The Inner Ring | Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 5 Preview

    A likely sprint stage. If you want to watch this on TV, note the very early finish.

    Flying colours: if this year’s Dauphiné sets some tests for Remco Evenepoel, he’s passed the first one with ease. He won the stage, beating Josh Tarling by 17 seconds, Primož Roglič by 39 seconds and they were the only rivals within a minute. Evenpoel looked calm, his trajectories were prudent rather than desperate and he let his chainring do the talking.

    This now sets up the second test for Evenepoel and his team, he is in yellow and it’s on him and his team to defend. He kept repeating “day by day” in post stage interviews and the high mountains remain the real frontier for him, more so as he’s making his way back from injury and doesn’t look razor sharp yet. It sets things up nicely for a duel with Roglič but plenty of others who are down on GC and so might have to move early which can make for lively racing.

    The Route: 200km and over 2,000m of vertical gain, this is a possible sprint stage but far from certain.

    The Côte de Givors climbs out of the post-industrial city of Givors but keeps going beyond the KoM point to the Col de la Croix Régis.

    The Bel-Air climb closer to finish is nothing scary, a wide road.

    The Finish: there are more scenic ways into Lyon, this one goes past the railway yards and factories for a flat finish and there are nine roundabouts in the last 10km and several turns and bridges over railways to contend with.

    The Contenders: a rematch for Sam Bennett (Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale) and Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) and normally they can get over some climbs that others cannot which means today’s hill course is within their range.

    It’s the last day though for riders who can’t climb so we should expect some moves in the finish.

    M Pedersen
    Grégoire, Gee, Lazkano, Page, Meurisse

    Weather: warm but cloudy and the chance of rain, 25°C.

    TV: note the change in the timings with the finish is forecast for 2.30pm.

    Postcard from Saint-Priest
    Today’s stage finishes in the suburbs of Lyon, France’s third largest city. Walk around Saint-Priest and amid the housing estates, hospitals and the sprawling Renault trucks factory there’s every chance you might spot a van with a “CNS” logo, or people wearing “CNS” branded clothes. It’s a cleaning company and there’s a cycling connection because CNS stands for Calzati Nettoyages Services, “Calzati Cleaning Services”.

    Those with long memories might remember the ex-team Sky rider Sylvain Calzati, a Tour de France stage winner in 2006. CNS is his business and he’s been cleaning up in more than one way.

    Swapping Team Sky for contract cleaning doesn’t sound like the most glamorous of retirement plans. But don’t imagine Calzati swapping his Pinarello for a mop… he took over the business from his father and has grown it rapidly. Last year he had over 150 staff cleaning 2,300 buildings, turning over €7 million a year and banking profits of €1 million. Now he’s just sold the business, presumably for many times the annual profit. He might have left Sky as one of their least famous riders but he might now be one of their richest retirees.

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