Faun-Ardeche Classic 2023

The French one day race is back with the same route as the last two editions.


It starts with two laps to add plenty of climbing meters – which in total adds up to 3100.

The finale usually starts after the two laps. It is the last three climbs, that usually decide the outcome. That is the last 30 km.

The first climb that kicks thing off is Mur de Cornas. Shortly followed by Saint Remain de Lerps. It is a muro followed by a climb of 6.3 km at 7.1%. This is where McNulty was levels above his competition in 2022.

After the descent, the last climb of the day has to be ridden. Côte de Val d’Enfer is ridden three times in total, with the last ascent being 7.5 km from the line.

Below is the run-in to the finish from the top of Côte de Val d’Enfer.


Just like in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the wind will blow from the north with 6-7 m/s. We will have temperatures around 10 degrees C and no rain.

How will the race unfold?

Usually, it comes down to the longest climb of the day – Saint Remain de Lerps. We will have a nice tailwind on this climb – this suits the climbers more than the puncheurs.

I do not think a team stands out in terms of strength. There are a few teams with multiple options but this is usually just about who is in form. Who has the legs on the race day. It usually suits the rider in the mix of a puncheur and a climber. Gaudu and McNulty, the last two winners – while sharing the podium with Vansevenant, Kuss, Champoussin and Carthy.

I think it will follow the usual unfolding.


Higuita – in form at Algarve as usual. He already has a lot of race days and nothing on the calender before Amstel (if you dont count Drôme Classic in Sunday). He can cope with hills and with mountains of this length. I think he is one of the riders to beat.

Costa – currently just in top form. 10th in Algarve doesn’t really show how well he is climbing and sprinting at the moment. He is a top-5 contender for me.

Quick Step – Bagioli, Alaphilippe and Van Wilder. I have a feeling Van Wilder will carry over his impressive form while hoping Loulou soon returns back to his prime level. I think either Alaphilippe or Van Wilder will finish on the podium tomorrow.

Gaudu – won here in 2021. Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var was not really a race that suited climbers – tomorrow is a much better race for him. I think he is an excellent one-day racer and he has a fast sprint on a flat finish. A podium contender.

Skjelmose – he has kicked the season off well. A stage win in Etoile de Bessèges and Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. I am very curious just how much he will have developed over the winter. He can climb and he can sprint extremely well for a climber.

Honoré – was supposed to be starting the season off with a bang but had a setback. Now, a month after the races Down Under, I think he is ready to fight for a win. Back in 2021, he was fourth here. He is a much stronger rider now, climbing and sprinting faster.

Bardet – a flat finish is never optimal for him. We should see him fighting for the win but I doubt he will win.

Kron – is this a race too difficult for him? 9th in Ruta del Sol would argue otherwise. He is quite similar to Honoré, your typical “GT-breakaway” rider that tix all boxes. I hope to see him finish in the top-10.

Woods – first race of the season. I put him in the same category as Bardet – it is difficult for them to win when the race does not finish uphill.

Ulissi – I like his early season form but the climbers will make him suffer. If we see a reduced sprint and he is in it – he can win – but it is unlikely we will see it.

Who will win?

Who can climb on short and steep hills and mountains plus has a strong sprint? Well, a lot of the riders here.

I will take the winner from 2021 – David Gaudu.

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