Critérium du Dauphiné Preview

Col du Plan Bois

The pre-Tour de France tune-up in the Alps, this year’s race has a tough course with a time trial and three summit finishes. With many riders coming down from altitude form is a mystery but we’ll learn plenty ahead of the Tour de France.

The top billing is a duel between Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel, while UAE understudy Juan Ayuso gets a chance to lead and more riders can answer questions about their form and hopes ahead of July’s rendez-vous.

The Route:
Eight stages with two possible sprints, two uphill finishes, a 34km time trial and the week finishes with three consecutive big Alpine summit finishes.

There are 3-2-1 second time bonuses at the intermediate sprint and 10-6-4 seconds at the stage finish (except the time trial).

If you want a stage-by-stage look, have a look the post from February when the route was unveiled, it’s been updated to reflect the recent change to Stage 7.

The Contenders: Primož Roglič (Bora-hansgrohe) won here 2022 – remember the body language where Vingegaard looked better? – and a repeat would do nicely, especially if he can come in ahead of team mate Aleksandr Vlasov too. So used to winning, Roglič was off the pace in Paris-Nice and crashed out of the Itzulia Basque Tour like many others. A triumph would be ideal for him and his team, fewer questions about form and cohesion. The course suits with a time trial and three uphill finishes, the kind where he’s often been so good at taking the win and the time bonuses. Jai Hindley brings added climbing power while Vlasov is a contender for the Dauphiné too just as he took a stage win in Paris-Nice when Roglič did not.

Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quickstep) was long due to ride this race but his crash in Itzulia has changed things, one bar less of pressure on him to win. This was always going to be a crucial test because his weakness relative to the likes of Roglič, Pogačar and Vingegaard has been the high mountains, particularly with repeat stages. Three days in the Alps should tell us plenty. There’s also a second test for his team collectively and how far they can do in supporting him. All this means tests where perhaps his rivals face challenges or have hopes invested in them but it’s because we know he can place well this week but to win or just be within seconds is unknown.

Juan Ayuso leads the UAE team in what is effectively their Tour de France squad sans Tadej Pogačar who is finishing his post Giro recovery around now, and Adam Yates. The Slovenian’s absence means a chance for leadership among the others and the time trial is likely to see the best placed UAE rider atop the pecking order for the week and Ayuso excels in this field but can he hang on in the high mountains, like Evenepoel this is his challenge. Pavel Sivakov could be a contender but injury and fewer wins overall make Ayuso the more obvious pick.

Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos) used this race to build for the Tour de France last year. You could see the improvement day by day, but just. So he might not come here ready to rip up the race, look instead for steady rides in the time trial and the high mountains.

Visma-Lease A Bike come with Sep Kuss and Matteo Jorgenson and a desire to turn around the team’s fortunes. Kuss will find the 34km time trial hard going while Jorgenson faces a test in the high mountains.

Tao Geoghegan Hart and is joined by Giulio Ciccone who won the memorable Bastille finish last year. Ciccone could be back with a bang after a season spoilt so far by injury while TGH has been able to climb and time trial with the best and the question is how he is faring compared to them.

Bahrain bring a strong team. Antonio Tiberi is here after a busy Giro and we’ll see how his form holds up. Santiago Buitrago could take a stage in the mountains but will lose minutes in the time trial. Jack Haig is reliable – grand tour podium reliable – but has yet to get a pro win.

Chris Harper (Jayco) is back after crashing in April, he’s a climber but can do a decent time trial, he could surprise but the absence after racing means we’ll just have to see. IPT bring 39 year olds Chris Froome and Jakob Fuglsang and some could be forgiven if they’d thought this pair had retired but this week is for them to grab some limelight and bid for a Tour place if the results follow. An existential crisis is a bit too strong but David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) seems to be finding it difficult to get a foothold at the moment, a GC contender or not? He’ll just look for a more reassuring week than he and his team had last year where he never cracked the top-20. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) made the top-10 here last year, his team in the hunt for points would be satisfied with a repeat.

Evenepoel, Ayuso
Jorgenson, TGH

TV: probably the same channel you watch the Tour de France on but it’s being filmed by the same broadcaster that does the Roland Garros tennis in Paris. The finish times vary, 5.00pm CEST is typical but because of the clash with the tennis, the prority event for host broadcaster France Télévisions. Some days have early finishes at 3.00pm, Thursday’s stage will be done by 2.40pm CEST.

14 thoughts on “Critérium du Dauphiné Preview”

  1. Thanks for the preview!
    Be interesting to see Roglic & Remco’s form after the crash at Itzulia. Would not expect fireworks until the TT and the last 3 stages.
    As Sam Bennett is the only notable sprinter I can see on the startlist then he could well continue his good form from 4 jours de Dunkerque.
    Gaudu is having a tough time it appears. It does not help that young Martinez is winning races. Martinez is rumoured to be off to Bahrain so Gaudu is going to have all the pressure again from the team to do well.

    • Froome & Fuglsang mentioned together brings to memory the 2017 Dauphine, one of the more entertaining editions. Froome contributed to Porte’s isolation, aiding Fuglsang’s victory.

  2. It would be nice if Roglič manages to not crash for once. Apart from the sports spectators point of view (would be nice to see him finish the race), all those crashes can’t be good for his health really.

  3. Interesting rankings, a lot of confidence in Roglic. I would put Remco up there with him if he’s in decent shape, but it’s hard to guess if he is. I would also give Jorgenson a higher ranking, but he would have to have his climbing legs ready to go. Ayuso and Rodriguez seem about right; both look likely to contend for the podium. The Dauphine is weird sometimes, not always a good predictor of future success. One thing is for sure: I love the startlist and expect it to be much less predictable than other recent races.

  4. It’s only when you read these previews that you realise how many of the top GC riders are squeezed into basically 3 teams, plus Evenepoel at QS.

  5. Thanks for the preview. Helps me warm up to this race, which I find harder every year to get into. Not knowing who really makes a point of winning it, and who is really fit at this point, doesn’t help me value the victory in its just measure. A pity, as I used to like it a lot, but now it’s the one week-long stage race I can really live without. I can’t even remember who won last year.

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