2023 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 4 Preview

Cours > Belmont-de-la-Loire 31km ITT

31km is a long time trial in a one-week stage race, it’s going to have a significant impact on the fight for the yellow jersey. There was a similar stage last year, thankfully on that day the gaps were relatively small, I wonder what will happen this time round. With 440m of climbing, this isn’t a flat TT, it’s uphill or downhill for much of the route. The climbs aren’t difficult, the gradients rarely get above 5%, but it will feel like a grind.

Weather

Roasting hot. There’s not much wind but it will be headwind.

Route

Starts with 2.3km at 4.7% and finishes with 9km at 2%. With few corners, this looks like a power course to me, but the biggest TT riders in the world aren’t here, so who’s going to win?

Contenders

Rémi Cavagna – not seen much of him this week, he’s been saving as much energy as he can for this stage. I think he’d prefer a flat TT, but as the gradients are under 5%, he should be able to fly up the hills in this route. We’re still near home, he’d love to take this stage, you can bet that friends and family will be here to cheer him on. 

Jonas Vingegaard – probably the main threat to Cavagna. The Dane is brilliant in this discipline, and the presence of the little hills makes it a good route for him. We’ve seen him on lead out duty for Laporte in the opening two stages, now it’s all about riding for himself. He’ll hope to finish the day with a stage win, yellow jersey, and a nice lead over his main rivals.

Dani Martínez – can be a little hit or miss in this discipline, but he was certainly a hit earlier in the year in the Algarve. That day he finished just 16 seconds behind Küng, 12 off Cavagna and 6 behind Ganna, which allowed him to win the GC. He’s got the pedigree to push Cavagna and Vingegaard all the way, but he needs to be on one of those days.

Matteo Jorgenson – 2nd in the Romandie ITT showed the progression he’s made in this discipline over the last year. It’s been a big focus for Matteo, he’s even spent his own money on equipment to ensure he can challenge against the best. He’ll be giving everything he has in this stage to challenge the best, not really to try and win this race, but it will show what could be possible in the future. Hopefully, he avoided injury in today’s crash.

Carlos Rodríguez – he’s another Ineos rider who’ll hope to post a good time and get a lead over several rivals. The young Spaniard was 4th in last year’s Vuelta TT over 31km, that was a good time and shows what is possible for him in a stage like this. He’s another who’ll be hoping for the podium.

Benjamin Thomas – won his last TT, that was in the 4 Days of Dunkirk over 16km. He’s good on his TT bike, but it would be a surprise if he managed to beat those already mentioned.

Nelson Oliveira – solid top 10 option, he always seems to be between 4th and 10th. I love guys like him, nothing flashy, just gets on with it. He’s another who crashed today, fingers crossed it doesn’t slow him down.

Mikkel Bjerg – I’ll keep including him in this section for every TT until he wins one! I still find it hard to believe that someone who was so good as an under 23 still hasn’t transferred that to the pros. Maybe this will be the day he’s been waiting for.

Victor Campenaerts – first race back from injury, but he seems to be going fairly well. He would normally be one of the men to beat in a TT like this, but with just a few days racing in the legs he could be a little off his best.

Adam Yates – a big moment in terms of the fight to win this race, Yates needs to limit his losses to Vingegaard and the Ineos boys. He’s become quite good in this discipline, but his comments before the race started worried me. I sense the route doesn’t favour him and he’s worried about shipping time.

Christophe Laporte – it’s too long for him. He’ll still be fighting for the top 10, but he won’t get near the podium, especially as he won’t be wearing his own skin suit.

Fred Wright – we don’t get to see him do many ITTs, but he always seems to pull off good results. His best results have normally been with the fatigue of a grand tour in his legs, but I think he could surprise in this TT. The hills are good for him, he’ll hope to finish in the top 10.

Prediction Time

One of those days where we get blown away by a skinny climber.

Embed from Getty Images

It’s a big win for Jonas Vingegaard.

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