Critérium du Dauphiné 2016 – Stage 3 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Critérium du Dauphiné 2016 – Stage 3 Preview

By David Hunter

Boen sur Lignon – Tournon sur Rhone 187.5km

The peloton head past Saint Etienne, a city where I have enjoyed many a drink!

daup 3a

Beware the little kicker, as the Aussies would say.

daup 3

This stage is all about the cat 2 climb that appears 20km from the finish.

daup 3b

2.9km at 8.2%, with a kilometre at 13.9%. Goodbye sprinters! This is simply to hard for the quick men and they will look to save their energy for stage 4. Not only is the climb tough, but it continues to rise after the KOM point. The puncheurs will again be licking their lips. Bouhanni has spoken about hoping to survive the climb, but I just can’t see it.

The Finish

daup 3c

Who was the idiot that thought it would be a good idea to put a roundabout in, with just 300m to go!? Insane planning. It’s even on a downhill run, so the peloton will be going very fast. A daredevil could surprise and steal the victory.


It should be an easy day, until the final climb. At that point, expect plenty of attacks. It is steep enough for riders to get away from the peloton and force a team into chasing. With plenty of fast finishing puncheurs, there should be no shortage of teams wanting to work.

The peloton will be significantly reduced, as we approach the last couple of kilometres. That means a well timed attack, could secure victory. Steve Cummings is the master of such attack, already taking two wins this season.

The bunch will be hoping that the GC teams work and set up a sprint finish. It’s another interesting finish.

Breakaway Hopes

Despite big gaps, the morning break doesn’t have a great chance. With so many riders capable of winning the stage, it should be altogether approaching the last climb. The late breakaway does stand a good chance of holding out to the end. It’s a stage where many things can and will happen.


Should be a nice day, but there is a risk of a thunderstorm. Seems to be the same forecast all week!


Edvald Boasson Hagen – should survive the climb well, but will need his team to control the finale. This will not be easy. If it does come back together, he is one of the fastest here.

Greg van Avermaet – climbed very well today, so this won’t worry him. It will be interesting to see how GVA plays this stage. I don’t think he’ll wait for a sprint, but when will he attack?

Julian Alaphilippe – today’s performance was not great. He isn’t the fastest finisher compared to the others, so he’ll need to attack early. Etixx will go for it, just like today.

Simon Gerrans – would expect Gerro to wait for the sprint. The last corner is perfect for him and Impey to smash to the front and sprint home. We have seen this move many times and I wouldn’t be surprised if Orica have done their homework for this stage. Controlling the closing kilometres will not be easy, but this is a terrific stage for the Aussies.

Enrico Gasparotto – was poor today, surprisingly so. Really shouldn’t be dropped on this climb, but he’ll struggle against some of the others in a sprint.

The Late Break

Steve Cummings – the master of the late attack. Can play the, “I’m working for EBH card”, which he has used to good effect in the past. As he gets more and more successful, it does becomes harder to sneak away. The peloton should be wise to the move by now.

Tony Gallopin – a very attacking rider, who is good at sniffing out stage wins. Will have some freedom and does perform well on home soil. Was very close today and will still have hopes of making the top step of the podium.

Tommy Voeckler – fresh from a sensational win in the Tour of York, Tommy V, should be flying. I think he’ll attack early, too early.

Jan Bakelants – another rider who isn’t afraid of attacking from distance. Copes well with steep gradients, so the climb will not trouble him. AG2R would love a victory on home soil and Bakelants represents a big chance for them.

Alexis Vuillermoz – his late crash today cost him quite a lot of time, but will give him freedom. The climb is brilliant for him and he has a fast finish. Losing time might actually be a good thing for him.

Prediction Time

Expect some GC attacks on the climb, they looked lively today. Sky seem set on making Tinkoff work, so Henao will again be on the attack. He will be chased down, but that will allow others to try and make the move. I don’t see it coming back together, I think Vuillermoz will be the lucky man!


David Hunter

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