Criterium du Dauphine 2015 – Stage 8 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Criterium du Dauphine 2015 – Stage 8 Preview

By David Hunter

Saint Gervais Mont Blanc – Modane Valfrejus 156.5km

dauphine8

After another day full of drama, the final stage shouldn’t be too crazy, at least for the opening 100km. Lacets de Montvernier, might only be a cat 2 climb, but it’s very important.

montvernier

The climb is important in this race, but even more important in the TDF. It features near the end of stage 18 and this is a great chance for riders to test out the climb. It’s relatively short but very hard. It should be the first point in the race, where riders are dropped and an initial selection is made. We’ll get some stunning pictures of the climb, as it rises out of the little town. There are a huge number of hairpins and a brilliant addition to any race. Take a look here.

montvernier1

valfrejus

The final climb of the day is actually one of the easier cat 1 climbs this week. The opening 3 kilometres, will allow a team to hit the climb very fast. This pace will make life very difficult for most of the peloton. When they hit the 8.6% section, we should see a lot of riders in difficulty. Kilometre 6 is the crucial point of the climb, being at 9.6%. This is where you need to make your move, if you want to win the stage. The final 1.5km is easy, so a gap here, will be enough to see you win the stage.

The profile of the stage doesn’t look great for the break. They don’t have any serious climbs to steal a large advantage and the stage is short, so it should be easy to control. However, it does depend on the attitude of the peloton. BMC have the jersey back, but we’ve seen that they aren’t very strong. If Team Sky lift the pace on Montvernier, Van Garderen, will not have many teammates left.

Team Sky really need to hold the race together, to claim bonus seconds at the end of the stage. Froome is 18 seconds behind Van Garderen, so the 10 seconds for the stage could be vital. The American has looked very strong, he’ll probably be good enough to finish in second place, giving Froome a bonus of 4 seconds. That means, he needs to put 15 seconds into Van Garderen. That won’t be easy to do, but after making him go into the red today, Froome has a big chance.

Team Sky and Froome sent everyone a big message today. I was very impressed with Ian Boswell, who has surely cemented his place in the TDF squad. I was disappointed with Nico Roche, he shouldn’t make the 9 man squad. Wout Poels was also very strong and is looking like an excellent signing. Their TDF squad is starting to take shape: Froome, Porte, Poels, Thomas, Boswell. That’s a mighty mountain train! Contador, Nibali and Quintana need to be afraid.

What about Nibali? Back to his usual self today, blowing at the very start of the final climb. He really does look horrible, outside of the TDF. As poor as he was, Louis Meintjes, was outstanding. Third place was a terrific achievement for the young man and MTN have had a great race.

Prediction Time

Sky will hold it together and the break won’t survive. Expect them to apply pressure, on Montvernier. This will greatly reduce the bunch and the fun will start at the beginning of the final climb. They’ll sprint into that and set a frightening pace. They need to grind Van Garderen into the ground. Going deep today, will have taken it out of the American and I expect to see him wilt against the power of Team Sky. Froome will explode on the 9% section, taking the win and the yellow jersey.

David Hunter

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