Preview. Stage 5 of the Criterium du Dauphiné will be a tough day, one where the start is flat but the finale quite difficult. It features a tough 3.7-kilometer climb towards the finish where attacks may come.
Stage 5 sees the peloton return to it's hilly challenges. As the main stages lay ahead it should be a conservative affair. The riders finally get the pan-flat start they would've hoped for in the first days of the race, however ironically it comes in a day where a breakaway is likely to succeed and will have problems forming itself early on.
Estimated start and finish times for Criterium du Dauphiné stage 5: 12:05-16:25CET
Mikkel Bjerg takes first career win on Critérium du Dauphiné ITT edging out Jonas Vingegaard by 12 seconds
The climbing phase of the day begins with just under 100 kilometers raced, with a 4.4-kilometer climb at 4.1%. There isn't anything meaningful worth mentioning until a second categorized ascent which is 2.2 kilometers at 5.7% which summit with 36 kilometers to go. A plateau then follows leading up to the main obstacle of the day.
That is the Côte de Thésy, 3.7Km at 8%, whilst it's first half is mostly at around 10%. An explosive climb. The GC riders may opt not to risk due to the hard finale of the race but it is hard enough to explode the race, if not still, the stage can very well be decided with an attack here at some point. It ends with 13.5Km to go, there is a gentle rise shortly after a descending patch, but it's then all downhill until 1 kilometer to go, and the finale in Salins-les-Bains.
Tiny breeze from the west but should be meaningless. Generally a sunny day, although there are little chances of some rain early in the day. All in all should be normal weather-wise.
Some questions come from this day. It's unsure which outcome can decide the stage winner. Will a breakaway succeed? The start of the stage is pan-flat, and Mikkel Bjerg, not being a GC contender, will want to carry the yellow jersey - which is possible as he can certainly climb well. If the GC fight does not implode he can surely keep it, Jonas Vingegaard won't attack as it's a favour for Jumbo not to have to work at the moment.
A few rider have lost enough time on GC to get freedom and also the climbing legs to finish it off on the day. There hasn't been a serious climbing stage so far but there is a solid idea of who those may be. Juan Pedro López, Georg Zimmermann, Kevin Geniets, Tobias Bayer, Andrea Bagioli, Kenny Elissonde, Benjamin Thomas, Mauri Vansevenant, Rein Taaramäe and Pierre Latour are all riders to take into consideration. They're still recovering from injuries, but the likes of Thomas de Gendt and Victor Campenaerts could be interesting.
Then in the peloton what could happen? The likes of Christophe Laporte and Fred Wright can certainly climb and sprint, but I think if the pace is calm enough for them to hang on, individual attacks should happen which can be impossible to bring back in the downhill finale. There are a few puncheurs who could try and benefit from their freedom as a gap in the final kilometers can be crucial. Felix Grossschartner, Sean Quinn, Oscar Onley and Maxim van Gils are all rider who certainly won't be covered, Omar Fraile can be very dangerous as he is a demon descender, and of course Julian Alaphilippe is a prime favourite if he maintains his form.
In the outright GC battle itself there are a few riders who probably won't try to attack, as they sit well in the GC. Jonas Vingegaard, a surprising Ben O'Connor who flew against the clock, Adam Yates, Daniel Martínez, Jai Hindley and Jack Haig find themselves in this position.
On the opposite side of the spectrum you have riders who have already shed considerable amounts of time, and even if just in the fight for the podium or Top5 they must start to work to make time back. Enric Mas and Mikel Landa for example have every reason to attack if they have the legs.
You then have Matteo Jorgenson, Carlos Rodríguez, Guillaume Martin, Louis Meintjes, Esteban Chaves, Tobias Johannessen, Emanuel Buchmann, Max Poole and Egan Bernal who will likely test their legs, not take risks if they aren't on a great day. David Gaudu, Richard Carapaz and Giulio Ciccone also sit in intermediate positions but could explode the race.
Prediction Criterium du Dauphiné 2023 stage 5:
*** Julian Alaphilippe, Richard Carapaz
** Maxim van Gils, Jonas Vingegaard, David Gaudu, Giulio Ciccone
* Omar Fraile, Adam Yates, Ben O'Connor, Jai Hindley, Enric Mas, Mikel Landa, Esteban Chaves, Tobias Johannessen
Pick: Richard Carapaz