Vingegaard...like a boss?
May 24 th 2023 - 16:00
Even without the super-domestiques who flanked him last summer, the winner of the 2022 Tour de France, Jonas Vingegaard, is the man to beat in the 75th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
The Jumbo–Visma leader will face tough competition from dogged challengers such as David Gaudu, who finished ahead of him in Paris–Nice, as well as Mikel Landa, Enric Mas, Adam Yates, Egan Bernal and Richard Carapaz.
Julian Alaphilippe, whose return to the highest level is eagerly awaited by the French fans after a string of crashes and physical woes that have dented his form, could also turn a corner in the Dauphiné.
The Critérium du Dauphiné, a week-long showdown for all-rounders, is a litmus test that gauges the potential of the favourites to shine in July. Will the pedal strokes between Chambon-sur-Lac, near Clermont-Ferrand, and the Bastille in Grenoble make sparks fly and bathe the air in bright yellow? It is up to Jonas Vingegaard, the reigning champion of the Tour de France, to figure it out. Last year, he laid the foundation for his triumph in Paris by taking second in the Dauphiné in a friendly scuffle with his teammate Primož Roglič. The Dane has since risen to a new level and no longer has to share the leadership of Jumbo–Visma, which he will lead in his quest for success with the backing of Christophe Laporte, Dylan van Baarle and others. Before coming here, the hero of last summer took a barnstorming victory in the Tour of the Basque Country —a good omen ahead of the Grand Départ in Bilbao. Also on his mind will be the fact that David Gaudu finished one step higher than him on the podium of Paris–Nice, his latest appearance in France. The Breton's track record in the Race to the Sun makes him a serious contender for the Dauphiné, but he is far from the only one. Mikel Landa's dazzling performances in the first part of the season (runner-up in the Vuelta a Andalucía and the Tour of the Basque Country and third in the Flèche Wallonne) suggest that the 33-year-old is finally ready to grab the big win that has eluded him so far. Similarly, his 28-year-old compatriot Enric Mas could build on his second place in the last Vuelta and blossom into a champion on the roads of the Alps.
No review of the favourites would be complete without mentioning UAE Team Emirates, which is fielding Adam Yates, fresh off his triumph in the Tour de Romandie, and Marc Soler, fourth in Catalonia. Ineos Grenadiers, a regular fixture at the top of the classification, with seven wins out of the last twelve, are an unknown quantity this time round, with question marks hanging over Egan Bernal's form and the condition of the winner of the 2020 edition, Dani Martínez. Same story for their former star Richard Carapaz, who has been stuck in the doldrums since his transfer to EF Education–EasyPost, and the Australian Jai Hindley, whose rise seems to have stalled since his 2022 Giro victory. Meanwhile, over at AG2R Citroën, Ben O'Connor is a cut below the level that saw him finish on the bottom step of the podium last year.
Besides the podium hopefuls, the start list includes riders who are expected to spice up the race, starting with Julian Alaphilippe. The two-time world champion, who has a couple of Dauphiné stage wins to his name (2018 and 2019), could strike gold in Chambon-sur-Lac (stage 1) or La Chaise-Dieu (stage 2) if he can find the legs of his halcyon days. Finally, the sprinters will get their day in the sun in Le Coteau (stage 3), where Dylan Groenewegen, Ethan Hayter, Sam Bennett and Axel Zingle will jostle for glory.
21 teams, the leading riders (as of May 24)
Jayco AlUla: Groenewegen (NED) and Craddock (USA)
Bahrain-Victorious: Landa (ESP) and Haig (AUS)
Soudal Quick-Step: Alaphilippe, Cavagna (FRA) and Bagioli (ITA)
Lotto Dstny: Kron (DEN), Van Gils and Campenaerts (BEL)
Alpecin–Deceuninck: Stannard (AUS)
Intermarché–Circus–Wanty: Meintjes (RSA)
Bora–Hansgrohe: Hindley (AUS), Bennett (IRL), Buchmann and Politt (GER)
AG2R Citroën Team: O'Connor (AUS), Bonnamour (FRA) and Van Avermaet (BEL)
Groupama–FDJ: Gaudu, Madouas and Martinez (Fra)
Cofidis: Martin, Perez and Zingle (FRA)
Team Arkéa–Samsic: Champoussin, Delaplace, Hofstetter (Fra)
TotalEnergies: Latour, Vuillermoz (FRA) and Boasson Hagen (NOR)
Astana Qazaqstan Team: De la Cruz (ESP)
Jumbo–Visma: Vingegaard (DEN), Laporte (FRA) and Van Baarle (NED)
DSM: Combaud (FRA) and Poole (GBR)
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team: T. Johannessen (NOR) and Charmig (DEN)
Movistar Team: Mas (ESP) and Jorgenson (USA)
United Arab Emirates
UAE Team Emirates: Soler (ESP), Yates (GBR), Trentin (ITA) and Großschartner (AUT)
Ineos Grenadiers: Bernal, Martínez (COL), Rodríguez (ESP) and Hayter (GBR)
EF Education–EasyPost: Carapaz (ECU) and Chaves (COL)
Trek–Segafredo: Ciccone (ITA) and López (ESP)