[Underneath text was written before the start of the Critérium du Dauphiné and has not been updated]
Riding for Team Sky and winning the Critérium du Dauphiné used to be solid indicators of your chances to win the Tour de France. Bradley Wiggins (2012), Chris Froome (2013, 2015, 2016) and Geraint Thomas (2018) all were victorious in the Dauphiné before racing to eternal glory in La Grande Boucle. Since the demise of Team Sky things have changed. The most recent Dauphiné winners, Jakob Fuglsang, Daniel Felipe Martínez, Richie Porte and Primoz Roglic, bucked the trend.
On the other hand, Jonas Vingegaard finished in second last year and, arguably, he held back on the final climb to guide his then leader Roglic to the overall victory. Roglic crashed out of the Tour the following month and Vingegaard filled his shoes in excellent fashion to win the biggest race on the planet.
Concerning the 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné, the first time gaps are expected to open up in the ITT on the fourth day of action. But the GC action is expected to rage big time in the high altitude stages of Saturday and Sunday.
The penultimate stage takes in two giants – Col du Madeleine (25.1 kilometres at 6.2%) and Col du Mollard (18.5 kilometres at 5.8%) – before finishing at the Col de la Croix de Fer. The finish climb is 13.1 kilometres long and averaging 6,2%, while the second part is harder than that statistic suggests. It rises at almost 8% to the line.
The route on the final day is going either up or down from start to finish. Three climbs within 40 kilometres are expected to be crucial – Col du Granier (9.6 kilometres at 8.6%), Col du Cucheron (7.7 kilometres at 6.2%) and Col de Porte (7.4 kilometres at 6.8%). The riders then plunge down to Grenoble to tackle the short and steep climb to the line in La Bastille. It’s a sheer wall – 1.8 kilometres at 14.2%.
The only participants who triumphed in a stage race this season are Jonas Vingegaard en Adam Yates. The Tour de France Champion won the Tour of the Basque Country, Yates turned out on top in the Tour of Romandie.
Favourites Critérium du Dauphiné 2023
**** Jonas Vingegaard, Adam Yates
*** David Gaudu, Richard Carapaz, Jai Hindley
** Carlos Rodriguez, Giulio Ciccone, Mikel Landa
* Egan Bernal, Esteban Chaves, Enric Mas, Ben O’Connor