The Tour De France is starting in Corsica in exactly four weeks, so let’s
focus ahead and start with the first (and most important) prep-race, the
Critérium Du Dauphiné, which is raced in the Savoie region and is well
regarded as the most ideal preparation race, not the least because it’s
raced in the same region as where the Tour has its finale. The small stage
race consists of a long flat time-trial and 7 mountainous stages.
Sprinters better look elsewhere, as the road either goes up or down.
And they’re all here: Alberto Contador, Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Haimer
Zubeldia, Andrew Talansky, Jurgen Van Den Brouck, Jakub Fuglsang,
Allejandro Valverde, Joaquim Rodriguez, Tony Martin. All will contest the
Tour with high ambitions and will be finetuning their form come tomorrow.
One person who won’t be here, nor at the Tour, is Sir Bradley Wiggins. An
ongoing knee-injury and affected form due to a chest-infection causes him
to drop out of the Tour and if you ask me about what’s in store for him
now, I think he’ll retire. He has reached all he could possibly want..
multiple olympic medals and the grand one, the Tour De France. He won’t be
willing to make the sacrifices no more, sleeping in oxygen-tents for
months, the hard diet and labouring.
Now, the Dauphiné’s classification consists of the same names that will
make up the Tour’s top10, but the Tour’s winner doesn’t Always win the
Dauphine a month before. This because riders are in their build-up,
usually on 80-90% of their desired Tour fitness. I shall have a look at
the records, but even Lance Armstrong didn’t mind not winning this race,
though I’m sure he went full gas when he did participate. But it’s
different on Team SKY: last year with Wiggins and this year with Froome,
team SKY do make a goal of this race, as they want their race leader to
gain experience being the man to beat, to deal with pressure, extra media
attention and be in the position where Wiggins/Froome have to lead, give
orders. This especially counts for Froome, who was a nobody till last
year. He’s done well in other races this year, 2nd in Tirreno and 1st in
Criterium International and Tour of Romandie.
The last 10 Dauphine winners and their Tour-position between ( )
2003 Armstrong: (1)
2004 Mayo: (DNF)
2005 Landaluze: (100)
2006 Leipheimer: (12)
2007 Moreau: (36)
2008 Valverde: (8)
2009 Valverde: dns
2010 Brajkovic: dnf
2011 Wiggins: dnf (broken calivula)
2012 Wiggins: (1)
The last 10 Tour winners and their Dauphine-position between ( )
2003: Armstrong: (1)
2004: Armstrong: (4)
2005: Armstrong: (4)
2006: Pereiro: (14)
2007: Contador: (6)
2008: Sastre: (20)
2009: Contador: (3)
2010: Contador: (2)
2011: Evans: (2)
2012: Wiggins: (1)
So except for a few outsiders, the Tour winner is always in the mix in the
Dauphine, but not necessraily winning.
A look at the main contenders before we look at the market.
CHRIS FROOME: red hot favourite for this race, has a very decent team at
his disposal. Finished 4th here last year when he was helping Wiggins.
Podium is a dead-certain.
ALBERTO CONTADOR: we haven’t seen the Contador of other years, have we?
Could it maybe be that with the crack-down on doping, his physical
capabilities have lots its sharp edge as well? It would appear so. A small
secret: Pepe Marti was his doctor.. yes, *was* his doctor, as mr Marti was
banned from the sport in the same USADA investigation that exposed Lance.
Mr Marti didn’t get the same attention, but out he is. Contador will be
poised.. but somewhere between 3 and 8 is a fine position for him.
ALESSANDRO VALVERDE: I got no recent form figures to go by, but he’ll be
ready and has the punch to win stages. The long time trial is not in his
advantage though. Top10, yes but doubtful for the win this time.
VAN DEN BROUCK: Silent but strong contender, improved his time trialing
capabilities. Has multiple Tour top10 finishes to brag about, but he
doesn’t. He’s silent. Saw some jucy prices for him already.
PORTE: Lieutenant to Froome who has GC-aspirations himself. He’ll lead
Team SKY at a grand tour next year. Great time trialist and good climber.
He’s a hard man.
TALANSKY: The golden boy of stage racing, still young but will want to
have a go at this as he has to prove he deserves a protected status at the
Tour, next to Ryder Hesjedal. Strong time trialer and strong when the road
CUNEGO: Aims for a good Tour-classification, but his woe-ful time trial
capabilities will throw him out of contention.
RODRIGUEZ: He normally rides the Giro and Vuelta, but this year it’s all
for the Tour. Will be up there in the mountains and could benefit from
Froome and Contador eyeing each other. Time trial is his achilles-heel,
but has improved.
TONY MARTIN: Will win the time-trial using just one leg, but the mountains
are too frequent and too tough.
KWIATKOWSKI: Break-through rider of the year so far. Keep an eye on this lad.
SANCHEZ: Just finished the Giro and could perform well on the form he
showed the have.
And there’s around ten other who have a chance on a top10 position, but
it’ll mainly between these riders.
Right now, only two bookies have priced up. I will update this post might
there be more bookies showing up at oddschecker. The Tour will have more
side-markets, but unfortunatly, there’s only the win market with 3
each-way places available right now. That’s a pity, ’cause I see some
riders at 500/1 for the win, who have more than a decent shot at a top10
position. You might want to challenge your luck and back Sylvester Szmyd
for 500/1 EW win at . This is Valverde’s right hand man who was
gifted a stage by Valverde a few years ago. Friendship goes a long way in
Other long shots that are seriously underestimated: Haimer Zubeldia 250/1
, 6th in the Tour last year and has multiple top10 finishes in the
Dauphine. He’s 60/1 at victor chandler . Daniel Moreno is 200/1 with . He’s
Rodriguez’ right hand man, who’s shaping up to become a leader himself.
Winner of Flecha Wallonne a few weeks ago.
I see two team-leaders at 60/1 at victor chandler , who will both be in good shape in
the Dauphine. Both can climb well and especially Jerome Coppel can
time-trial well. The other is Jakub Fuglsang. Same goes for Pierre Rolland
(50/1 at ) who won on Alpe d’Huez in 2011.
The front of the market is occupied by Froome (10/11) and Contador (4/1).
Froome is worth a go, but do back him up with team mate Richie Porte
(12/1). Might something happen with Froome, Porte will take over and who
knows, Porte’s form could be well ahead over Froome’s. Leave Contador
alone. Valverde too, better be watched.
Also back Jurgen Van Den Broeck at 33/ at . Leave the 16/1 at victor chandler alone.
The last one I’ll mention and will be backing myself is Andrew Talansky at
40/1 at victor chandler .