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As it happened - Critérium du Dauphiné stage 4: Mikkel Bjerg beats Jonas Vingegaard

2023 Critérium du Dauphiné stage 4 profile

2023 Critérium du Dauphiné stage 4 profile (Image credit: ASO)

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- Critérium du Dauphiné: Mikkel Bjerg takes stage 4 time trial win, GC lead


Stage 4 results 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné

Stage 4 results 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné (Image credit: FirstCycling)


Overall classification after stage 4 of the 2023 Criterium du Dauphiné

Overall classification after stage 4 of the 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné (Image credit: FirstCycling)

Hello and welcome to Cycllingnews' live coverage of stage 4 of the 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné

It's the first key GC day of the 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné, a mid-length, mid-week time trial before the key mountain stages on Saturday and Sunday.

Before we get into the day's racing, which starts at 1341 local time when mountains classification leader Donovan Grondin (Arkea-Samsic) rolls down the start ramp, here's a quick look back at what happened yesterday:

Critérium du Dauphiné: Christophe Laporte wins stage 3 as Bennett, Groenewegen relegated

Christophe Laporte wins stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné

Christophe Laporte wins stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné (Image credit: Getty)

And here's a quick look at the GC as things stand: expect changes by the end of the day...

Critérium du Dauphiné 2023 overall rankings after stage 3

(Image credit: FirstCycling)

Tuesday's stage 3 was marked by France claiming their third straight win in the Dauphine in as many days. Stage 1 winner Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) took his second victory of the 2023 race, 24 hours after a triumph for compatriot Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep). Discounting prologues, this is the first time the host nation has claimed a hat-trick of opening Dauphiné stages since (wait for it) 1958, when Francis Pipelin, Camille Le Menn et Jean Lerda claimed stages 1, 2 and 3. The home run of success was only broken on stage 4 from Gap to Uriage, when Pierre Polo of Italy finished first. That was Polo's second Dauphine stage win, by the way, after one in 1956 and one of just three in his career. He finished fourth in that year's race, though, won by Louis Rostollan of France. 

Following that trip down cycling's memory lane, five minutes left to go before racing gets underway.

Here's a breakdown of what the riders have to tackle today:

Stage 4 of the 2023 Criterium du Dauphiné is an individual 31.1 kilometre time trial from Cours to Belmont-de-la-Loire, and it’s a crunch test you can split into four sections. It starts off straightaway with a short, not too hard, 2.2 kilometre ascent, then there’s a long gentle drop, next a 10 kilometre chunk of rolling terrain, and finally it climbs very slowly but steadily for 12 kilometres to the finish. Calculating your effort on such a mixture of gradients will not be simple, and whoever comes out on top of the results sheet at the end of the day will likely be the first clear GC contender.

Following the abandon of Andrey Zeits (Astana Qazaqstan) in the first, and biggest of a welter of late crashes on Tuesday, 140 riders are due to start today, although there's still time for teams to announce a late DNS.

Yesterday's race was marked by the post-stage relegation of sprinters Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-AIUIa), second and third across the line but subsequently demoted to 33rd and 34th. Find out why here:

Groenewegen, Bennett declassified for deviating in Critérium du Dauphiné sprint

Stage 4 is now underway, as Donovan Gondin (Arkéa-Samsic) starts. As King of the Mountains on a day when there are no KoM points on offer, for him today will likely be all about getting from A to B upright and crash/incident-free.

At the other end of the spectrum, today's stage offers both a chance for the specialist time triallists and the GC contenders to shine. Of the former, Rémi Cavagna (Soudal-QuickStep), aka 'the TGV of Clermont Ferrand' one of the top favourites - and if he wins, being French, that'd send the cycling statisticians scurrying to the history books to find out when the Dauphiné last had four French winners of the first four stages. (Clue: a heck of a long time ago).

Other top time trial specialist include former Hour Record holder Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny), multiple U-23 World Champion Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates), reigning US National TT Champ Lawson Craddock (Jayco-AIUIa)'s a long list.

However, the GC contenders will definitely want a shot at glory today and defending Tour de France champion, Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) is arguably the standout favourite. On a course like this that suits him down to the ground, the Dane will be looking to make his mark prior to the mountains.  He'll also likely use teammate Dylan van Baarle, another great time triallist (and former Dutch national champion back in 2018) who's just begun his TT, as a reference point. Vingegaard's start time: 1545.

