2023 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 2 Preview

Brassac-les-Mines > La Chaise-Dieu 167km

Stage 2 looks a lot like stage 1, the riders head out on a loop and come back to the finish town for a lap circuit, this time it’s twice round. This stage is 10km longer and has 150m less climbing, the numbers suggest it’s a little bit easier and I agree, but it’s still hard for the pure sprinters. The heavier sprinters will have to hang tough, especially on the cat 4 climb, this is a day they’ll hope to be at the finish, not a day they expect to.


Lots of sunshine and temperatures will be around 20 degrees, but there is a chance of a shower or two in the second half of the stage.

Lap Circuit

The problem for the sprinters is the final 11km of the circuit. There’s the categorised climb which is 1km at 8%, and then the final 4.8km of the stage averages 3%, it’s a grippy finish. Sprinters who survive could find nothing left in the tank for the sprint.


Which teams want to control the break? Who will push the pace on the climbs? I think both Jayco and Bora will be happy to take care of the break, it will also send out a message that they’re confident in the hopes of Groenewegen and Bennett, even if deep down they are concerned about their chances.

Today’s win for Jumbo-Visma will have an impact on this stage, I don’t think there’s a big need for the team to go hard the whole day, they can save it all for the final categorised climb. They need help from other teams to pull the breakaway back, there’s no point upsetting that alliance by going too fast too soon. Instead, they need to hold back and work with the others to kill the break, then hit it hard. It might not be enough to drop all the sprinters, but Laporte is fast enough on this type of finish to hold his own.

A late attack is an interesting option for some, it’s all to do with how many domestiques are left. Going too early is bad news, waiting too long would also be a mistake, timing the attack well is a thing of beauty.


Sam Bennett – a good Sam Bennett wins this stage, but is he currently a good Sam Bennett? Sam has always been able to hold his own on the climbs, I remember his first pro win, all the way back in 2013. That was in the Tour of Britain, and he won a reduced sprint in a stage that featured two ascents of Caerphilly Mountain in the final 15km of the stage. After going very well at last year’s Vuelta, Sam would have hoped for a flying season, but it’s not worked out yet. His results have been okay, but he’ll want more than that. I see this stage as a big chance for him to take a win.

Danny van Poppel – Bora have a great plan B if it doesn’t work out for Bennett. Van Poppel took a recent win in Rund um Köln, the form is good. He’ll be working for Bennett, but if he starts to slide, van Poppel will get the nod. The problem is switching roles at the last second is very difficult, especially as van Poppel will have used up some energy helping to position Bennett.

Ethan Vernon – he’ll fancy this one. He should have a brilliant lead out with Alaphilippe and Bagioli in the mix, that gives him a wonderful chance of taking the biggest win in his fledging career. He was dropped today, but the length of the hills in this stage are much better for him. He needs to start the final categorised climb right at the front of the bunch, that will give him some valuable sliding room, then he can see if he’s got anything left in his legs for the final sprint. 

Christophe Laporte – took a brilliant win today, it was great to see Vingegaard pull for him in the last kilometre. Some will tell you it was a sign of team weakness, I think the opposite, it’s a sign of the unity within the squad. To have your team leader work for a stage win is huge, Laporte will return the favour and some more over the next 7 weeks. As I’ve already said, Jumbo-Visma don’t need to go daft in this stage, they can smash the last climb and see if they can put Bennett and Groenewegen into difficulty, the bumps in the final 3km are very good for Laporte. He’s likely to go up against some guys who are faster than him on paper, but races aren’t ridden on paper.

Milan Menten – enjoying a fine season, he’s been a good signing for Lotto Dstny. He’s got a fast sprint but prefers a tough day rather than a full bunch sprint, so this is a good stage for him. Positioning could be a problem; his team aren’t always the best at getting him into the right spot for the sprint. Hopefully we see the team get fully behind him, Sweeny, Van Moer and Van Gils can get Milan to the front of the race for the final kilometre, then we’ll see if he’s got the legs to take his first world tour win.

Axel Zingle – does he want to go risky and attack in the final 3km? If he waits for the sprint he won’t win, but he would finish in the top 10. Hopefully he’s in a risky mood.

Dylan Groenewegen – too hard for him. Even if he survives the cat 4 climb, he’ll have no legs in the final 2km. 

Prediction Time

The safe pick is Laporte as he’s certain to be there at the end of the stage, but my gut says something different. 

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I don’t think this stage will be as selective as the first one. I’ll take a big win for Ethan Vernon.