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Critéruim du Dauphiné TT echoes the penultimate stage of the Tour de France: What might the results tell us?

Joseph Delves
7 Jun 2017

Richie Porte wins, with Chris Froome and Alberto Contador some way back

With the opening stages having seen the bunch finishing together, the 23.5 kilometre time trial was the first time that the main GC riders began to trade time gaps at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

With the exception of Movistar’s Nairo Quintana, almost all the big contenders for the Tour de France are in attendance at the eight day stage race.

Richie Porte (BMC Racing) won a convincing victory ahead of several time trial specialists, while some of the big hopefuls lost in excess of half a minute.

Looking ahead, what can the results tell us about the different General Classification rider’s' chances in the upcoming Tour de France?

Porte is in fine form, but has he peaked too early?

Porte is a fantastic time triallist, who has long been seen as a capable of a Grand Tour win. Yet so far his efforts have been repeatedly spiked by off-days in the mountains that have ruined his overall chances.

This year he seems in the form of his career with overall wins at the Tour Down Under and Tour de Romandie already behind him.

However, while victory at the Dauphiné has often been a precursor to a win at the Tour it’s possible he’s found his groove a little too early in the season.

If nothing else, if he continues his strong showing he’s likely to find himself heavily marked.

Valverde is likely to rival Quintana for leadership at Movistar

With Quintana having possibly burnt himself out at the earlier Giro d'Italia, the condition in which he returns to the Tour could be one of the race’s deciding factors.

One thing that we learnt for certain at the earlier Grand Tour is that he’s failed to do much to improve his time trial performance. In fact he went backwards compared to the previously decent showing he’s produced at other stage races.

By comparison the indefatigable Alejandro Valverde doesn’t seem to be slowing down, despite being 37-years-old. His strong Classics campaign mean some bookies now have him on equal odds with Quintana.

Old rivals Contador and Froome seem locked together

Discussing his rivals for the Tour, Froome dismissed Quintana and instead cited Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and Porte as being his main threats.

Although seen by some as having his best years behind him, Contador is still capable of causing an upset. This is something that Froome, who has spent most of his career riding alongside Contador, knows.

The two riders finished within two seconds of each other, with Contador just getting the best of the Team Sky rider this time. The two will certainly be using the Dauphiné to get the measure of one another.

Are the big names keeping their cards close to their chests?

Few of the big beasts of the peloton go into the Critérium du Dauphiné with the expressed wish of claiming the overall leader’s jersey.

Yet despite this, split between Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins, four of its last five winners have then gone on to win the Tour.

This year both Contador and Froome have described the Dauphiné as little more than a training ride. Taking this at face value it’s hard to know how much to read into their performances at the race.

By comparison Porte’s BMC Racing team highlighted the race as one of their biggest goals. Whatever they publicly profess, Froome wouldn’t mind a record breaking fourth win, and Contador wouldn’t mind adding a first win to his otherwise comprehensive list of stage race victories.

Could this TT prove a preview of the Tour’s last decisive stage?

The rolling TT stage was a single kilometre longer than the penultimate day of the Tour. After the mountains, the short final time trial will be the last chance for riders to make up or lose time before the Champs Elysees.

Featuring a lone climb of around 100 metres, its profile is not massively dissimilar either. As such the time gaps produced between the riders might be expected to be the about the same.

However, what three weeks of racing will have done to the riders' legs by that point in the three week race is impossible to predict.