12 riders of the 140 are now out on the course. With minute intervals between them all the way through to race leader Laporte at 1600, the results will be coming through thick and fast. 

For a full list of start times, look no further than here:

2023 Critérium du Dauphiné stage 4 start times

The view from the starting ramp from a few minutes ago

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A shot of early starter Dylan van Baarle (Jumbo-Visma) out on the stage 4 TT course

Dylan van Baarle (Jumbo-Visma) during the stage 4 TT of the 2023 Criterium du Dauphiné

(Image credit: Getty)

Stage 4 of the 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné

Start: Km 0 (Cours)

Checkpoint 1: Km 10.7 (Mars)

Checkpoint 2: Km 19.7  (Saint-Denis-de-Cabanne)

Finish: Km 31.1 (Belmont-de-la-Loire)

For the second day in a row, the weather is forecast to stay dry and mostly sunny for the afternoon, with temperatures of around 26 degrees. A slight breeze, but nothing major. 2023 Giro d'Italia, eat your heart out.

Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers) a renowned time triallist in his day, although his last TT win (and indeed win of any kind) dates from the Spanish Nationals in 2019, has just clocked the fastest intermediate time at checkpoint 1 (km 10.7): 12:17, four seconds faster than Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies). 

And here is Castroviejo in action today

Jonathan Castroviejo during the 2023 Criterium du Dauphiné stage 4 time trial

(Image credit: Getty)

Ben Turner (Ineos Grenadiers) is reported to have crashed out of the course.

Ryan Mullen (Bora-Hansgrohe), five times Irish National TT champion, currently has the provisional best time at the finish: 39:23.

One top stage favourite, Rémi Cavagna (Soual-QuickStep), has just started the race.

Castroviejo ousts Mullen from the top spot with a time of 38:33, a whopping 50 seconds faster than the Irishman.

Luke 'Turbo Durbo' Durbridge (Jayco-AIUIa) comes home with an excellent time of 38:36, just too slow to beat the Basque's time. His one WorldTour win to date, incidentally, was when the former U-23 World TT Champ. took the Dauphiné prologue back in 2012, held in a park in Grenoble, and when he finished one second faster than a certain Bradley Wiggins.

Durbridge during his near-miss TT ride

Luke Durbridge during the 2023 Criterium du Dauphiné stage 4 time trial

Luke Durbridge during the 2023 Criterium du Dauphiné stage 4 time trial (Image credit: Getty )

Talking of good time triallists...

Remco Evenepoel logs 231km training ride with 4,335m of climbing ahead of Tour de Suisse

Remco Evenepoel's huge training ride on June 6, 2023

(Image credit: Remco Evenepoel/Instagram)

Cavagna is smashing this. He's put 26 seconds into Castroviejo at the first checkpoint and 35 at the second.  Barring last-minute derailment the 'TGV of Clermont-Ferrand' will steaming into the hot seat soon.

Confirmation of just how fast that early descent is...

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Rémi Cavagna  (Soudal-QuickStep) clocks the new best time: 37:55, 38 seconds than Castroviejo

Enric Mas (Movistar) rolls out of the start. His goal today will be to limit the gaps on the other GC contenders, prior to making his mark in the mountains.

And here's some footage of Cavagna bringing it home...

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Only 33 riders - less than a quarter of the 140-strong field - are left to start now.

Rémi Cavagna, currently with the best time for the stage 4 TT, during today's race

Remi Cavagna during the 2023 Criterium du Dauphiné stage 4 TT

Remi Cavagna during the 2023 Criterium du Dauphiné stage 4 TT (Image credit: Getty)

David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), one of France's big hopes for the '23 Dauphiné after his breakthrough in weeklong stage races came earlier this year when he took second in Paris-Nice, begins his TT. Like fellow-climber Enric Mas, who started shortly before him, the goal in the time trial today, though, is damage-limitation.

Some words from Rémi Cavagna, currently the provisional stage leader, courtesy of Eurosport: "I gave it everything, things got quite tough about six kilometres to go, I didn't feel good, and I lost about 15 seconds, but then it all came together again in the finale."
"I started out hard [on the climb], but then I could recover on the descent and I think that was the secret to it. There's still a lot of people to come but I did ok, I didn't feel great yesterday [Tuesday], I was tired, but things worked out."

2020 Criterium du Dauphiné winner Dani Martinez (Ineos Grenadiers) is fastest at the first checkpoint of 11:51, the same time as Cavagna. He's the first GC contender to make a big impact today.

