2023 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 3 Preview

Monistrol-sur-Loire > Le Coteau 194km

The first, and last, bunch sprint of the week. We should have a calm day for the peloton, things won’t start to get interesting until the final 30km., which is a shame as the stage is almost 200km, the longest of the race.


Sunny and warm.

The Climb

This is the only worry for the quick men, a cat 4 climb which is long but not steep. The numbers are pulled down by the flat section, the final kilometre averages 5.4%, but all the sprinters should survive and be in the mix for the win.


The approach road is three lanes wide, lots of space for riders to move up the bunch. They do have to be careful as inside the final 5km there is some road furniture in the middle of the road. The key point in terms of positioning is the left turn with 2km to go, as the road will narrow to almost single file. Once through this corner, there’s another three in quick succession before the finishing straight which is 800m long. 


It’s unlikely we’ll see a big fight for the break, this isn’t a stage the sprint teams will get wrong. Once the break goes, everyone will wait for the final climb to see if anything happens, I don’t think it will. For me, this is a straightforward sprint stage. Sprint teams will be looking at the final 5km and plotting strategy, especially as most of them only have 2 or 3 riders for the sprint train.

I think most will be happy to let the GC teams control until 3km to go, then they’ll use the wide road to flood forward and seize control. As I’ve already pointed out, the battle is for a good position with 2km to go, if you have it, you’ll be in with a shout of the win. Those who are too far back will find it very difficult to move up the bunch due to the corners. 

As most teams have a GC focus, we only have three sprint teams at this race. It will be interesting to see who manages to control the sprint, I would guess Soudal – Quick Step, with Bora looking for a late surge.


Sam Bennett – was in the mix today but was empty when he tried to launch his sprint. Okay, he would have wanted more than an 11th place, but it’s a good sign about his climbing form. We head into this stage and Sam will be confident of going for the win, he’s got the best lead out man in this peloton. With Ryan Mullen to help in the final 3km, I think we’ll see Danny van Poppel do what he normally does and put Bennett into a great spot for the sprint. 

Dylan Groenewegen – he’s not here with his regular sprint train, only Reinders is here, which is a concern for me. They’ll have Durbridge and Craddock to try and move them up the bunch in the final 3km, but the train isn’t as strong as Bora and Soudal – Quick Step. It’s still possible Groenewegen can win, but I’m not as confident about his positioning.

Ethan Vernon – he should have Bagioli, Alaphilippe and Sénéchal to guide him in the closing kilometres, that’s an excellent sprint train. He might not have the same top-end speed as Bennett and Groenewegen, but a good lead out can get him close to those two. A win here would be the biggest of his career.

Milan Menten – he’s been sprinting well of late, but Lotto will struggle to get him into a good spot for the final kilometre.

Christophe Laporte – not really a bunch sprinter, but he’s still fast enough to challenge for the podium.

Prediction Time

It should really be a battle between Bennett and Groenewegen.

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Due to the presence of Mullen and van Poppel, I’ll take a win for Sam Bennett.