Random Dauphiné afterthoughts

Fotoreporter Sirotti

The Critérium du Dauphiné is in the books by now. It might not have been an historic race but it had it's quality moments and provided some tasty tidbits along the way. What do we know now that we didn't know before?

Chris Frooome really wants to be Wiggo 2.0
Is anyone else having weird flashbacks to 2012? Haven't we all seen this before? The one wild and crazy difference between Wiggo -12 and Froome-13 is that Froome (edit: "almost") won Tirreno instead of Paris-Nice, otherwise it's pretty much carbon-copy stuff. The difference of course is in the pudding. Froome is going to face an Alberto Contador in three weeks unlike Wiggins who lucked out in the opponent-lottery last year. And seeing Contador this week casually domestiquing for Michael Rogers should scare any remotely sane GT contender, even one on a run as impressive as Froome's. I know people are writing the TdF off as another Sky-train suckfest with predictable outcome but after this Dauphiné I'm predicting one hell of a battle between Sky and Saxo all the way to the Semnoz. I don't care how good Froome/Porte look. And let's not forget,Sky had a terrible CdD compared to last year, only two in the top 10 compared to four last year, that's got to be a sign of doom if anything.

- The Dennis revelation
As I read this I've just been reading up on Hesjedal's injuries in the Tour de Suisse. How fast the fortunes turn for Garmin and JV. It hasn't been a day since they could celebrate the arrival of of yet another supertalent in the form of Rohan Dennis's performance in the France and now their TdF is in even more of limbo than it was a few days ago. However that turns out they can always look back at the summer of 2013 as a good one as their gamble on aussie trackies finally paid off big-time. If Garmin can hold on to this guy they may have struck gold. Is anyone else picturing international track meets in the future being attended by shitloads of hopeful DSs and agents? At this rate the pursuiters are going to be an even hotter commodity for teams hoping to find Tour winners than CX World Champs will be for DSs (Pat Lefevere) whose only goal is to dominate Roubaix.

- The frenchies? Bad news?
While Dennis was followed by two french talents, Geniez and Barguil, in the race for the White jersey the Dauphin'e was mostly bad news for the French. Coppel and Rolland were once again non-factors, in the TT especially and then to top it off Rolland ended the week in a DNF that was apparently connected to a test that revealed cortisol levels that were in breach of the MPCC rules that Europcar has agreed to abide by. This isn't the first time that Europcar has been in the spotlight when it comes to questions about cortisone use. It all sounds horribly old school and who would have suspected the french of anything like that? Hopefully there will be some clarity into all this before the Tour, Europcar could once again be at the heart of events in July and no one wants that to happen under a cloud of suspicion. Vini Fantini probably filled the quota of local teams with questionable methods for one year in the Grand Tours.

-Meersman as a TdF-ace in the hole?
Is anyone else thinking that Gianni Meersman just became the obvious answer to the question how Mark Cavendish is to beat Peter Sagan for the Green Jersey in July? With the kind of performances he has been putting in he looks like the obvious answer for Omega Pharma when it comes to derailing the Sagan-victory train. It's not going to happen of course, I haven't seen him mentioned anywhere as a potential TdF starter but I have to say the idea of throwing Meersman as a wrench in Sagans works on the tricky stages where he could grab an advantage over the Manxman in the points competition seems like a really fun spoiler as opposed to just focusing on taking the flat stages and letting Sagan have his way on the days where Cav can't make it. Sagan is certainly going to be poaching points on the Cav-stages so why not try and return the favor? Anyways OPQS are presumably going to try for a train as HTC-like as they can cobble together instead. Problem is, I don't think anyone really expects that to be quite good enough?

One last thing. For those of you planning on watching a lot of the Tour de France: Learn to love the look of Vasil Kiriyenka.

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