Critérium du Dauphiné: Wrap Up
Bradley Wiggins made history with his overall win in the Critérium du Dauphiné – becoming the first rider to win it, the Tour of Romandie and Paris-Nice in the one year. Will he make history in Paris in six weeks time?
The final stage saw only one thing for sure, and that was no changes to the GC with Michael Rogers (Team Sky) finishing second and Cadel Evans (BMC) third and in the green points jersey.
It also didn’t provide much excitement either except for Daniel Moreno’s win over Luis Leon Sanchez with a final kick in the last few hundred metres, and before it, a couple of last punches here and there from the likes of Evans, Wiggins, Nibali and even Rolland.
When considering Evans’ Tour de France form and chances in the light of this brief Dauphine wrap up, I think of two main issues.
The Stage 4 Time Trial was the turning point of this race. Wiggins’ blistering performance saw Evans lose 1m 43s and while Evans’s focus was not on a Dauphine overall win, he didn’t gain too much of this time back. This is interesting considering the Tour’s prologue, Stage 9’s 41.5km time trial and the 53.5km race against the clock the day before the roll into Paris.
The other issue of course is Sky’s dominance this week especially on the climbs of Stage 6. Wiggins (1st), Rogers (2nd), Froome (4th), and Porte (9th) finished in the top ten and were strongly supported by Boasson Hagen, Siutsou, Pate, and Knees. Such depth appears unbeatable even with Cavendish along for first week Tour wins.
BMC didn’t ride too badly as a team, but compared to Sky’s riches, Evans looked a bit lonely at some points this week. But Cadel isn’t panicking and BMC may also have been holding back some cards. Last year the team and Evans proved they are tactically strong, making the most of every opportunity.
Will the Tour really be the Evans vs Wiggins show? Vincenzo Nibali looked like he was using this week as a training ride and was never in much discomfort. Lotto’s Jurgen Van den Broeck while also losing valuable time in the time trial has made no secret of how much reconnaissance of the Tour time trial stages he has completed in training and may peak at the right time climbing wise and surprise. As may Braijkovic.
Schleck’s luck went against him here, let’s hope his form doesn’t, come July. There’s also those riders missing from the Dauphine who may also stop this from becoming The Ashes, for example, Gesink or Hesjedal.
We could spend days talking about the form of various riders and about who is peaking too early or not early enough, or how not too many riders have taken the Dauphine and the Tour double. But it all comes down to June 30 in Liege and the 21 stages of hard work and hauling tired bodies through cross winds, crashing nervy first week riders, 101 kilometres of time trialling, and over mountains.
While it’s good to see the riders hit out and test their form over the past eight days, there are some key stages in the three weeks of the Tour that will do some damage to even the favourites, stages 14, 16 and 17 spring quickly to mind. It will be interesting to see how lieutenants, wingmen, and captains perform and bounce back from bad days.
I can’t wait. Bring it on.
Brief recap of the Critérium du Dauphiné:
Prologue: Luke Durbridge proves his future star value. Think O’Grady and Fabian’s love child.
Stage 1: Evans’ opportunistic win doesn’t manage to hold off Wiggins for too many seconds. Schleck loses three minutes.
Stage 2: Daniel Moreno continues his Giro form and takes the stage.
Stage 3: Edvald Boasson Hagen wins. So much depth in Team Sky, Edvald said he was able to sit back behind and rest while the others worked for Brad, setting the win up for EBH.
Stage 4: Evans loses 1.43 to Wiggins.
Stage 5: Evans tries to work some magic on the Grand Colombier forcing Sky to defend and defend they do containing Evans. Vichot of FDJ wins.
Stage 6 – While Nairo Quintana (Movistar) takes the win and Evans jumps from the pack on the descent to pick up a few seconds, Sky dominate the entire stage US Postal like.
Stage 7 – Daniel Moreno picks up another win, Wiggins takes the overall.
Another highlight – 21 year old young jersey winner, and 8th place on GC Wilco Kelderman of Rabobank. Future star or worthy support for Gesink in this year’s tour?
Watch Ashes Day 2 Video Highlights - Produced by The Roar
Video produced by Riordan Lee.