not appear, so I tried again.

  11. I’m not into sports betting, so the suspense of “who will win” isn’t that big with me.

    Instead I enjoy also to see / read how the win was done. The skybots had a very different feeling to them from Pogi taking off on his own… just because we know by now that he can do it, it still means that he is risking it all and not riding on “safety”. For years we complained about sky suffocating the tour … now we have a very different story, we should value each on their own.

    Jorgenson taking off and giving it all in the hope of maybe taking those crucial last seconds when Roglic was dropped, seeing him finding some more energy in that little hope, that was interesting. Soler almost getting there, but cracking on the real steep stuff, Pogi doing similar rides and making it… every story is different and interesting in its own way. Pogi trying first with his team, then alone, then again in the sprint in San Remo … even when he loses, he’s entertaining.

  12. “As Lee quite brilliantly put it, ‘It’s like you’ve asked ChatGPT to comment on cycling in the style of Donald Trump…’”
    Gotta admit this cracked me up this AM, almost spit out my cappuccino!!!
    But I’ll stand by my claim that those who find a given sport boring probably don’t know (or care to know) much about it. I don’t go on Major League Baseball comment sites and make statements like “Baseball is boring!” because those who know the sport will just laugh me off as a know-nothing…and I am a know-nothing when it comes to baseball. My thoughts about it being boring are demonstrated by my not watching, not going online and whining about how boring it is.
    An issue for me with big-time sports is they too often just want the fans money/attention – they don’t give a rat’s a__ if the fan ever really understands and appreciates what it takes to win..whether it’s LeTour, F1 or MOTOGP…all these things are being repackaged from sport to merely “entertainment product” for the slack-jawed masses – all in the pursuit of profit.

      • How come? Larry was having his breakfast, presumably that cappucino and his favourite pastry, in front of his computer. Nothing “real Italians don´t do that” about that, is there?

        • I don’t count as Italian, just as Italo-phile. I just live there while my wife is (fingers crossed) very, very close to getting her citizenship documented, which will make my life in Italy less complicated. But no matter what, I’ll still enjoy cappuccino in the morning…same as I did when I lived in the USA.

      • Tom- “plastic Italian”? Are you saying the only Italians who enjoy cappuccino in the morning are ones made of plastic? Carbon fiber? WTF?
        We used to joke back-in-the-day “continental breakfast” here in Italy was an espresso and cigarette..but it was a joke. Are you making one that I’m missing here?

  13. “But I’ll stand by my claim that those who find a given sport boring probably don’t know (or care to know) much about it”.
    Larry. You and I have our differences, but this is hammer on nail stuff. Winning is important but the process of winning in detail and its nuances are also interesting.
    Why, after such dominating high mountain top finishes did Roglic falter so badly at the last hurdle in his favored domain, and almost lose the GC? An ‘off’ day, fatigue, illness/injury or a combination?
    I have my view -Larry, your favorite team INEOS played a role, but I would be interested to hear others.

    • Interesting stuff. I was waiting for a “How the race was won” to get into these developments, but did anyone predict Roglic and the soon-to-be Redbull juggernaut would sputter and throw off sparks on the final stage while Evenepoel’s supercharged diesel dialed-up to a precise power level would almost catch him? And that Visma might be breathing a huge sigh of relief as it seems maybe they can stick Jorgenson onto their trident for LeTour with Kuss and last year’s winner, even if the latter’s not firing on all cylinders the first week? And then there’s that fracking team..what might they do?
      Barring unforeseen future developments LeTour still looks to me to be Pogacar/UAE’s race-to-lose, but the usual preTour demonstration race revealed some interesting and unexpected developments. Will the race over in Switzerland reveal anything as interesting?

      • The trouble with UAE is that this year’s TDF lineup looks like even less of a “team” than last year’s. Maybe the puzzle pieces all fit together somehow, or maybe Pog just smashes everyone regardless. I don’t think it’s going to be the cakewalk the Giro was, though.

        • That’s what they said about his team for La Corsa Rosa not too long ago. Barring sickness or crashing he seems to get what he needs out of whoever shows up in a UAE jersey and thanks them for it over and over.

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