Info with one day to go
June 4 th 2022 - 17:16
The 74th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné is also the first one to start from the Ardèche department, with the 154-man peloton taking on a 191.8km stage 1 that could favour the sprinters… or an attacker. At the helm of an impressive Jumbo-Visma line-up, Primoz Roglic is touted as the “big favorite” to win the overall, two years after he had to leave the race while wearing the yellow and blue jersey ahead of the final stage. Many other riders eye the overall victory, on Sunday 12th at the Plateau de Solaison, ahead of the Tour de France, with elite climbers such as Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates), Enric Mas (Movsitar), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Ben O’Connor (AG2R-Citroën)… Ineos Grenadiers opt for a different approach of the Critérium du Dauphiné, with stage hunters such as Ethan Hayter and TT expert Filippo Ganna riding alongside the leader Tao Geoghegan Hart.
GILLES MAIGNAN: "AN ATTACKER CAN WIN IN BEAUCHASTEL"
The Critérium du Dauphiné begins with a 191.8km stage following two loops around the start city, La Voulte-sur-Rhône, and the neighbouring finish, in Beauchastel, on the shores of the Rhône. The riders will first tackle a 129.1km route, and then a shorter one, over 62.7km. The stage could favour fast men… But a look at the start-list suggests there may not be too many teams interested in controlling the stage for a bunch sprint, while attackers can eye the first yellow and blue jersey, race director Gilles Maignan explains: "I feel like a lot will depend on how the breakaway is shaped. With some strong riders at the front, one of them can take the win. Last year, we thought stage 1 would be a sprint and Brent Van Moer actually won in Issoire. We can’t rule out that kind of scenario." The former French TT champion thus anticipates an open race: "It’s a way to avoid having a team that locks the race already in the first stages. The first big GC day is on Tuesday, with a summit finish at the Chastreix-Sancy resort."
NIERMANN: "ROGLIC IS FEELING MUCH BETTER"
On the start-list of the Critérium du Dauphiné, Jumbo-Visma’s line-up attracts lots of attention, with the return of Primoz Roglic, alongside Jonas Vingegaard, Wout van Aert, and the likes of Christophe Laporte and Rohan Dennis. "We won’t ride to the fullest every day", their sports director Grischa Niermann assures. "This time, the riders are coming out of a long period of training, we mostly want to see where they stand in competition." Their Slovenian leader returns to the Critérium du Dauphiné a couple of years after his only previous participation, when he had to abandon while wearing the yellow and blue jersey ahead of the final stage. This is also his return to competition after he had to skip the Ardennes classics due to a knee injury. "He had to rest for a bit but he’s feeling much better now and it didn’t disturb his training schedule too much", Niermann says. As for Wout van Aert, who eyes the green jersey in the Tour de France, "he will try win as many stages as possible but he won’t fight for it every day! He has a big shot in Wednesday’s TT."
GAUDU LOOKS FOR "CONFIDENCE" AND "OPPORTUNITIES"
"What is done is done", and David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) now wants to "forget about the first half of the season, with a crash in Paris-Nice, bronchitis, a fracture…" Following a training camp, the French climber (best young rider of the 2021 Critérium du Dauphiné) returned to competition this week on the Mercan’Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes (3rd) and he faces the Critérium du Dauphiné with ambitions: "We have a strong team to fight for the general classification. The main ambition is to take confidence with good sensations and to see my current level in the mountains against the best. To me, Primoz Roglic is the big favorite, and then there’s a strong field of climbers like Johannessen from Uno-X, Mas, Kelderman, Vingegaard… I hope to be at their level and if there are opportunities, we’ll take them." Gaudu also wants to perform in Wednesday’s time-trial: "I trained a lot for it in Tenerife, I was climbing up Teide with my TT bike."
INEOS AIM TO SHINE "ON DIFFERENT TERRAINS"
Winner of seven editions of the Critérium du Dauphiné in the past 11 years, including in 2021 with Richie Porte, Ineos Grenadiers come with "several cards for the general classification, with Tao [Geoghegan Hart] but also Eddie [Dunbar], maybe Michal [Kwitatkowski]", sports director Gabriel Rasch explains. "But we won’t have to carry the load of the race GC wise. We can play for stage wins on different terrains. The first two days can be sprints with reduced bunches so that would be great for Ethan Hayter." The British side also looks forward to the individual time-trial with the world champion Filippo Ganna: "He’s been training in altitude, he’s in a good condition and we obviously back him. And then we’ll see what we can do in the mountains in the final two days."
CHRIS FROOME’S 10th
The four-time winner of the Tour de France has gone through extreme highs and lows in the Critérium du Dauphiné. He triumphed on three occasions (2013, 15, 16) and claimed six stage wins, a tally that makes him the biggest scorer in the race among active riders. But he also sustained a career-changing crash in 2019, as he was preparing the individual time-trial in Roanne, colliding with a wall and sustaining multiple fractures. The British star only returned to competition the next year, and he recently achieved his best performance in three years, coming 11th of the Mercan’Tour Classic. "I’ve seen some big progressions in my form over the last two months, and I hope to continue to build on it to put myself in the best possible position for July", Froome said. "I had a good ride earlier this week at the Mercan’Tour Classic, and I look forward to carrying that momentum forward into the Dauphiné."
FOLLOW THE RACE ALL AROUND THE WORLD
Cycling fans all around the world can turn to the Critérium du Dauphiné, benefiting from a broadcast in 190 territories. They will enjoy a 2-hour live coverage on every stage. Fans will also be able to follow all the action on the official website of the race and on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), with live updates and the best images of the race, during the stage and in the evening with the highlights of the day.