Reports coming through that Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R-Citroën) has crashed out. Also that Hugo Hofstetter (Arkea-Samsic) has not started.

Defending Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) starts out to big cheers. Second overall last year in the Dauphiné, he's the key reference point today for the GC.

What happens when you have an intermediate checkpoint at a town called Mars...

A foreign spectator applauds during stage 4 of the 2023 Criterium du Dauphine

A foreign spectator applauds during stage 4 of the 2023 Criterium du Dauphine (Image credit: Getty)

Martínez is seven seconds down on Cavagna at checkpoint 2. It's going to be touch and go.

A race organisation Tweet of Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) starting his TT.

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Gaudu comes through checkpoint 2 54 seconds down on Cavagna, not a bad time for the French climber.

Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) is on fire: he is just 1 second slower than Martínez and Cavagna at checkpoint 1.

Vingegaard marks the fastest time at the opening checkpoint, 12 seconds ahead of Martínez and Cavagna. No surprises there.

Former multiple U-23 TT World Champion Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates)  is tied on time with Cavagna at the second checkpoint.

Adam Yates continues to clock excellent times as he powers through the second checkpoint: he's only nine seconds down on reference point Cavagna.

After his very promising start, Daní Martínez crosses the line 40 seconds down on Cavagna. 

Vingegaard flashes through the second checkpoint in third place, one second down on Cavagna and Bjerg. It's all going to come down to the last third of the time trial.

Should Vingegaard turn up the volume in the finale, by the way, it'll be his first TT win since he took the time trial of O Gran Camiño in February and first WorldTour TT of his career.

Huge applause for Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) as he goes through his time trial paces. 

Jonas Vingegaard during the stage 4 TT

Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) during stage 4 of the 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné

Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) during stage 4 of the 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné (Image credit: Getty )

Bjerg grinds his way steadily up the final climb, looking in very good shape 

Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) roars home 27 seconds faster than Remi Cavagna (Soudal-QuickStep) to mark a new best time of 37:28.

Should Bjerg win, it'll be the first of his pro career. But there's another Dane out there doing a great time trial yet to finish...could be close.

Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) comes home, clocking an excellent provisional third place, 57 seconds down on his teammate Bjerg.

Ben O'Connor (AG2R-Citroën) posts a very good time as well, 41 seconds down on Bjerg.

Vingegaard, who has faded a bit at the end, crosses the line 12 seconds down on Mikkel Bjerg.

Still another 12 riders left to finish, but it's hard to see that anybody is going to trouble Bjerg's top spot overall.

Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) crosses the line well down on the top GC contenders. He finishes 2:37 down on Bjerg.

Barring surprises in these closing moments of the TT, Bjerg, tied on time with Vingegaard on GC before stage 4, might well be in the leader's jersey tonight.

Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) produces a notable time, crossing the line just 34 seconds down on Mikkel Bjerg.

Alaphilippe passes his minute-man, Richard Carapaz, as he approaches the finish. 

Race leader Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) is fighting bravely but as he said after stage 3, a time trial this distance did him no favours. He was 34 seconds down at the second checkpoint.

Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) finishes with a provisional 14th place.

Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) heads down the finishing straight, well out of the top spots and crossing the line 1:50 down on Bjerg.

Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) wins  stage 4 of the 2023 Criterium du Dauphine.

Vingegaard finishes 12 seconds down, with Cavagna third at 27 seconds.

The classification for stage 4 of the Criterium du Dauphine

Criterium du Dauphine 2023 stage 4 top 10

Criterium du Dauphine 2023 stage 4 top 10 (Image credit: First Cycling)

And here, courtesy of our colleagues at FirstCycling the overall rankings post stage 4: Bjerg is indeed in the lead, but he's got Vingegaard only 12 seconds behind and Ben O'Connor, third in last year's race behind Primoz Roglic and Vingegaard, is handily placed in fourth.

Overall classification after stage 4 of the 2023 Criterium du Dauphiné

(Image credit: FirstCycling)

Some words from an understandably emotional stage winner and new race leader Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) to the race organisation interviewer as he celebrates his first pro win at 24. And it was a big one.
"I worked so hard for this first pro victory and I'm just so relieved that I finally got it now. I feel like I had so many chances to do it and I didn't live up to my own expectation and yeah, even this morning I doubted myself and said the course was too hard."
"My manager text me and he said that I should just go for it, I had nothing to lose, I'm so happy."

