Saturday, 8 June 2013

Criterium du Dauphine 2013: Montee de Risoul

It's a dramatic picture but will the climb to Risoul tomorrow make for a dramatic end to this years Dauphine? The answer is that I doubt it but it should make for an interesting climb if only to get a snapshot of what the wider picture will be like at the Tour in July...
In honesty, this years Dauphine has been a little flat - not in terrain but in terms of competition and excitement and much of this is down to Alberto Contador's miserable TT performance on stage 4 which left him so far off the back of Christopher Froome that they may as well have handed Froome the Winners Jersey and bottle of champagne there and then. In truth not only Contador but the likes of Valverde, Rodriguez and their respective teams have done little to get in the way of Sky's domination of the race and that's likely to remain the case to the race finish tomorrow.
The climb to Risoul is like many of the Tour alpine climbs - it's long, steady and suits those riders (and teams) who like to set a tempo, find a rhythm and control the race right to the summit. It's 13.9km in length and averages a steady 6.7% with hardly any irregular slopes or excessive gradients. The length means that if it's ridden at a hard enough pace we are likely to see a lot of riders ejected out the back door whilst any of the favourites outside of team Sky struggle to jump away in any sustained attack before they are gradually brought back.

Risoul profile
Instead of any real explosive action from the main contenders (although I have a feeling Contador will at least try any jump away quite early on just to test his legs and make a point) we are more likely to see a battle for a coveted summit stage victory and it's high on the agenda for both Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez to take at least something away from this years Dauphine. They looked busy today at points and both seemed interested in the stage win especially Rodriguez who tried to ride away on the final category three climb but it wasn't to be.
If not Valverde or Rodriguez then perhaps a breakaway could succeed - there will be one and it's likely to stay away until the start of the last slope and there are plenty of teams and riders who are yet to take anything from the race though whether any move will succeed depends on how hard Movistar and Katusha will chase. Samuel Sanchez turned the clock back on today's stage taking a hard earned victory and he looks to be on the up form wise - perhaps he will fancy another go tomorrow if of course he's recovered in time. Perhaps Richie Porte ill make the stage his after failing to catch Sanchez today and who knows, if Froome lets him he might even try for the overall - what better way to assure hard work from a valuable team member at the Tour de France by gifting him a very nice stage race title to take away for himself... 

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