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The prologue of the Dauphine is going to be insane

Jordan Gibbons
1 Jun 2016

Prologues usually involve a few kilometres around a town. Not this one. It's going straight up a mountain.

The Criterium du Dauphine, along with the Tour de Suisse, is one of the main warm-up races ahead of the Tour de France. It typically utilises many of the same passes and often attracts the big favourites, so is usually seen as a taste of what’s to come in the Tour (three out of the last four winners of the Dauphine have gone on to win the Tour).

The Criterium du Dauphine also often starts with a prologue, which usually involves 5km around a town on TT bikes and is often won by ‘prologue specialists’. But not this year. Not only is the Dauphine route completely different to anthing covered by the Tour this year, but the prologue itself is a beast. Yes, it's a typical 3.9km in length but it’s not around a town – it starts in a town but goes straight up a mountain to the ski resort of Les Gets. Oh and those 3.9km are at an average of 9.7%. This is going to be messy.

The first ramp is just a warm up, albeit at 6.1% a savage one. But in a horrible twist within 1km the slope is already at 14.7%. There’s some minor respite a few hundred metres later when it drops back to 7.1%, but it quickly rears up again to 10.8%. And that’s before a final push that will really test the riders to their very limits, and make their rear derailleurs work as hard as they are.

The slope kicks up to 14.8% for 500m, then on to 15.2% for another 500m followed by a short descent to the finish. All in, it’s 378m of climbing in just 3.9km of riding. Assuming a 65kg rider can manage 450w for the duration of the climb, it would still take them approximately 12 minutes.

So who are the favourites? Up top we’d expect to see GC contenders such as Chris Froome and Alberto Contador plus the GC outsiders like Richie Porte and Fabio Aru. As a ‘wildcard’ we’d also throw Thibaut Pinot into the mix too. Whatever happens, we can’t see it deciding the outcome of the race but it should give us some early indications of how it will unfold.

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