Critérium du Dauphiné 2017 Stage 8 Preview; Albertville -> Plateau de Solaison

Today’s Recap

So as you may have gathered, I didn’t manage to get a preview completed yesterday in between the 2 hours of me getting up and going to work , so yeah, apologies etc!

It turned out to be a day for the breakaway, like I thought it might, and in the end Kennaugh took a strong win ahead of former team-mate Swift.

DB9yvH6WAAA5GWq

Herrada held onto an attacking Bardet and outsprinted the Frenchman to nab third place on the day.

Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 19.15.25

Maybe I should blog less often?!

Behind, Porte looked imperious with only Fuglsang able to hold onto the wheel of the Australia, with Froome coming off worst out of the GC contenders. It means that Porte has a minute buffer over the Brit going into the final stage tomorrow and you would expect that to be enough to hold on for title.

Let’s have a look at what’s in store for them.

The Route

A short and intense day to end the race!

Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 19.20.11

The road rises from the gun with a tricky, uncategorised climb before flattening out and rising almost all the way until the first summit of the day. I expect a lot of riders to be on rollers!

The opening three climbs aren’t too difficult in terms of average gradient but with them coming in quick succession we might see a few riders who are on a bad day struggle.

With 35km to go the riders will crest the penultimate climb and face a 15km descent before hitting the valley roads that see them travel to the foot slopes of the Plateau de Solaison.  The “easy” gradients on the earlier climbs are certainly made up for here!

Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 19.22.03

11.3km at 9.2% it’s another brute of a climb for the riders to deal with! Thankfully for some, the gradient does ease a little by the top down to a measly 7% roughly…

Will we see a solo winner again?

How will the stage pan out?

It’s a really tough stage to call as we could see some early GC fireworks but there is also the possibility the break makes it all the way.

With Porte having such a big lead and looking so strong, I’m not sure how willing other riders will be to spend a lot of energy early on to animate the race only for the Australian to be able to follow everything easily. Furthermore, BMC have looked strong so far and have been able to hold everything together reasonably well and I would expect a similar performance from them tomorrow.

It also all depends on where the breakaway goes and who’s represented. I think we’ll see it get up the road on the first categorised climb so it should be filled with strong climbers who are capable of winning the stage. If no GC rider has sneaked their way in and enough teams are represented then I think it can go all the way.

So time for everyone’s favourite game again…

imageedit_14_4543960943

Candidates

A few darts to be thrown here…

Jack Haig.

The young Austrailian has been very consistent so far this Dauphiné and finds himself sitting 26th on GC, almost 10 minutes down on his compatriot. With Yates and Chaves underperforming, Orica will no doubt be looking towards the breakaway for success. Could Haig take a memorable win?

Serge Pauwels.

pauwels-wins-2-630x420

The winner of the Tour de Yorkshire this year, the Belgian always seems to find himself in a breakaway at some point during a week-long stage race. He’s not been in one so far, but that could well change tomorrow! Having been so close to a win at the Tour last year (on the farcical Alpe d’Huez stage) coming up against a flying De Gendt, he has proven that he can climb exceptionally well. In the right move he has every chance.

Michal Kwiatkowski.

After his early season return to form, the Pole but in a great shift for Froome today, pacing the GC group. Is he eyeing up a spot in their Tour mountain train?! With Froome suffering, I think we could see Kwiatkowski “set-free” like Kennaugh was and to chase his own personal glory. Clearly going well, I have him as my favourite for the stage. He just has to make the break first…

Richard Carapaz.

I like to throw an obscure name into these every so often, but the Ecuadorian is a rider you will be hearing a lot about over the next few years. Extremely talented, he picked up a second place behind Yates (Adam) and ahead of Uran at the GP Industria earlier in the year. Since then, he has gone on to pick up two top-10s on GC at 2.1 races. Not bad for a first season in Europe and in the pro peloton! I’m not sure how he’ll fare over the longer climbs but I am keen to watch on with interest!

Prediction

As I said above, if Kwiatkowski makes the move, then I can’t see many riders beating him. Sky to go back to back!

20175953-356986-800x533

Betting

Tweeted this out before…

Screen Shot 2017-06-10 at 20.21.57

I think they’re still both value at 66/1 and 80/1 respectively so would still recommend it.

 

Thanks as always for reading and as usual any feedback is greatly appreciated! Who do you think will win tomorrow? Will it be another GC showdown or will the break have its day again?

I’ve decided I won’t be doing daily previews for Tour de Suisse but I’ll still be tweeting out some stage picks so give me a follow if you don’t already. There are others who will be doing daily previews so check out @insidethepeloton96 and @cyclingmole for those!

I shall be back for the British national champs (men and women) and if I get bored, then maybe a .1 or .HC race in-between somewhere. Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.

 

TDF Stage 19 Preview: Albertville -> Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc

Today’s Recap

Should have just stuck to that Twitter preview then!

Froome rode the classic negative split tactic, clawing back time on his rivals, and smashing them by the end. A comfortable 21 second win over Dumoulin once the dust settled. That’s the Tour well and truly over, but I think we all know that its been over for a while.

WATSON_00004681-021-630x425

Aru, Porte and Bardet all recorded very good times, coming home within a minute of the Brit. They all look to be going in the right direction heading into the next two stages.

Poels and Kelderman went for club runs today, but were not as slow as TVG who seemed to crawl round the course.

Onto tomorrow’s mountain top finish.

