Victor Lafay only needed a few meters to raise his arms on Tuesday. Only beaten on the line by David Gaudu and Wout Van Aert at the finish of Chastreix-Sancy, the rider from Haut-Savoie showed that he was back in form at the beginning of the season, after having finished 3rd behind Tadej Pogacar in a major stage of Tirreno-Adriatico.
4 stages, 15 difficulties listed
Like Victor, the whole Cofidis team is eager to try its luck in this particularly tough Critérium du Dauphiné. After the time trial of the day, a new race begins. Indeed, the next four stages promise a lot of explanations as the road is going to be very steep. And for good reason, 15 difficulties are listed between now and Sunday (3 out of category, 2 of 1st category).
A terrain that is favourable to separate the leaders but also to make some moves for all those who dream of raising their arms. In the wake of Victor Lafay, Simon Geschke - who has been particularly visible during the Tour de Romandie - could try his luck. They will also count on the motivation of the young guard of the team (Thomas Champion, Eddy Finé, Hugo Toumire) and on the experience of François Bidard and Benjamin Thomas in order to give their best and to seize with panache every opportunity that will come their way.
Victor Lafay: "I will see during the next two stages if there are opportunities for breakaways. I think that the profile on Friday could be particularly interesting. This weekend, I will test myself and we will see if I have the condition to be at the front of the race. I have a good feeling even if the time trial is not my favourite exercise. I finished far away but if this can give me a good start for the next stage, I won't refuse it.
Jean-Luc Jonrond, Directeur Sportif: "The time trial on Wednesday put the favourites back in their place in the general classification. Tomorrow, it will be the least difficult of the last 4 stages with 2000m of positive altitude difference. This should suit the sprinters for their last chance in this Criterium. It will be better to wait until Friday to get into the breakaway. A lot of teams will try to be in the breakaway and there might be a fight, especially as the leaders will not be playing for their places in the general classification. This weekend, during the two high mountain stages, we will try to protect Simon as well as possible in order to try to get an honourable place in the general classification.