Jumbo-Visma climbing performances in Criterium du Dauphiné were strong. On the hardest climb of the race, Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič set a blistering time up Plateau de Solaison, beating the previous record for the climb set by Jakob Fuglsang in the 2017 Dauphiné by almost two minutes. Vingegaard this year has improved his consistency and climbing ability and might be even stronger than Roglič, who seemed to struggle in his wheel on stage 8 and did not pull as much as the young Dane.
The stage was not easy and it included multiple climbs before the steep mountain top finish Plateau de Solaison (11.4 km, 8.9%). Matteo Jorgenson finished almost 5 minutes back to Vingegaard. His power data before the final climb suggest that the stage was medium difficulty before Plateau de Solaison. 13.21kj/kg/h for 3h31min.
Jumbo-Visma used the Dauphiné as a training race for the upcoming Tour de France and their biggest competitor here was Ben O’Connor, who finished 4th last year in the Tour. O’Connor was not a threat to the Jumbo duo, but he also put out his best pure w/kg climbing performances of his career on Solaison.
Steven Kruijswijk undoubtedly earned his spot for the Tour by doing an incredible pull from 10 km to 5.4 km to go on the climb, reducing the peloton to a handful of riders, dropping even Jack Haig and Esteban Chaves. Kruijswijk might be back to his 2019 level when he podiumed at the Tour de France.
After Kruijswijk finished his pull, Vingegaard attacked. Jumbo-Visma probably tried their strategy for Tour de France where Vingegaard will presumably play an important role in winning the race as a second option on GC. In the same situation in the Tour de France, Roglič would probably not follow his teammate and would sit in the wheel of other GC contender, but here in the Dauphiné, the TJV duo knew they were so superior that they could drop the entire field, including O’Connor, from their wheels.
Surprisingly, Roglič was struggling to hold the wheel of his teammate, did not take very many pulls, and with 1.1 km to go he was distanced by a few metres by Vingegaard. If Roglič would have felt stronger than Vingegaard, one would expect him to have shared in the pulling duties slightly more at the end.
Vingegaard and Roglič produced one of the best performances of 2022, smashing Plateau de Solaison record by almost two minutes.
Vingegaard did 6.32 w/kg for 34:34, which according to our estimations is 0.05 w/kg higher than Roglič because he was drafting much more, which even on these gradients makes a difference. Surprisingly, O’Connor lost by only 15 seconds despite doing almost all of the last 5km on his own.
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Best climbing performance by Vingegaard
This was by far the best climbing performance of Jonas Vingegaard’s career. He is 25 and still improving compared to 2021, where he finished 2nd in the Tour. Vingegaard also did massive pulls in the stage 3 and stage 7 finishing climbs, working as a domestique for Wout van Aert and Primož Roglič. In stage 7 on Vaujany he did 6.76 w/kg for 13:03, setting up Roglič’s attack – his best ever short climbing effort.
Although Roglič looked in difficulty in some moments today, he did his best climbing performance in the 30-45 minute range, of his career. On the Velefique climb however, he did less watts than today but it was extremely hot in that stage and tactically he was content to let Enric Mas pace him to the finish. Given that Roglič himself said “there is some more work to be done” before the Tour, it is possible that he still has some weight to lose in Tignes before they line up in Copenhagen at the start of July.
Should Pogačar be Scared?
Vingegaard’s performance on Plateau de Solaison could be compared to Tadej Pogačar’s impressive win on Prati di Tivo last year in Tirreno-Adriatico, which was in better weather conditions for producing a top performance. Pogačar went full-gas on that day and dropped Bernal and Simon Yates. Here in the Dauphiné stage 8, the conditions were hotter by almost 20C degrees and it is hard to say how well Pogačar would perform in hot conditions as he showed weakness in heat, when Vingegaard dropped him on Ventoux. If Pogačar has not improved by a lot since 2021, Roglič and Vingegaard duo might be a tough challenge for the Slovenian, especially if this year the Tour will be hot, and not cool and rainy like it was in the Alps last year. It seems plausible that either of the Jumbo-Visma riders could win the GC, as after the Dauphiné, Vingegaard’s stocks have skyrocketed.