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Critérium du Dauphiné 2013

Date range:
June 2- 9, 2013

Contador, Froome and Rodriguez headline difficult Dauphiné

Sprinter set to miss out in tactical terrain

By:
Cycling News

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)

Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
  • Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank)
  • Chris Froome (Sky) wins the Tour de Romandie.
  • Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)

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With less than a month to go until the start of the Tour de France, the Critérium du Dauphiné once again assumes its role as a form guide and final test ahead of the sport’s grandest showdown.

Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), Chris Froome (Team Sky), and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) line up at the head of the queue for overall honours but with Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) and Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) in the mix, it is far more than just a three-man race. The possible inclusion of Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) is still up in the air and could yet prove pivotal for both the outcome of the Dauphiné and Sky’s much-publicized leadership battle for the Tour de France.

Covering a total distance of 1,117 kilometres over eight days, the Critérium du Dauphiné rolls out from Champéry on Sunday with an undulating 121km stage. The curtain raiser of the race has typically been a prologue in years past, but organisers ASO have decided to begin the race in Switzerland - a first for the Dauphiné – and test the peloton with a stage that includes the first category climb of the Cote de Morgins and the Col du Corbier, both within the opening 80km of racing. Any hope of the sprinters regaining contact will be dashed by the Pas de Morgins and then a third category climb of the Cote de Champery inside the final five kilometres.

If the opening stage is one for the first GC skirmishes and opportunists, then the following stage from Chatel to Oyonnax is much of the same with five caterogized climbs within the final 70km before over 10km of descending to the finish.

Stage three, 167km from Ambérieu-en-Bugey to Tarare, is ideal for a break to slip clear. By now a general pecking order will have been established with time gaps healthy enough for the leading team to allow escapees their chance.

A clearer GC battle will emerge after stage four's individual time trial from Villars-les-Dombes to Parc des Oiseaux. Pancake-flat, the 32.5km course will see Froome and Contador go head-to-head against the clock and both riders will be looking to set down important markers ahead of the Tour. Throw Wiggins into the equation, Talansky, Richie Porte (Sky), Rodriguez and the unpredictable Thomas De Gendt and this could a prequel to the two 30-plus kilometre test at this year's Tour. Stage honours though, should go to Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).

The mountains proper arrive the following day with the short but potentially brutal 139km stage from Grésy-sur-Aix to Valmorel. The three proceeding climbs before the Montée de Valmorel shouldn’t pose too much trouble but the final 12.7 km climb averages 7 per cent. It’s a climb suited to Sky, with the gradient rarely varying apart from one 8 per cent pitch on the lower slopes, but with the climbers having lost ground in the individual time trial, a number of riders will be looking to launch late attacks and claw back what time they can.

Stage 6 from La Léchère to Grenoble is realistically the only opportunity for the sprinters with Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky), and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) two of the biggest favourites.

Stage 7 is a abbreviated dress rehersal for this year’s Tour de France with the peloton covering Alpe d’Huez/Col de Sarenne, the tricky descent of the Le Freney d’Oisans and the Col du Noyer before the new summit finish to Superdévoluy. With Alpe d’Huez coming within the first 50km of racing it’s unlikely to have much bearing on the GC battle but the slopes of the Noyer and Superdévoluy look ideal for the likes of Rodriguez to pounce.

Any hope of a relatively relaxing day in the saddle for the final stage will be dashed by the Col de Vars and the summit finish to Montée de Risoul where Nicolas Vogondy won a stage in 2010.

For more about this week's racing see Cycling News HD

cthenn More than 1 year ago
Who cares about Wingo. Dude needs a reality check. He won the Tour last year on a course that was perfect for him, and even still he had to literally force Froome from not attacking when he could have. Unless and until the next GT comes around with 150K of TT's.
CopycatDan More than 1 year ago
Why are you so bitter whenever he is mentioned? Are you Chris Froome's missus? Its the only explanation for your constant boring carping about how a 4x Olympic gold medallist, Olympic time trial champion and reigning Maillot Jaune is overrated in your view. Wiggins has his limitations but last time I checked they didn't give away any of those titles for free, so unless you have anything new or legitimate to say then I'm guessing people just don't want to hear it.
tretow95 More than 1 year ago
Im sorry but bragging about 4x Olympic champion isn't much to shout about in cycling. Its primarily a Track discipline and only since Atlanta 96 has it been for the Pro's. The olympics is hardly the blue ribbon event for cyclists hahaha
tretow95 More than 1 year ago
Find me a cyclist who would rather win Olympics over World Champs. Yes maybe a track cyclist but not on the road.
Frubberduck More than 1 year ago
They may rather win the worlds however if the olympics meant nothing why would riders participate in the RR and TT? Because they want to win it! Riders are allowed not to participate in these events you know... The Worlds brings great even huge respect in cycling niche community - and don't get me wrong, the Worlds is a greater achievment but the Olympics puts you out to the non cycling fans as well the main body of cycling fans (a bit like the comparing
Frubberduck More than 1 year ago
the tour de france to the other grand tours) Sorry - didn't finish the reply (accidently posted without finishing)
Il Pirata 1 More than 1 year ago
Hey!! What about Movistar and Alejandro Valverde? Not one comment ? Come on cycling news.
miba111 More than 1 year ago
Couldn't agree more with you Copycat! One of the great things about our sport is how awesomely spectacular the top riders are! There's no need, or justification, for putting any one of them down. And Wiggins really does have a unique set of wins in his career, as you said. I must admit to a sense of anticipation, though, until the moment when he finally goes public with how unprecedented his team's switch of support is, and how he's been pissed off as hell about it from day one! Right or wrong, it's highly unusual.
meals-on-wheels More than 1 year ago
I'd like to see Purito put in a strong TT - give Froome and Contador something to chew on ahead of the Tour.
BigFatCoward More than 1 year ago
i don't get the confidence that some of you feel stating that froome could have beaten wiggo last year. by my calculations he took 2 mins exactly out of Froome in the TT's. does anybody think he could realistically taken that back in the mountains?
tretow95 More than 1 year ago
Honestly I think its a farce how Sky can have such a focus on the Classics season (good going this year as per) and not have Wiggo ride Paris Roubaix. Its tailor made for him!! Winning that would give him a bit more prestige than 400m pursuit champion....
popoleke More than 1 year ago
you know he has won the Tour, right ? You know, the race that gives the most prestige in cycling ...
ellenbrook2001 More than 1 year ago
if WINGGO there so his cold was a joke you do not recover from a lung infection overnight ,when that pom did see he couldn't win the GIRO he found all the excuses he behave has a girl?????????
MattCla More than 1 year ago
er sorry but I didnt understand what you were trying to say. Last years tour was dull (to me anyway) but Wiggins won - period. Can people get over this and focus on the upcoming tour? Maybe some insightful opinions on which stages certain riders may do well instead of all this rehashed boring dribble?
Il Pirata 1 More than 1 year ago
ALEJANDRO VALVERDE. If he can get over not having a bad day in the tour, this will be his year. He has the team and has been saving his great form for France!! Viva Valverde
PhrediePhly More than 1 year ago
Pharmacy now open
PJK1972 More than 1 year ago
So many Wiggins haters on here. Why can't people realise and respect that there are different types of riders? Why should a pure climber always win a grand tour? It's about balance and finding the best overall rider and Wiggins was that in spades in 2012 (just look at his whole season) That said I do think he's an underdog this year due to the route and less TT's. I fancy Valverde if he has last years Vuelta form, but you don't know what type of Valverde your going to get. Contador will be the one to beat as he's so clever and Froome will node fade like last years Vuelta so it'll be good to see them all at their peak in July.