Criterium du Dauphine Stage 2: Live blog, updates
Join us for live coverage of the second stage of Critérium du Dauphiné. Live blogging will begin at 11:00PM AEST, with comments added throughout the stage.
The race is certainly shaping up as an exciting one, as teams with Tour de France goals are using this week to tune up for the month of July. After taking an exciting win in stage one, BMC’s Cadel Evans talked to French television and said that the team was using CDD to work on tactics and communication leading up to the tour.
So far it seems to be working for them as the Australian, former world champion and last year’s TdF winner, took the win in an impressive fashion.
It is also no secret that Bradley Wiggins of Sky has his hopes set high for the Tour, perhaps becoming the first Brit to ever win it. Only a second separating the two men after stage one, Cirtérium du Dauphiné will be a great opportunity for the two to size each other up for the month of July.
The 160km stage from Lamastre to Saint-Félicien is anything but simple, with five categorised climbs: three category 2 climbs, a category 3 and a category 4, with the final kilometers toward the finish also being uphill.
This will be a chance for the climbers to test their legs (they’ll really need them in stages five and six) and the finish is well suited for a late attack.
I doubt Evans will attack late in the stage as he did today. With only one second separating him and Wiggins, he will likely mark the leader and respond to any attacks threatening his GC position.
However, one man on BMC loves attacking late and staying away to the finish, and that’s Phillippe Gilbert. He hasn’t quite been on form this year, as compared to last, but I would look for him to make a move late in the stage, if for no other reason than to test his form.
Another man to watch in the mountains is Europcar’s Pierre Rolland, winner on Alpe d’Huez in last year’s Tour de France. It remains to be seen whether he’ll have to shepherd the team leader Thomas Voeckler, or if he’ll have free reign to attack on climbs and perhaps go for the win himself.
The two question marks for tomorrow are Samuel Sanchez of Euskaltel-Euskadi and Toni Martin of Omega Pharma-Quickstep, both crashing today and sustaining minor injuries. However, the latest news is that they will try to start tomorrow. We shall see.
At some point in the race, Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas will have to make a move and see what he has against Evans and Wiggins, as he also has high hopes for the Tour. I just don’ t think it will be tomorrow. He may wait until stages five and six, when the riders will face the hardest climbs of the CDD.
Judging by how Andy Schleck of Radioshack-Nissan rode, he’s unlikely to be making a move on stage two and will probably save himself for later in the race as well. While he was off the back quite a bit today, he never seemed in much difficulty, and it raises questions as to the team’s strategy overall going into this week.
My pick for stage two: Gilbert.