[Underneath article was written before the start of the Dauphiné and has not been updated]
Time gaps are not to be expected in the 1st stage. The race serves a succession of hills with moderate gradients. GC riders who lose contact on this terrain have a lot of work to do ahead of the Tour de France.
The second day is something else, as the finish climb is a testing one. The 2nd stage leads to the top of the Col de Porte, which is a 17.5 kilometres climb with an average gradient of 6.2%. The fact that the second part is much steeper than the first contributes to the Porte’s potential to set a first marker in terms of the overall battle.
The 3rd stage gives the riders a first taste of the upcoming Tour de France as the Col de la Madeleine serves as intermediate climb. The finish climb to winter sports resort Saint-Martin-de-Belleville is 14 kilometres long and slopes at 6%.
While the first three days are likely to separate the wheat from the chaff, the real action for the overall triumph comes down to the final weekend. Featuring respectively seven and eight ascents, both stage 4 and stage 5 are extremely demanding. In short, these are brutal grueling journeys in which the winner of the 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné 2020 – and possibly the Tour de France as well – will show himself.
Time trialists appear to be getting a rough deal on the Dauphiné. Instead the route is perfectly tailored to the skills of pure climbers. Since it is the first big stage race of the post-corona season, it is hard to prophecy. If one thing, Primoz Roglic is in good shape. In June, he outclimbed Tadej Pogacar in a two-man battle to claim the Slovenian National Championships, while Pogacar bested him in the national ITT championships.
Last weekend, Roglic triumphed in the Tour de l’Ain ahead of Bernal and Quintana. Jumbo-Visma won the first battle ahead of the Tour de France, as Roglic was supported until the finale while Bernal was isolated. Both Froome and Thomas absolutely have to put more sharpness into their legs if they want to win the Tour de France again.
Favourites Critérium du Dauphiné 2020
***** Egan Bernal, Primoz Roglic, Thibaut Pinot
**** Nairo Quintana, Mikel Landa, Adam Yates, Julian Alaphilippe
*** Tom Dumoulin, Miguel Ángel López, Daniel Felipe Martínez
** Steven Kruijswijk, Tadej Pogacar, Romain Bardet, Pavel Sivakov
* Geraint Thomas, Sergio Higuita, Marc Soler, Rigoberto Uran, Emanuel Buchmann