The Route

A short sharp, tough day out in the saddle.

Stage-1464948970

Another stage where a fast start is inevitable. The Collet de Tamié isn’t even categorised but it’s a tough climb; 8.1km at 7%. I’d give it a Cat-2 ranking, Cat-3 at worst.

The sprint point comes not long after the climb, and although Sagan has the Green Jersey competition wrapped up, I would not be surprised to see him try to join the break. Just for fun!

The next 50km are dominated by periods of flat broken up by one mountain, the Col de la Forclaz, but by two seperate passages of it. The first comes in at 9.8km with an average gradient 6.9%, with the latter being a shorter sharper incline (5.6km at 7.8%). After the second passage, the riders are soon onto the toughest test of the day.

Stage-1464965730

It starts off tough and gets tougher, with the second half averaging over 9%. We might see some GC fireworks here, but with the way Sky have been riding then I can’t see it.

The route then tackles a long descent, broken up by a false flat drag, before the start the final ascent of the day.

Stage-1464965912.jpeg

A testy climb, it’s toughest section comes right at the start. Riders could be distanced here if the pace has been high on the previous climbs. We then get a section of “calm” with gradients of around 4% before it kicks back up in irregular sections all the way to the line. This will definitely cause some damage in the GC group, but will they be fighting for the stage? That is the question.

There is a risk of rain at some point throughout the stage, but who really trusts weathermen these days?!

How will the stage pan out?

Froome’s dominance today means that the GC battle for first place is well and truly over. The battle for the podium is getting even more exciting though! Will those who looked strong (other than Froome) today keep it together for a GC showdown on the final mountain. That would require BMC/Astana/AG2R to keep it together. The first two could manage it but the way Froome is riding, they could end up losing the stage to him. A lot of effort and risk for a chance of it all going up in the air. I don’t think they’ll do that. Froome himself already has two stage wins so he won’t be as concerned with getting a third. Therefore Sky won’t chase hard, they’ll just ride tempo. Sky will let a break get away as early as they can so that Rowe and Stannard can control the race.

So as we’ve seen often in this Tour, I think it will be a break that makes it to the finish line.

break1

With the incredibly hard start to the stage it will only be the strong riders who get away. The stage does have the potential for some of the GC teams to try to get a rider who is in contention for a top 5/10 away in it, however, with Sky’s strength it’s almost a pointless move. I don’t think they’ll bother that early on. Instead, they’ll look to get teammates in the break and maybe try something on the last two climbs of the day. Look for a couple of representatives from a few of the big teams. However, the break might have a large advantage by that point, I think it will, so those riders in turn will hunt for stages.

Candidates

Like my other previews, I’ll highlight 3 riders that I don’t think many others will mention that could give it a go if circumstances are right.

Mikel Nieve.

DV2229002_20160520172554-kAzD-U401927886792dRC-992x558@LaVanguardia-Web

I’ve said this countless times before, I hope Sky send someone in the break tomorrow. It would endear them to the general cycling public that they’re all not “robotic” etc., plus getting someone in the break and to go for the stage win shows that they want to reward their domestiques by giving them their own opportunities. Froome has the race sewn up, he only needs a few strong guys with him. Poels is strongest so will stay with Froome, while Thomas and Henao are maybe just too close on GC. They’ll need Rowe, Stannard and Kiry to control the early stage. Landa hasn’t looked great. Process of elimination leaves the Spaniard. He’s shown at the Giro earlier this year that he goes very well in the final week and can pull off some great performances. If he does get in the move then he’ll be a serious threat as well because he’s evidently on great form being the 2nd last man for Froome over the past few stages.

Steve Cummings.

Tirreno Adriatico cycling race

The Brit has had a very solid Tour so far, taking a memorable stage earlier on in the race. Since then he’s been fairly quiet, doing a lot of work for Cavendish and EBH. He did a monster turn on the front the day the stage finished into Berne. The form is clearly still there. If he’s targeted this stage then we could be in for a treat! The steep gradients might not suit him down to the ground but he’ll definitely give 100%.

Simon Geschke.

&NCS_modified=20150722182816&MaxW=640&imageVersion=default&AR-150729636

A bit of a left-field pick this one, but he did win an excellent mountain stage last year at the Tour. This stage could be too much for him, especially as he’s not done anything all year really. However, if he manages to get into the break and it splits up, then he could cause a surprise! He will enjoy some of the steep gradients, that’s for sure.

For other candidates look towards the likes of Nibali, Rosa, Zakarin, Majka, Kelderman, Barguil, Rolland et al.

Prediction

More out of hope than anything else, Sky put someone in the break tomorrow, and that man goes on to win the stage. A memorable win for Nieve, who will build on Sky’s already remarkable Tour!

Behind, we’ll see a GC battle. Froome and Poels will mark any attacks, but we might see a reshuffling of the top 10. Bardet/Porte/Aru all seem on an upwards trajectory.

Betting

All these prices are quite early on, hunt around later for better prices.

Nieve 0.45pt EW @ 150/1 with PP/Betfair (I’d take 100/1)

Cummings 0.2pt EW @100/1 with Betfair

Geschke 0.1pt EW @300/1 with various bookmakers.

 

Hope you enjoyed the preview! How do you think the stage will pan out? Is it a case of another race on two fronts, or will the GC guys take stage glory? As usual any feedback is greatly appreciated, thanks for all your kind words so far, it means a lot. 🙂 Anyway,

Those were My Two Spokes Worth.