Alberto Contador comes out on top as the GC men battle their way through the prologue of the 2016 Critérium du Dauphiné

Starting with what could possibly be the hardest opening stage to a WorldTour race we’ve ever seen, the prologue of the 2016 Critérium du Dauphiné shook up the GC from the go.

The finishing time gaps will oblige many of the GC contenders to attack for the rest of the week if they are to have any hope of making the final podium. This is particularly true for Fabio Aru (Astana) who finished way down.

Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) set the early time of 12 minutes, but this was bettered by Chris Froome (Team Sky).

Chris Froome in the Prologue of the 2016 Critérium du Dauphiné

Chris Froome looked to have set the winning time. Photo: Graham Watson

Froome knocked 11 seconds off Alaphilippe’s time, which until then had looked like a possible winning time.

The Team Sky leader had chosen to go off early in the day and so was leading for quite some time. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), Froome’s chief rival – in this race and most probably in the Tour de France later this summer, knocked 12 seconds off the lead time.

Alberto Contador wins the Prologue of the 2016 Critérium du Dauphiné

Alberto Contador battled his way to the stage win. Photo: Graham Watson

Finishing immediately after Contador, Richie Porte (BMC Racing) bettered Froome’s time but fell five seconds short of the Tinkoff leader’s benchmark.

Richie Porte in the Prologue of the 2016 Critérium du Dauphiné

Richie Porte did enough to take second place in the Critérium du Dauphiné prologue. Photo: Graham Watson

The prologue was especially hard compared to how many races start: a 4km hill climb with an average gradient of 9.7 per cent.

With no time limit, many domestiques, climbers and those not fancying a steep climb took it easy and left the GC men to fight the climb, the clock and their bikes.

Tony Martin in the Prologue of the 2016 Critérium du Dauphiné

Tony Martin expressed his displeasure about the Critérium du Dauphiné prologue. Photo: Graham Watson

Not all the riders were happy about this as an opening stage, and Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) tweeted his irritation.

Stage one looks like it should be one for the sprinters as the lumps and bumps come in the first half before a fast and relatively flat run in to the finish. The stage covers 186km from Cluses to Saint-Vulbas, with four category four climbs along the way.


Watch: Highlights from the Critérium du Dauphiné prologue


Result

Critérium du Dauphiné 2016, prologue, Les Gets to Les Gets, 4km

1. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff, at 11-36
2. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing, at 6s
3. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 13s
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx-Quick Step, at 21s
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx-Quick Step, at 24s
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 25s
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) ag2r La Mondiale, at 29s
8. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge, at 31s
9. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana, at 37s
10. José Herrada (Esp) Movistar, ar 39s

Critérium du Dauphiné 2016, overall standings after prologue

1. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff, at 11-36
2. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing, at 6s
3. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 13s
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx-Quick Step, at 21s
5. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx-Quick Step, at 24s
6. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky, at 25s
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) ag2r La Mondiale, at 29s
8. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge, at 31s
9. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana, at 37s
10. José Herrada (Esp) Movistar, ar 39s

  • poisonjunction

    What’s missing here is an informed discussion on the various power readings, watt outputs et al.
    Who did the least and got the ‘better’ time, [suggesting economy of output by a better riding style?] and who knackered themselves and came no where?

    Or is there a special page set aside?

  • llos25

    Well done Alberto.