2023 Critérium du Dauphiné Overall Preview

With the Giro now a distant memory the peloton head to France and the 75th edition of the Dauphiné, always a vital part of Tour de France preparation. All the GC riders are back from altitude training, the level will be very high.

Stage 1

3000m of climbing in under 160km, this is a tough opening stage. It ends with three laps of a hilly circuit; this is a day with little flat. Sprinters will hope to survive, but that won’t be easy, and the breakaway riders will also sniff a chance of winning a stage and taking the yellow jersey.

Scenario – could be a breakaway, but it’s likely to be a reduced bunch sprint.

Stage 2

A little bit easier for the sprinters but they’ll still need to be climbing well to win the stage. The main issue is 1km at 8% with 10km to go, but sprinters these days climb so well that they’ll be confident of surviving. 

Scenario – reduced bunch sprint.

Stage 3

The only nailed-on sprint stage.  The final climb isn’t hard enough to drop the quick men, and this is their last chance of the week.

Scenario – big sprint.

Stage 4

With 439m of climbing in this 31km ITT, it’s not an easy day for the riders. The gradients are never that steep, but as the final 9km is basically uphill, pacing the effort Is going to be very important. Given the distance, this stage will have a massive impact on the fight for the yellow jersey.

Stage 5

This is the classic stage which starts to transition the race from the flat to the hills. The cat 2 climb at the end is around 3km at 9.3%, which is GC rider territory, but they’ll also be a few puncheurs in the mix.

Scenario – sprint from a small group.

Stage 6

A tricky final 30km, but we’re not quite in GC territory yet. It’s another day for puncheurs, but the breakaway will have an interest.

Scenario – solo winner after a late attack.

Stage 7

The first of two GC days, this stage contains Col de la Madeleine (25.2km at 6.2%), Col du Mollard (17.2km at 5.2%) and Col de la Croix de Fer (13.2km at 6%), it’s a big day in the saddle.

Scenario – GC day, but relatively small gaps.

Stage 8 

The climb at the start will get the breakaway riders interest, this is a day where a big break could take the win. The main climbs are Col du Granier (9.7km at 8.6%), Col de Porte (8.2km at 6.2%) and the brutally hard finishing climb, La Bastille (1.5km at 15.3%). As this climb is so hard, we could see a negative stage with everyone waiting for the final effort.

Scenario – breakaway day.


Jonas Vingegaard – he was brilliant here last year; I wonder if Jumbo-Visma have managed to squeeze out an extra percent or two out of him. He destroyed the field in the Basque Country, he’ll see this is a chance to lay down a big marker before the Tour de France. Looking at his team, the main climbing work will be carried out by Benoot, Valter and Kruijswijk, remember he was also amazing here last year. The TT is good for him, he’s the best in that discipline of the main contenders, and I think we all expect him to fly in the mountains.

Enric Mas – as usual, his season has been a slow build up. His results have been just fine, but nowhere near the level he was at towards the end of last season. Cast your mind back to the end of the Vuelta and the Italian Autumn Classics, he was one of the best in the world. Mas has done the Dauphine, Tour, and Vuelta for the last 3 years, he’s never gone well in this race. Maybe this year…

David Gaudu – brilliant in Paris-Nice, good in the Basque Country but illness ruined the Ardennes. The TT would normally be his undoing, making it impossible for him to challenge for the win, and I don’t see it being different this time round. He could win a stage and will hope to challenge for the GC podium.

Dani Martínez – it’s contract season for him, the pressure is on. In all likelihood, he’ll already have signed his next deal, but will he be staying with Ineos? His time at Ineos has been good, but not great, the highlight was being a domestique for Bernal in the Giro, but I think he’ll stay. Looking at this race, the TT will allow him to put time into most of his rivals, giving him a fighting chance of challenging for the podium.

Ben O’Connor – so far, it’s not been his season, there’s been a lot of injury and illness. After a period of solid training, he should now be back to his best. He was 3rd last year; a similar result would be a huge boost before the Tour.

Richard Carapaz – took his first win for EF on Tuesday, a solid win in the Mercan’Tour. Some might look at that and say he couldn’t shake Gall until the end, but I think that’s a negative way to view life. The win will have helped give him a confidence boost; he goes into this race as one of the men to beat. I’m worried about the TT, but he should go well in the mountains.

Mikel Landa – this is his best season in a long time, it’s great to see him fighting for wins. Obviously, the TT is going to hurt his overall chances, he’s another who’ll be shooting for a stage win.

Jai Hindley – if you’d never seen a Giro, you’d be excused for thinking Hindley was an average rider, but he’s not. Last year’s Giro was huge, many said he only did well in 2020 as it was the COVID edition with a weaker start list. There will also be the naysayers that point say he “only” beat Carapaz last year, that is hugely disrespectful and shouldn’t even be entertained. What I would say, to be considered one of the best in the world, Hindley needs to land a big result in either the Dauphiné and/or Tour de France. This year has been nothing to write home about, but it’s all about the next 7 weeks.

Adam Yates – took an excellent win in Romandie, he’s another who’ll arrive here with some confidence. His TT is much better than it used to be, he’ll hope to limit his losses to Vingegaard, it would be good for the race if someone was close to the Dane heading into the mountains. Yates is a contender for the win, but he might have to settle for the podium.

Giulio Ciccone – he’s had a great season; it was such a shame he had to miss the Giro due to COVID. I have no idea how his recovery has been, if 100%, he’ll be in the mix for a stage win and top 10 on GC.

Matteo Jorgenson – after enjoying an incredible first half of the season, I’m excited to see what he can do in the second half. A stage win and overall title in Oman was a brilliant start, which was followed up by 8th in Paris-Nice (mainly due to a poor TTT), before he headed to the classics. Over in Belgium he finished 4th in E3 and 9th in Flanders, cementing his rise to the top of the sport. Then it was back to stage racing with Tour de Romandie, where he rode a brilliant race and finished 2nd on GC, no wonder just about every team tried to sign him. His destination for 2024 hasn’t been announced yet, reports in the media won’t be far off, but there’s still plenty of racing before that point. However, internal politics could well kick in for the rest of the season, now that Movistar know he won’t be around next year. Take this race for example, Movistar will have Enric Mas as their protected rider, it’s highly likely that Matteo will be on domestique duties, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he can’t post a good GC result, but it won’t be as good as previous races.

Prediction Time

The TT will create big gaps, and then stages 7 and 8 will determine the winner.

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It’s got to be a win for Jonas Vingegaard