Saturday, June 8, 2013

Stage 8 Preview 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné

Six riders did not take the start of today’s seventh stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné, and a further 16 abandoned during the race. After Thomas Voeckler’s impressive demonstration of a breakaway win yesterday on stage six, today saw more than twenty riders escape up the road to try their own breakaway success. This time the peloton reeled them all in, and Sylvain Chavanel (OPQ) and Alessandro De Marchi (CAN) were the last to be caught before the final climbs to the finish.

On the category 1 penultimate climb Sammy Sanchez (EUS) and Jakob Fuglsang (AST) broke free to try their luck. By that time the chasing group had been greatly reduced to just a few GC contenders. They chased the two escapees hard, but could not catch them on the final climb. Sammy Sanchez rode away with an emotional first win of the season, after several previous disappointments.

Sammy Sanchez (Euskatel) gets his first win of 2013
A late but powerful attack from Richie Porte helped preserve his second place podium position, as Garmin’s young Rohan Dennis lost his third place, but managed to keep the white young rider’s jersey. Michael Rogers of Saxo-Tinkoff took over the third podium spot, with Katusha’s Daniel Moreno a mere ten seconds behind. Expect Moreno to try and eat away at that lead on tomorrow’s final stage to Risoul.145 riders finished the stage today.

Gianni Meersman and Thomas Damuseau still hold the points and mountain jerseys, respectively. Damuseau padded his lead by crossing the KOM lines in second place over each of the day’s first three climbs—including the early climb over Alpe d’Huez, which occurred before broadcasters were on the air.

Stage 8 Profile
Tomorrow’s final 156km stage 8 features another mountaintop finish, and the last chance for glory in the 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné.  The first 100 kms feature one category-3 climb before the riders reach the first of two cat. 1 climbs. The first is the Col de Vars (10.4k at 6.9%), which tops out about 36kms before the finish. After a 20km descent the peloton will start the final cat. 1 climb to the finish. The Montée de Risoul is about 14kms long with an average gradient of 6.7%, and is a relatively steady climb all the way up.

At this point it does not look good for anyone who hopes to steal the lead away from Sky’s Chris Froome. Another solid finish tomorrow could even net Froome the points jersey, too, as he now trails Meersman in that competition by nine points.

My pick for stage 8: Daniel Moreno (Katusha)

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