"Stop saying that the Tour de France starts on July 1st. In fact, it starts this week at the Dauphiné. Yvon Ledanois, the sporting director of the Spanish team Movistar has the sharp judgment when asked to gauge the interest of the 75th edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné which starts this Sunday in the Puy-de-Dôme.
"From this week, we will be able to gauge the level of a lot of contenders for victory or a podium on the Tour," he continues. Everyone is waiting for a demonstration of the Jumbo-Visma like last year and Vingegaard (second in 2022 behind his teammate Primoz Roglic) will have no choice and will have to prove that he is the boss. It's the big favorite. Even if since 2018 and the victory of Geraint Thomas, no one has managed the double Grande Boucle - Dauphiné, the Rhône race often gives basic indications for July.
Last year, for example, Vingegaard, while playing the collective for Roglic, had demonstrated during the last weekend superior mountain abilities to his leader. Wednesday's 31km time should help him put his competitors ahead of the final three days at altitude.
Gaudu wants a podium
On the other hand, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), had collapsed on the last day and revealed mental flaws that then played tricks on him at Alpe-D'Huez, before he recovered and hung the 4th place in Paris. The little Breton climber must prove that he learns from his mistakes. "I hope the feeling will be good until the end for the general classification," he admits. The goal is the final podium on Sunday. »
Better than Vingegaard in Paris-Nice, Gaudu was then beaten by the Dane in the Tour of the Basque Country. "For me, Gaudu has to show a lot of things about his status in his team," explains Yvon Ledanois. And that goes through a very good Dauphiné. Gaudu, while the selection of his team is not yet made, will have his say in the final choice. Even if he refused to say it publicly on Friday, he would like to count on the support of Thibaut Pinot in July. And his word will carry much more weight if his performance in the final general classification of the Dauphiné is good.
🤩Last step before the #TDF2023! From Auvergne to the Alps, get ready for 8 days of action in a breathtaking landscape!
🤩Final stop on the Road to the Tour! From Auvergne's volcanos, to the Alps, be prepared for 8 days of action, in a stunning scenery!
⛰️ #Dauphiné pic.twitter.com/cSKZxYAXP6
— Critérium du Dauphiné (@dauphine) May 29, 2023
Alaphilippe wants a stage
The other French headliner had not come for three years on this event. The rider from Soudal - Quick Step has not raced for six weeks after a frustrating first part of the season for him (only one success on the Ardèche Classic) but admits to being "very well physically and mentally after a very good preparation. The goal is a stage win here." For Yvon Ledanois, it could arrive as early as this Sunday. "The first stage is harder than you think and Julian has the means to win. Anyway, Julian has nothing to prove. Neither to his boss Patrick Lefevere nor to anyone. If he feels the confidence of his team, I think we can have great Alaphilippe this week. »
Egan Bernal wants to come back
The Colombian, winner of the 2019 Tour, had come close to death in a road accident during training on January 22, 2022. Since then, he has been trying to find his best level. His Ineos team will put him through a big test this week that will determine whether Bernal can remain his best asset in the future to aim for another Tour victory. "I have immense respect for Bernal," Ledane said. He was very correct during the Tour de Romandie. But can he become the great Bernal of before? I put a big flat."