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Primoz Roglic wins Critérium du Dauphiné

Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard confirmed Jumbo-Visma’s dominance of the Critérium du Dauphiné, with the Slovenian taking overall victory after the young Dane made the last decisive attack on the final steep climb to Plateau de Solaison.

The two Jumbo-Visma (opens in new tab)riders rode to the finish together, with Vingegaard, seemingly the stronger of the two, taking the stage victory, while Roglič won the winner’s final yellow jersey. Roglič and Vingegaard held hands as they rode to the finish line, Roglič pushing his teammate forward to take the stage victory.   

Australia’s Ben O’Connor (opens in new tab)(AG2R Citroën) fought hard to try to limit his time losses and so finish third overall. Esteban Chaves and Ruben Guerreiro (EF Education-EasyPost) finished fourth and fifth on the stage with defiant rides. 

O’Connor was 15 seconds down on Vingegaard at the finish line and so finished 1:41 down on Roglic in the final overall classification. Vingegaard was second overall at 40 seconds.

Roglič added the 2022 Critérium du Dauphiné to his palmares and showed he is back on form for the Tour de France which is less than three weeks away, while Vingegaard showed he deserves his equal standing in France.    

“It’s finally nice to win some races in France,” Roglič joked after adding his Critérium du Dauphiné win to his Paris-Nice victory and his collection of Tour de France disappointments.

“Not just us two, the whole team rode well and had everything under control all day. Jonas was super strong on the last climb too, so it was a crazy, incredible day for our team.

“Things are going in the right direction and we can be confident for the Tour de France. There’s some more work to do but we should be ready for the Tour.”  

Jumbo-Visma had started the Critérium du Dauphiné with key parts of their Tour de France squad and showed they have the combined power to perhaps challenge Tadej Pogačar and UAE Team Emirates. The question now is if that will be with Roglič or Vingegaard. The racing across the exposed roads of Denmark and the cobbles of northern France and then mountains in the Alps and Pyrenees will perhaps produce the final answer.

“I think it’ll be hard for us to be one-two in the Tour because there are a few more riders. Pogačar is there, Martinez is there, Vlasov is there. There are more GC contenders, so the competition will be harder, so it will be harder to win. But we go for at least one of us trying to win the race,” Vingegaard suggested, happy to win the stage.

“We had the plan that I should attack and he should follow me. We wanted to try to see if we could drop everyone. We succeeded with that. I think we can be very happy and proud today.

“It’s nice to win a stage and finish second overall. It’s one of the biggest races in the world. In the Ardennes Classics, I didn’t have the best period but now I’m back at a high level and happy about it.” 

How it unfolded

The 137.5km final stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné was again a short but intense day in the high French Alps, with four categorised climbs, including the Col de la Colombière and finish atop the hors catégorie Plateau de Solaison.

Again the racing was expected to be two battles: for the breakaway and a shot at a prestigious stage victory, and then the battle for overall victory and the podium placings.

The breakaways have often reigned at this year’s Dauphiné, winning three of the six road stages in the race and Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM) again went on the attack on the early Col de Plainpalais climb to inspire the early action. He was eventually joined by 13 riders to form a strong and determined attack. 

In the move where Eddie Dunbar, Laurens De Plus (Ineos Grenadiers), Matteo Fabbro (Bora-Hansgrohë), Bruno Armirail, Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ), George Bennett (UAE Team Emirates), Antonio Tiberi, Kenny Elissonde, Antwan Tolhoek (Trek-Segafredo), Simon Geschke (Cofidis), Gorka Izagirre (Movistar), Alexis Vuillermoz (TotalEnergies), Jan Hirt (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Franck Bonnamour and Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM). Geschke was the best placed rider overall in the breakaway, 21st place, 5:19 behind Roglič. 

Rolland took maximum points over the  Col de Plainpalais and then they soon hit the Col de Leschaux. Behind Jumbo-Visma tried to keep the break in check at around 2:00. 

Rolland was again first to the top of the Col de Leschaux as the breakaways fought for their glory. A 40km ride in the valley took the race to the foot of the Col de la Colombière. 

It is one of France’s most famous climbs and frequently appears in the Tour de France. The 11.5km shook out the breakaway as Groupama-FDJ increased the pace and Armirail sacrificed himself for Storer. Rolland was dropped as Dunbar, Storer, Bruno Armirail, Bennet and Elissonde rode to the spectacular summit. However, their lead on the GC group was only 1:30, with Wout van Aert leading the Jumbo-Visma up the climb.  

Hirt and De Plus got back up to the attack and dived down the descent, fully aware their chances were slim. De Plus was not concerned and continued to ride for Dunbar on the valley road to the foot of the Plateau de Solaison in a show of pure team work. However the chase behind was equally as determined.

As the 11.4km, 9% climb began to hurt, De Plus was understandably the first to suffer and ease up. His vital job was done. Soon after Dunbar, Hirt and Storer opened a gap. However, they led the peloton by just 1:00. Hirt and Storer pushed on and were joined by Bennett but Dunbar was unable to hold the pace and was soon swallowed up by the yellow and black lead Jumbo-Visma GC group. 

Steven Kruijswijk was causing the damage, closing down the attack and cracking riders at the same time. Gaudu soon blew, as did the USA’s Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar).

Only Roglič, Vingegaard, O'Connor, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Damiano Caruso, Haig, Chaves and Louis Meintjes could stay in Kruijswijk’s slipstream but everyone was suffering and the group soon split again, with Geoghegan Hart, Caruso and Meintjes dispatched.  

The lead of the attackers melted in the French sun, the 11% gradient causing pain and suffering. Bennett was the last to be caught with 6.5km to go. The race for the stage was suddenly over, with the GC battle taking centre stage. 

Kruijswijk eventually pulled off with 5.4km to go and Vingegaard immediately attacked. Only Roglič and O'Connor were actually there when he accelerated and the Australian was soon distanced. 

O'Connor wisely paced his ride to ensure he finished on the podium as Vingegaard and Roglič powered on together, the Dane looking the stronger and talking longer turns. 

They opened a gap but O'Connor refused to give in, neither did the others. But there was nothing they could do to catch Vingegaard and Roglič, who shared the spoils and celebrated together. 

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.

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