Criterium du Dauphiné Stage 1 Preview
Stage 1 is one for the sprinters, the first yellow jersey should be one of the fast men and there are several choices between them, it isn't a flat stage but the climbs come somewhat far from the finish, a suited day for the break but there are several sprinter teams that will be able to resist and chase. There is of course a chance the breakaway makes it, but it will need a strong group and cohesion, and a lot will depend on how the stage is ridden.
The weather may have a role though, not strong but there's forecast of rain, it can make for more trecherous racing and a bigger chance of a breakaway succeeding, an overall harder stage.
Still there are sprinters that can't be counted off. There's a solid chance that a modest breakaway escapes before the first climb of the day, that won't push the teams into forcing the pace in the climbs which can make for the fast men to survive the climbs. Sonny Colbrelli is definetely the type of sprinter that would survive it, and riders like Sam Bennett, but mainly Edvald Boasson Hagen and Davide Ballerini can definetely be there.
What can nulify the breakaways is the sheer amount of puncheurs in the race, Deceuninck have Julian Alaphillipe, Zdenek Stybar and Phillipe Gilbert, and there's a good chance they will try something tomorrow. Dylan Teuns, Alexey Lutsenko, Bjorg Lambrecht, Daryl Impey, Michal Kwiatkowski and Gianni Moscon, and finally Alberto Bettiol and Simon Clarke. These are just some of the riders who really fancy the short climbs, and between these there will surely be teams looking to chase the breakaway, if they attack the climbs or not is a different subject but they have chances of taking the stage.
I won't mention the climbers, despite being a hard day they will be figuring out what legs they have, and it's very unlikely to see them on the attack as there's also no-one who is entering the race with known superior form.
As for a breakaway it's obviously not easy to guess who will be there, lots of interests and tactics are behind it, there are some that fit into the scheme, Sander Armée, Alexis Gougeard, Hugo Houle, Alessandro De Marchi and Nicolas Edet are some of the headliners of those that might be in it, there are stronger riders but these are riders that are strong enough to win the stage and at the same time aren't the kind of rider that is marked and will be chased, so in case of getting away they are names to remember.
Either ways it's a dificult stage to predict, I think after the first climb it will be more clear, but until then there's a lot that can happen and whoever is in the break is vital to know what will be happening throughout the stage.
⭐ Boasson Hagen, Stybar, Lutsenko, Impey, De Marchi, Edet
I'm going with Davide Ballerini. It's a hard choice, he's a puncheur/sprinter ideal for this type of riding, he can climb very well too as I found in his California ride which was amazing to say the least. He has been very agressive this season so I wouldn't be surprised if he tried to get in the breakaway aswell.
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