Primoz Roglic wins stage two of Criterium du Dauphine to hit form ahead of Tour de France

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) laid down another huge marker ahead of the Tour de France with victory on the second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Thursday. After Jumbo-Visma dominated at the Tour de l’Ain last weekend, where Roglic won two of the three stages to claim the overall victory, all eyes this week have been on a beefed-up Ineos team, seeing whether they can respond to the gauntlet which has been thrown down by their Dutch rivals. So far, they have found it difficult. Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert took victory on Wednesday’s opening stage, his team controlling the last 20km impressively. On Thursday, Ineos switched to a different tactic, putting all seven riders on the front heading into the final climb, the hors categorie Col de Porte. It looked like the days of old, with Dylan van Baarle leading from Jonathan Castroviejo, then Michal Kwiatkowski, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Pavel Sivakov, all riding in support of Egan Bernal. But cracks began to appear as the gradients ramped up. Froome, who is still working his way back from a career-threatening injury at last year’s Dauphine, could not hack the pace being set by Kwiatkowski and had to pull over with around 4.5km remaining. The 35-year-old gave the cameras a thumbs up. But after sitting up on Wednesday, again with around 4km remaining, there are bound to be questions about whether this is all a pre-arranged strategy and whether he can find form in time for the Tour.

Primoz Roglic wins stage two of Criterium du Dauphine to hit form ahead of Tour de France

Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) laid down another huge marker ahead of the Tour de France with victory on the second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Thursday. After Jumbo-Visma dominated at the Tour de l’Ain last weekend, where Roglic won two of the three stages to claim the overall victory, all eyes this week have been on a beefed-up Ineos team, seeing whether they can respond to the gauntlet which has been thrown down by their Dutch rivals. So far, they have found it difficult. Jumbo-Visma’s Wout van Aert took victory on Wednesday’s opening stage, his team controlling the last 20km impressively. On Thursday, Ineos switched to a different tactic, putting all seven riders on the front heading into the final climb, the hors categorie Col de Porte. It looked like the days of old, with Dylan van Baarle leading from Jonathan Castroviejo, then Michal Kwiatkowski, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Pavel Sivakov, all riding in support of Egan Bernal. But cracks began to appear as the gradients ramped up. Froome, who is still working his way back from a career-threatening injury at last year’s Dauphine, could not hack the pace being set by Kwiatkowski and had to pull over with around 4.5km remaining. The 35-year-old gave the cameras a thumbs up. But after sitting up on Wednesday, again with around 4km remaining, there are bound to be questions about whether this is all a pre-arranged strategy and whether he can find form in time for the Tour.