Some more from Bjerg about how he handled an extremely difficult time trial to calculate your energy, with that tricky opening first climb, long fast descent and then draggy climb - where Vingegaard suffered, as he told reporters - to the finish.
"The first climb, I wanted to go hard but not above my limit because there were some really hard climbs to come. I just stayed within my limits, did the descent as good as I could, didn't take too much risks and then in the last 10 kilometres David, the team's aerodynamics specialist, he was in the car and really pushing me. Then in the last five kilometres I was on time with Cavagna and I could just power it home. I just thought about my wife and then I just sprinted to the finish line."
"I thank everybody that worked really hard behind the scenes this winter with the TT equipment. The team  was really pushing the sponsors and the sponsors really tried to deliver the fastest equipment possible and now we have really fast bike, a really fast clothes, so now it's the rider's time to shine."

Quite apart from taking the stage win, of course, Bjerg is in the overall lead: "I texted my coach Kevin yesterday, I said I wanted to go for the jersey and the stage and to be honest I think he was sitting in Australia thinking this guy's nuts, but yeah, he believed in me, we made a plan and I managed to live up to expectations."

A shot of Mikkel Bjerg en route to his first pro win and the overall lead in the 2023 Criterium du Dauphiné on stage 4.

Mikkel Bjerg during stage 4 of the 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné

Mikkel Bjerg during stage 4 of the 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné (Image credit: Getty)

Jonas Vingegaard, second on the stage and second overall, to reporters after the line:
"Of course,  I would hope to win the stage and take the jersey but I think Mikkel did a really good time trial today. I also did a good one, but Mikkel was really impressive. By now he'll take the jersey but hopefully I can get it back in the next few days."
"It was the plan to go off hard, maybe I went a bit too hard, I tried to save a bit in the middle, but when I tried to go in the last part, there was nothing to go with. So maybe I should have gone a bit easier in the start."

Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) in the leader's jersey of the Criterium du Dauphiné

Mikkel Bjerg in the lead of the 2023 Critérium du Dauphiné after winning stage 4

(Image credit: Getty)

The full Cyclingnews report on today's time trial, with full results and photo gallery is right here:

Critérium du Dauphiné: Mikkel Bjerg takes stage 4 time trial win, GC lead

Just one change in the secondary classifications, by the way, despite the upheaval in the GC as Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) oust Rune Herregodts (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) on top of the Best Young Riders ranking. Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) loses the overall lead but remains on top of the points ranking, Donovan Grondin (Arkea-Samsic) heads the mountains ranking and UAE Team Emirates, unsurprisingly, are still in charge of the teams classification.

Some notable changes there in the overall rankings, though, after UAE placed three riders in the top ten of the stage: Bjerg was first, of course, but also Felix Grosschartner placed sixth and Adam Yates - recently third in the Romandie TT, so seemingly raising his game there - was eighth. Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) turned in a very promising performance as well with fourth, Rune Herregodts (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) is another rider, in seventh, who is clearly stepping up his TT game.
It remains to be seen how Bjerg performs in the mountains, but at just 12 seconds behind, GC-wise Vingegaard remains, as expected, the post-TT key reference point.

On the opposite side of the coin when it come to time trial performances, Egan Bernal did not look at all comfortable when he completed the course and was well off the winners' times at 2:37. Whether it was illness, a bad day or something else that affected the Ineos Grenadiers rider will likely become clear in the next few stages. Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) was not on a good day either, caught by minute man Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep) during the TT and finishing at 2:39. Finally, Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) was off the pace, too, after what had been a very good season up to now, finishing 49th at 2:49. 

So what's next? Stage 5 of the Criterium du Dauphiné, 191.1 kilometres from Cormoranche-sur-Saône to Salins-les-Bains is flat in the first half but has a very lumpy second part. Although there could be a breakaway to decide the stage win, the fairly steep second category Côte de Thesy (3.6 km at 8.8%), situated 15 kilometres from the finish after a fast descent, has 'opportunity to test GC leader' written all over it.

2023 Critérium du Dauphiné stage 5 profile

(Image credit: ASO)

Something to look at  tomorrow while waiting for the Dauphiné live coverage to kick off maybe?

Tour de France Netflix series release time confirmed as details of first episodes emerge

That wraps things up from the Criterium du Dauphiné stage 4 live coverage today. There will be further updates, news and analysis on Cyclingnews as the evening progresses and check back for live coverage of stage 5 on Thursday. 

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