Criterium du Dauphiné Stage 7 Preview
Julian Alaphillipe won the sixth stage of the Dauphiné from the breakaway, he had a head-to-head sprint against Gregor Muhlberger from which he was the fastest. The duo set out from a long day in front with Alessandro De Marchi and they built a confortable enough of a gap to fight between themselves. De Marchi struggled a bit on the climb, and in the peloton it was a calm day, with a slow pace throughout the day followed by a climb ridden at pace aswell with no important attacks from the GC riders.
Positive: Alaphillipe got his win at last, seems to be on the right track for the Tour. Otherwise, it was an uneventful day.. no GC riders cracking, no attacks, nothing to analyse.
Negative: See above.
Stage 7 is perhaps the hardest, it's main argument is the very hard summit finish. The stage is short, only 133 kilometers long, but it doesn't mean it will be a fast one. En route to Pipay, there's a trio of first category climbs (7.7Km at 7.3%, 15.8Km at 5.5% and 10.2Km at 6%), which will make the stage a hard one but the real dificulty comes in the end.
With the final climb at the Montée de Pipay, a 19Km long climb at 6.9%, it's dificulty resembles that of some of the Tour's hardest climbs. It's long but steep at the same time, and after a hard stage it's set to cause serious damage, the only true summit finish of the race and in such conditions perhaps the most important stage.
Again the wind isn't strong at all, but at times there are pretty nasty gusts as we've seen today right before Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. In case those gusts are felt, they can come as a headwind for a solid part of the climb, and crosswind for the final kilometers.
Well what I said yesterday applies to today, a breakaway win isn't likely to happen as it's a stage where everything will be given by the strongest riders, and with no shots shot today the riders are clearly all-in for tomorrow (and well, sunday too).
Adam Yates is in the lead, Mitchelton is looking solid Haig is strong enough to take Yates in the climb until the very last kilometers. At 7 seconds there's Jakob Fuglsang, Astana are looking strong as a team aswell and the Dane can afford to ride defensively aswell and have the pressure on Yates through attacks that may come from their common rivals.
At 24 seconds is Steven Kruisjwijk, he is one that will like the long climbs in the day, much more suited than the other hard days in the race, and at 25 is Thibaut Pinot, who is sure to be one of the most agressive riders, and having a strong team to back him up, and another second after is Emanuel Buchmann, interesting to see what he can do tomorrow as he's having a breakthrough season.
Nairo Quintana and Wout Poels are both at 40 seconds, begins to be a big ask to take from some very strong riders, the Dutch isn't expected to outperform the ones ahead but Quintana should in theory feel confortable in the mountains. Porte is at 54 seconds, he isn't here to win he has no need, but it'll be a good test for the Tour to see what he can really do.
Then those that suffered in the time-trial which was expected, Dan Martin is already 1:13 away, Romain Bardet at 1:27 and Michael Woods that has been looking good at 1:43.
⭐ Kruisjkwijk, Buchmann, Porte, D.Martin, Bardet
Already manifested my confidence in him, I still believe he can take the win of the race, 25 seconds is a short gap to close in such a hard couple of stages. Confidence must be high and the team is strong enough to support him, he won in Grand Colombier, a very similar climb just weeks ago.
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