Preview. The riders reach the end of the Criterium du Dauphiné, with Jonas Vingegaard completely dominating the race. Nevertheless, stage 8 will be a very interesting day in the mountains which includes the finale at La Bastille which goes up to 30%.
The final day of racing is a very tough one, and a classic day for the Critérium du Dauphiné, with a very hard and explosive start where a GC raid is possible and a very strong group is likely to go up the road. It's a Dauphiné classic, to end the race with an explosive day which features several climbs but no apparent point of attack. Ideal for aggressive racing, the start is uphill but not deadly - 6.1Km; 5.8% - but the opening hour of racing barely sees any flat road.
Estimated start and finish times for Criterium du Dauphiné stage 8: 10:30-14:35CET
Jonas Vingegaard sends message to Tour de France rivals taking emphatic second Criterium du Dauphiné stage win with consummate ease
There will be three main climbs towards the end of the day with the Col du Granier being the thoughest - 9.6Km at 8.6%. This one opens up the true climbing on the day, it summits with 48 kilometers to go, the three ascents are all back-to-back with no flat sections inbetween at all. The Col du Cucheron follows, it's 7.8 kilometers at 6.1% and ends with 30 kilometers to go.
Perhaps the riders will wait for the Col de Porte to make a move, it is another possible location to attack. It's 7.5 kilometers at 6.6%, not the toughest of climbs but the legs will be hurting already at the base. It ends with 17 kilometers to go, 15 of them a steep and fast descent straight into the hilltop finish.
A long descent will follow into Grenoble. Although it almost appears invisible in the profile, the finale is one of the steepest of the whole year. Not unknown, it's the climb to La Bastille which averages 14% for 1.8 kilometers, and the gradients go well over 20% in sections. The road signs, alongside the created profile hint at 30% maximum. It's vicious regardless of that being correct or not, it's a proper end to the race, with the views over an Alpine metropolitan area.
The rain did not come today in any meaningful way so I believe tomorrow will see the same. There are small chances of it happening but in the end it shouldn't be relevant to the outcome of the day.
Jonas Vingegaard win or breakaway?
I think I can say what many want to, there is and hasn't really been any tension whatsoever in the fight for the yellow jersey. It's as simple as that, Jonas Vingegaard is a level above all other GC contenders in the race both in the time-trials and climbs, and is essentially racing the Dauphiné however he wants. Tomorrow, unless he crashes, he conquers the GC and although he's already won enough, I wouldn't be surprised to see Jumbo trying to control the race simply because the chances of taking the win are much higher than anyone else.
On the opposite side I doubt any team will want to help as INEOS did today. We may see BORA pushing the pace a bit as Jai Hindley has the chance of jumping to the podium against Ben O'Connor, but again this will likely be behind Vingegaard. We can't realistically expect any other GC rider to take the win, but for minor places Adam Yates has looked very good today, all others were slightly behind these three.
What we can have is a breakaway fight for the win, it's possible, although it'll require good legs from a very strong climber as it's a true high mountain day, and of course some luck with evading the peloton and hope they don't attack seriously before the final hilltop.
Although there is an uphill start and the Dauphiné traditionally has a very explosive final day, that is because the GC is usually not decided and there's a lot of chaos. I don't expect much chaos tomorrow, instead a more controlled day. Among those who may attack and take a victory from the front could be Mikel Landa, David Gaudu or Matteo Jorgenson who are brilliant climbers (if they find much better legs), Antonio Pedrero, Kenny Elissonde, Juan Pedro López or David de la Cruz.
Prediction Criterium du Dauphiné 2023 stage 8:
*** Jonas Vingegaard
** Adam Yates, Jai Hindley
* David Gaudu, Kenny Elissonde, Antonio Pedrero, Max Poole, Daniel Martínez
Pick: Jonas Vingegaard