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Critérium du Dauphiné

With Louis Meintjes & Jan Hirt as leaders

From this Sunday, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will participate for the seventh time to the Criterium du Dauphine (2.UWT, 5-12/06). The 74th edition is divided in seven hilly or mountain stages and a flat time trial.

The race starts in the Ardèche region with a double passage on the Côte du Chambon de Bavas (5km at 5%) and the Col du Moulin à Vent (3.4 km at 5%) in the second race half. After the top of this last climb, 30 downhill kilometers bring the riders to Beauchastel, where the first yellow jersey will be awarded.

In the second stage, the top of the Col de Mézihac brings the riders to 1100 meters of altitude. The last 60 kilometer, mostly downhill, are interrupted by the Côte de Rohac (1.2 km at 4.9%) 10 kilometer before the finish.

The first uphill finish will be held on Tuesday, in Chastreix-Sancy (6.2km at 5.6%), followed by a flat individual time trial of 31,9 kilometer between Montbrison and La Bâtie d’Urfé. A relatively hilly stage is on the menu on the fifth day towards Chaintré, before the peloton reaches the Alps on Friday via the Col de Rousset (6.6 km at 5%) and the Col de Cabre (9.1km at 4.7%), which is situated 60 kilometer before the finish in Gap.

The weekend is the apotheosis of this edition, with two stages of a little more than 130 kilometer covering several mythical climbs. On Saturday, the Col du Galibier, the top of the Télégraphe and the Col de la Croix de Fer have to be covered before climbing towards ski resort Vaujany (5.8km at 7.2%). The closing stage finishes on top of the Plateau de Solaison (11.4km at 8.9km) after the ascent of the Col de la Colombière.

The final of this last stage was the same in 2017, South African climber Louis Meintjes took third place and finished eighth in the final classification. The recent winner of the Giro dell’Appennino will participate for the sixth time to the Dauphiné, an event in which he also took ninth place in 2016.

He will be accompanied by former stage winner Jan Bakelants (in Poisy in 2014) and the recent sixth of the Tour of Italy, Jan Hirt. The Czech winner of the queen stage in the Alps ten days ago will make his debut in the Dauphiné, just like Kobe Goossens, Laurens Huys, Hugo Page et Julius Johansen.

« It really pleased me to see how happy my teammates were with my victory in the Giro dell’Appennino, a win I’ve been chasing for a long time. My confidence grew a lot thanks to my good feeling uphill and the numbers I was able to push. I need to consider adding more Italian races to my programme, as it was in this country that I took my three European victories! » « The Dauphiné is an event I know pretty well. There will be a lot of climbing, especially the final weekend will be important for me. I know the final of the last stage, because in 2017 I finished third behind Jakob Fuglsang and Dan Martin as the last survivor of the early breakaway. The time trial will also be decisive, and at the end of the third stage it will be important to avoid time loss on the explosive finish in Chastreix-Sancy. » « The other stages don’t look extremely difficult on paper and not much wind is expected. From the opening stage, we’ll see if the sprinter’s teams will be organized enough to control all breakaway attempts. Different young talents are part of our roster next week, I will encourage them to race offensively and seize opportunities. » « We also have different cards to play for the general classification. I feel really good, but I’ve also watched my teammates achieving a very high level in the Tour of Italy and so if necessary I am ready to race in support of Jan Hirt. It would be great if he could benefit from his good form in this Dauphiné. We’re roommates this week, but also next to the races we sometimes spend time together, for example in training when we’re both at home in Andorra. »

Stage 1 (05/06): La Voulte-sur-Rhône – Beauchastel (191,8km)
Stage 2 (06/06): Saint-Péray – Brives-Charensac (169,8km)
Stage 3 (07/06): Saint-Paulien – Chastreix-Sancy (169km)
Stage 4 (08/06): Montbrison – La Bâtie d’Urfé (31,9km) (= TT)
Stage 5 (09/06): Thizy-les-Bourgs – Chaintré (162,3km)
Stage 6 (10/06): Rives – Gap (196,4km)
Stage 7 (11/06): Saint-Chaffrey – Vaujany (134,8km)
Stage 8 (12/06): Saint-Alban-Leysse – Plateau de Solaison (139,2km) 


General Classification


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