Should Tadej Pogačar worry about Remco Evenepoel and Primož Roglič at the Tour de France?  – GCN racing news
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Should Tadej Pogačar worry about Remco Evenepoel and Primož Roglič at the Tour de France? – GCN racing news

The Critérium du Dauphiné came to an end on Sunday after eight stages filled with thrilling racing, blood-curdling crashes and the usual pre-Tour de France frenzy. At the end of the race, Primož Roglič (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) won three stages, the points classification and the overall title.

But have either man strengthened his credentials ahead of July’s Tour de France? It should be argued that this did not happen.

When it comes to the Tour de France, it cannot be denied that there are four clear favorites for the champion title. If the winner had emerged from somewhere else, most commentators and fans would have been stunned. Evenepoel and Roglič should fight a four-way battle for the yellow jersey alongside Giro d’Italia champion Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and two-time Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard (Visma-Lease a Bike).

Each rider’s form and pedigree have been closely monitored since their participation was confirmed in late 2023, but with none of the four riders scheduled to start the race between now and the Grand Départ in Florence, Italy, the time has come to GCN Racing news program to ultimately assess how each competitor is preparing for the race.

Dan Lloyd will be in the studio this week to evaluate each of the four candidates. In the foreground of his thoughts are, of course, Roglič and Evenepoel from Dauphiné.

Despite winning the general classification, the points classification and two of the eight stages of the race, Dan is not convinced that Roglič can beat Pogačar or Vingegaard if both riders are in top form. Leader Bora-Hansgrohe could have taken home the yellow jersey on Sunday evening, but it was only in the final stage that he was put to the sword by the likes of Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers), Matteo Jorgenson (Visma-Lease a Bike) and Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech ).

Read more: ‘Like Geraint Thomas’ – Derek Gee’s surprise Podium Dauphiné points to GC’s future

All three riders deserve credit for their performances last week, but none would come close to matching Pogačar in the form he showed at the Giro, or be able to leave Vingegaard in the form he has shown for most of the last three years.

Roglič’s weakness in the race lead and his tendency to crash in stage races are a cause for concern as we look ahead to the Tour.

Similarly, Evenepoel left Dauphiné, showing that his GC form was not where it could be. Like Roglič, Evenepoel crashed in Itzulia in the Basque Country in April, but unlike the Slovenian, the Belgian suffered a broken bone, hampering his preparations for the summer.

The Soudal Quick-Step leader downplayed his GC ambitions by heading to Dauphiné, and he was right to do so. He could be credited with a blistering ride on Stage 4 and winning the individual time trial, but he was another rider who failed in the mountains and finished the week in seventh place.

The performances of both cyclists – good and bad – may be spoiled by accidents on stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné. Similarly, Vingegaard’s fitness remains a complete unknown due to his own injuries, which saw him spend 12 days in hospital at the start of the season. So for now, Pogačar’s position as Tour de France favorite seems to be growing week by week.

The Slovenian has made no mistake since winning Strade Bianche on his first race day of 2024, and after his dominant Giro d’Italia victory, social media was all smiles as he returned to altitude training ahead of July. It may be 26 years since a cyclist last won both the Giro and the Tour in the same season, but Pogačar now seems the biggest favorite to do so since Marco Pantani’s triumph.

Read more: Tadej Pogačar tips ‘motivated’ Remco Evenepoel for early attacks on Tour de France

In GCN Racing news programNot only does Dan provide his own ranking of how each of the four favorites fares, but he also summarizes a jam-packed week of racing that included the Tour of Britain Women, Dwars Door het Hageland, Volta Catalunya, ZLM Tour and the opening stage of the Tour de Suisse.

Not to mention a full summary of what happened at each stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. Be sure to watch the full video at the top of this page for a weekly recap of the biggest topics in racing.

For the latest developments from the world of professional cycling, visit our dedicated racing news section on the GCN website.