Credit: Criterium du Dauphine @ASO
The colour of the peloton ascending and descending the infamous Col de la Madeleine, we’re running out of superlatives to describe how brilliant it is to see cycling back. What also pleases cycling fans is guts and determination, evident on today’s stage of the Dauphiné.
Nine riders went off in the break on a day where 157 km might look short but with the 2,000 metre in altitude Madeleine, the final climb up to Saint-Martin-de-Belleville – Stage 3 was far from easy.
Bob Jungels, Pierre Latour and Maxime Chevalier were three prominent names plus rider of the day which belonged to UAE’s Davide Formolo.
Twisting and turning down the Madeleine, Formolo certainly gave us a few scares on the descent but found his rhythm, pumped out the pace on the flat valley roads before riding onto the final climb and taking victory.
The Italian road champion hasn’t looked too bad in recent weeks after finishing second behind Wout Van Aert at Strade Bianche, Formolo deserves so much credit as he took the Madeleine by force, facial expressions showing suffering, pedalling squares but my goodness what a win!
We said yesterday that lots of questions are being asked of Team Ineos and in Egan Bernal he did not finish inside the top ten. The young Colombian, defending Tour champion don’t forget, could not keep up with his own teammate Pavel Sivakov.
Geraint Thomas again did all the work to help, Chris Froome was nowhere and Michał Kwiatkowski finished his efforts surprisingly early. Are Ineos conserving their efforts for another day? For sure with Jumbo-Visma doing extremely well at the moment, Dave Brailsford and co have got a lot of work to do. We also wonder whether the loss of the sadly departed Nico Portal might be having an impact? Could be a factor but we could be guessing.
Primož Roglič and Jumbo-Visma, where do you start with how magnificent this man is! The Slovenian continues to look strong, taking bonus seconds and he is out, and out leader of the team. Teammate Sepp Kuss once again played superdomestique duty and although we know Tom Dumoulin wants to win more Grand Tours, he deserves credit for helping Roglič. A year after his horrendous injury at the Giro whilst riding for Sunweb – good to see Dumoulin back climbing.
Thibaut Pinot still looked good but what might worry him compared to Jumbo-Visma or Ineos are his domestiques. Sébastien Reichenbach blew quite early and Valentin Madouas wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Maybe its reading too much into it but Pinot still has David Gaudu to come back for the Tour.
Miguel Ángel López again performed well but perhaps a bit surprising that teammate Alexey Lutsenko looks out of form. Third overall at the UAE Tour back in February, post-lockdown his form seems to have gone. Too early? Harsh? Lutsenko could still find himself.
Adam Yates will hopefully find himself soon but one final point to dissect is the situation at EF Pro Cycling – a tale of three Colombians. Rigoberto Urán struggled again, current road champion Sergio Higuita is suffering the effects of his crash on Stage 2 but in Daniel Martínez, the American team have a rider who could cause a surprise. Urán doesn’t look as if he can lead the team so maybe EF could back Martínez instead?
Another fellow Colombian again still looks fresh in Nairo Quintana. Arkea Samic took up some of work on the Madeliene and in the likes of Nairo’s brother Dayer Quintana, former Ineos domestique Diego Rosa plus the current French champion Warren Barguil – it’s not looking bad a tight nit squad. Quintana has been freed of Movistar, so that added freedom might be all the better for him – we’ll have to see?
Ride of the day belongs of course to Davide Formolo and team of the day belongs to BORA-Hansgrohe for having a go with Lennard Kämna on the final climb.
The Dauphiné rolls on, we still can’t judge too much. Jumbo-Visma continue to look dominant but as we keep on saying – the Dauphiné is not the Tour de France.
More Alpine stages to come, two more days around the ski resort village of Megève – there’s still a lot up for grabs.