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    Racing: Criterium du Dauphine Preview

       Words by scotbAdmin

       on 02/06/2017 17:13:30

    With one month remaining before the biggest cycling event of the year, the Tour de France, riders are looking for a way to solidify some final form or to test the legs before July.

    Running Sunday 4th of June to Sunday 11th June, the route consists of 8 challenging stages dubbed the ‘mini Tour de france’ no more so than this year. With the Tours profile changing slightly, replacing the long gradual climbs with shorter, sharper climbs similar to those found in the Vuelta and the Giro d’Italia, the 2017 Criterium du Dauphine has mirrored this hoping the shorter stages and steeper climbs can light up the GC battle and add some unpredictability.

    Featuring 2 hilly days, 2 Flat springing days, one Individual TT finishing with 3 short mountain days to make the final general classification mix up.

    Use our guide to see what stage is best and who might just win the 2017 addition.

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    Stage 1

    Dubbed as an Ardennes style route, 170km with 8 classified climbs, it’s a tough start to the 8 days and a day where a lot could be decided. With the last 50km based around a hilly course in the centre of the French Town Saint-Etienne, riders will take on 3 laps of a the Cote du Rochetaillee climb offering an exciting start. Although it probably won’t decide any GC places, someone could be caught sleeping. Certainly a stage to watch.

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    Stage 2

    Dubbed as a day for the break, 171km long with a rolling profile and 4 categorised climbs the GC leaders and almost definitely need to be aware of who’s is up the road. We may find the stage being raced quickly with teams battling for control but probably won’t impact and GC standing.

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    Stage 3

    The longest stage of the 2017 Criterium du Dauphine at 184km stage 3 is the first opportunity for us to see which sprinters are on top form. With fewer big sprinting names on the start sheet due to the harder par course, is it the second tier of sprinters time to shine or will Alexander Kristoff and Nacer Bouhanni be fighting it out for the win.

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    Stage 4

    The true GC battle starts here. A 23.5km Individual Time Trial with a rolling profile could make for some considerable time gaps. Favouring the TT specific riders, the 23.5 km length may offer the climber a chance to limit their losses and thank the organisers for it not being longer. One thing is for sure, the TT is sure to determine the flow of the following four days of racing.

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    Stage 5

    The last chance to see the sprinters in action before the race enter the mountains. Flatter than stage 3 but still long at 174km the profile includes 6 classified climbs but with the majority it should give the peloton time to re-group and race into the finish.

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    Stage 6

    A gentle start may lull the peloton into a false sense of security before the first big climbing GC battle. Roughly 20km from the finish the riders hit the Mont du Chat a Haute-Corse climb. Not particularly long at 8.7km but the average gradient of 10.3% will undoubtedly put riders in difficulty with only those with good legs prospering. A monster descent back down could not only make but also break someone’s dauphine and their Tour.

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    Stage 7

    A day that seems all up hill, stage 7 is littered with 1 and 2 climbs early giving a platform for an early break to establish or for the GC battle to tested. Running into the final 40km the riders face the Col de Sarenne, again not long but brutally steep followed by a little descent before the riders tackle the last 4km of the iconic Alpe D’Huez. A day where the GC leader needs to be focused and ready to be tested all day.

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    Stage 8

    The shortest stage of the 2017 Dauphine at 115km but non-the less, it’s not going to be easy. 4 categorised climbs making for a day with riders going up or down, finishing on a HC for the last 11.3km. Again, in keeping with the rest of the weeks racing and the Tour in July, it is brutally steep with a 9.2% average gradient making a punishing final test that will either make or break the GC. Notice the short race distance, this will make the race hard with riders thinking they can go long to the finish and may keep the GC battle open right to the final KM.

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    Top Contenders

    With Nairo Quintana and Tom Dumoulin both resting after their exploits at this years Giro D’italia the GC battle could be seen as more open, and a last chance saloon before the Tour in July.

    Here are our top 4 contenders, outsiders and our prediction for the win.

    Chris Froome

    Is the brit in his top form? It’s been questioned a lot this season with many sighting that he’s not been quite at the form he should be. Froomey knows how to build form for events like the Dauphine and more importantly the Tour. Every time Froome has race the Dauphine and won, he has gone on to win the Tour in July, can he pull it out of the bag when it matters the most.

    Richie Porte

    Previously playing second fiddle to Chris Froome for the past few years, Porte never quite got the chance to shine. However joining BMC last year gave him the confidence and support he needed and he has prospered showing fantastic form early on at the Tour Down Under. He has always been constant at weeklong stage races and we are excited to see just how well he’s going.

    Alejandro Valverde

    At 37 he’s coming towards the end of his career but is undoubtedly in the form of his life. Showing excellent condition in the Ardennes classics his punchy style should suite the steeper gradients. With Quintana away could this be Valvarde’s time to shine at the Dauphine and the Tour giving him the chance to snatch the Movistar leadership off the young Colombian.

    Alberto Contador

    Is he racing in 2017 or not? Few were certain of the exact direct Contador would take and is certainly on the slight downwards trend regarding his results. Never the less, he should never be underestimated, he still sees himself at the top and can certainly snatch a win if the other contenders are scared to go too deep before the tour.

    contenders

    Our Podium

    1st Chris Froome

    2nd Richie Porte

    3rd Alejandro Valverde

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