2022 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 7 Preview

Saint-Chaffrey > Vaujany 134.6km

The mountains are calling, and what a stage we have ahead of us. As usual in the Dauphiné, we get a little taster of what the Tour de France will offer, this year it’s a similar day to stage 12. We have the Galibier, followed by the Croix de Fer, but instead of heading to Alpe d’Huez the bunch finish in Vaujany. No Alpe d’Huez obviously makes it much easier, but oh my, this is a brutal stage.

Weather

Another beautiful day.

The Climbs

First up is the Galibier, 20.8km at 5.2%. The mountain starts after just 6km of the day, perfect for climbers out of the GC battle who want to try and make the morning break.

Next up is the Croix de Fer, another monster of a climb. This time we’re talking 28.4km at 5.2%, it’s just so bloody long!

The finish to Vaujany has been used before, Froome won here back in the day. That stage was much easier than this, and there were big gaps at the finish, don’t underestimate the severity of this climb. Overall, it’s 6.1km at 7.2%, but the first 4km averages 9%, it’s very steep at the bottom.

Tactics

All week we’ve seen teams scared of Jumbo-Visma, I don’t see anything changing in this stage, which will make it hard for the team to chase down the morning break, but not impossible. As the stage is only 134.6km, it is possible for a 7-man team to chase the break, but with so much climbing, it will test the squad to the limit.

The problem for the break is all the climbing, you must be a proper climber to win this stage, and there aren’t too many down on GC. I don’t expect to see anyone step forward to help Jumbo-Visma, the type of stage we get is up to them. They have a firm grip of the GC, Roglič and Vingegaard are the top 2 riders on GC, once you take out those who’ll suffer in this stage, with Caruso sitting 43s behind the Slovenian, and most of the others at over 1 minute. This rather peculiar race situation means we could see a few surprises tomorrow, with quite a few riders getting some freedom from the chasing Jumbo Bees. 

However, there is a bit inside of me that thinks Jumbo-Visma want to send out a message ahead of the Tour de France. The team would love to dominate this stage, chase down the break, and set Roglič up for a commanding win. It would do wonders for their confidence, and send a warning out to Pogačar, they are ready to fight for the yellow jersey. Having just 7 riders does make things difficult, but all of them can climb, so it’s about making sure the break isn’t overly strong. As I’ve already mentioned, we don’t have that many climbers out of the GC picture. I can see Padun, Tolhoek, Lafay and Storer, but normally by this stage of a race we have more riders with the ability to win a stage.

In the GC group, the cream will rise to the top, it’s that type of stage. Bahrain have two good options in Caruso and Haig, but can they really put pressure on Roglič and Vingegaard? Mas crashed the other day, that’s bound to slow him down a little. I see a day where Jumbo-Visma look to secure the yellow jersey.

Contenders

Primož Roglič – he has fond memories of the Galibier, it was the main climb the day he won his first Tour de France stage back in 2017. He’s the best in the race, I think we’ll see a statement made by him and his team.

Jonas Vingegaard – a brilliant second option for Jumbo-Visma, just in case something happens to Roglič. 

Damiano Caruso – the Italian is a serious contender for the stage, his TT indicated that his current form is very good. His performance in the 2021 Giro was outstanding, if he has similar legs he can put pressure on Jumbo-Visma. Winning will be hard, but a good performance will keep the race alive for another day.

Ben O’Connor – he’s over one minute down in Roglič, that could buy him some freedom on the final climb. We all know he’s not afraid to attack from distance, get ready for an attack with 3km to go.

Michael Storer – breakaway hopeful number 1. 

Victor Lafay – breakaway hopeful number 2.

Antwan Tolhoek – breakaway hopeful number 3.

Mark Padun – he couldn’t, could he?

Prediction Time

Given the start and the finish, this should be a good day for the breakaway. Jumbo-Visma will be keen on trying to put Roglič into a safe space on GC, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll chase the break, that will be down to Bahrain and AG2R. I’ll take a breakaway win for Michael Storer and Primož Roglič to move into yellow.

Share: