The World champion stood his ground, taking the win in the fourth stage of the race with some difficulty as Wout van Aert came very close to taking another win. The Italian was the fastest out on course, whilst van Aert extended his lead but came home third, once again just in front of Ethan Hayter who completed the podium.
Positive: Ganna taking the win, Roglic and Vingegaard as expected taking large benefits from the time-trial.
Negative: Brandon McNulty but mostly UAE mechanic having a horrible decision with an early mechanical, losing a lot of time where the American could thrive.
Fifth day of racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné and it is once again a hard one to manage. A day for the sprinters on paper but with some complicated points in which they can be severely damaged. The first third of the stage features some hilltops where the breakaway is likely to form itself, but luckily for some it won’t get harder in the last two thirds.
The second third of the stage is rather simple with no feature to mention. The final section of the stage however will have the riders racing in rolling roads which will likely be the stage for some attacks.
24.5Km (2.6Km; 4.2%) and 13.5Km (1.8Km; 5.6%) see two categorized ascents where attacks are likely to come in a bid to take the stage win. The gradients won’t be too hard for those who can climb, but the terrain afterwards also isn’t easy to get an organized and powerful chase on.
As for the finale it’s quite simple if the peloton arrives to battle for it. Normal width roads, no real technical aspects and no uphill gradients that could benefit some.
Small chance of rain, however the meaningful aspect of the day will be a modest wind coming from the northwest. Echelons shouldn’t really be on the table, however this can help a breakaway quite a lot in the finale specially if there is once again a miscalculation from the peloton.
Breakaway chances: 20%
They exist. There has already been a breakaway win on a similar day so it’s very much within the realm of possibility. Not many teams will commit – although INEOS and Jumbo-Visma have the responsibility of doing so – fully to a chase and the late tailwind may make it very difficult to close out a gap towards the finale.
Wout van Aert – He is the fastest sprinter between those who can climb, and like the first two sprint stages he will be the man to beat. Will Jumbo-Visma commit their resources into controlling the breakaway though? I would think yes, but you never know, things have not worked in the last opportunity.
Ethan Hayter – Hayter is a strong sprinter but van Aert is a superior version of the Briton. INEOS have cards to play, but first and foremost they need to reel in the escapees. Whilst Hayter can sprint, riders like Filippo Ganna and Michal Kwiatkowski would also be good options for late attacks.
This will be another day where the profile isn’t overly hard, but the slightest of pace in the climbs is clearly a big issue for Dylan Groenewegen. He still remains the fastest pure sprinter in the race, but his chances of contesting the stage are very low. Juan Sebastián Molano may be able to resist a bit better and can have a chance if the stars align. Jordi Meeus and Matt Walls are in the same scenario, however with very little signs that things can change.
The remaining favourites though should be the same that have sprinted in the opening two days – a level below Wout van Aert. Jasper Stuyven, Clément Venturini, Luca Mozzato, Hugo Page, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Sean Quinn will all be there and hopeful that they can be part of the run for the win.
Inside The Bus
This morning I talk to…
#16 Lukas Postleberger – Matt and Jordi have not been doing good so we will look to get you in a breakaway. You’re a strong rouleur and the kind of rider who can succeed in such scenario.
#185 Javier Romo – Well, there isn’t really much point to staying in the peloton here so it’s a day for all of the guys to try and get to the front and play the chances. Your best chance will be to make the difference in the final hilltop, but if necessary then the priority is collaborating with the group enough to survive.
#226 Luis Leon Sanchez – It can be a tricky day with some wind and rain, so let’s make sure we keep Jack safe and also Damiano to a certain point. Some of the guys will try and get in a breakaway perhaps, but we want to save the legs for the mountains.
⭐Stuyven, Groenewegen, Venturini, Mozzato, Page, Meeus, Page, Quinn
There is very little excitement in saying Wout van Aert once again, but let’s face it he is the overwhelming favourite. The climbs should see the pure sprinters once again in difficulties, and van Aert is by far the strongest sprinter from the rest.
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