Ready for the queen stage

June 8 th 2024 - 02:40

With three 1st category climbs and an unprecedented final ascent to Samoens 1600, the 155.4-km 7th stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné can arguably be seen as “the queen stage” of this 66th edition. For local experts, the last ascent is considered as comparable to Joux-Plane, only harder! But the peloton will also have to tackle such famous passes as les Saisies and la Ramaz while the Arâches climb – another impressive ascent ridden for the first time – completes a copious menu with a total elevation of 4,200 metres.

“It’s only a start,” claimed new overall leader Primoz Roglic after his stage win at Le Collet d’Allevard on Friday and the main course, before Sunday’s desert to Plateau des Glières, will be hard to swallow for the whole of the bunch. But the Slovenian, who can count on the support of Bora-Hasngrohe team-mates Aleksandr Vlasov and Jai Hindley, looks the best placed to digest it even though he only leads Belgian champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-Quick Step) by 19 seconds and American Paris-Nice winner Matteo Jorgenson (Visma-Lease a bike) by 58 seconds. But the 2022 Dauphiné winner impressed in the first summit finish of this edition while Evenepoel admitted not being as strong as the very best in the mountains yet. As for Jorgenson, he is a bit isolated without injured team-mates Steven Kruijswijk and Dylan can Baarle while Sepp Kuss does not seem in his best climbing shape for now.

There will be breakaway attempts for sure and polka-dot jersey holder Mathis Le Berre pledged to take his chance, knowing he will have to race from the front in order to retain his KOM lead.    

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