Critérium du Dauphiné stage 6: Valentin Ferron dashes out of break in final kilometer for surprise win
Ferron attacks out of six rider escape for stunning stage win, Wout van Aert retains GC lead heading into mountainous final weekend.
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Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergies) surprised his breakaway companions with a daring late move at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Ferron darted out of a six-rider escape in the final kilometer of stage 6 into Gap to score victory that his rivals may not have expected.
Breakaway favorites Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM) and Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) rounded out the podium after hesitating in the chase behind the fast-flying Ferron.
“It’s huge for me, we worked hard every day and it’s a WorldTour race so this is exceptional for me. It’s the biggest win of my career,” Ferron said. “You don’t get many chances like this so you have to take them.”
Friday’s result is just Ferron’s second pro victory, with his first coming at last year’s Tour du Rwanda.
Riding in a group of illustrious racers like Rolland, Barguil and pocket sprinter Andrea Bagioli (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) meant Ferron had to play it smart.
“I don’t have the best sprint and I knew Bagioli would have the advantage, so when I knew the line was close I just had to go for it – I can’t believe I made it,” he said.
VALENTIN FERRON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!#Dauphiné pic.twitter.com/sCpMK6kdpV
— Team TotalEnergies (@TeamTotalEnrg) June 10, 2022
Wout van Aert finished safely less than one minute behind the break to take his yellow leader’s jersey into the mountains this weekend.
The Jumbo-Visma rouleur has a 1:03 lead over Mattia Cattaneo (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), but could likely hand the race lead to grand tour supremo teammate Primož Roglič, who sits just three seconds further behind Cattaneo.
Gap plays host to another breakaway win
The attacking was relentless at the start of the stage offering one last hope of a breakaway or sprint win before a high mountain final weekend.
It took around an hour of racing before a cohesive break stuck and went clear after KoM jersey-wearer Rolland and then Barguil went away of the short and sharp Côte des Grands Goulets.
Ferron, Bagioli, Geoffrey Bouchard (Ag2r Citroën), and Victor Lafay (Cofidis) eventually made their way over to the French pair, and the six worked well to build out a lead of four minutes.
After missing their chance in stage 2 on Monday, the sprint teams looked like they didn’t want to miss out. Trek-Segafredo, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and the BikeExchange began piling on at the front as the race hit its final hour.
However with Bagioli and five French riders from five French teams on a stage-win mission in the break, the peloton struggled to cut the lead.
With the break still 2:30 up the road in the downward-tilting final 15km, the peloton’s day seemed done and the six breakaway riders started dialing in for a potential victory.
Bagioli was by far the fastest of the six, but the climbers didn’t use the final kicker at 10km to unhitch the Italian speedster.
Bouchard and then Ferron both made brief surges but nothing stuck.
Heading into the final kilometer sprint, all-eyes were on fast-legged Bagioli to score.
However Ferron struck first. The 24-year-old darted off the front at around 800m to go and launched a madcap TT to the line, leaving Bagioli and then Rolland to lead a chase that never looked likely of making the catch.
TotalEnergies now have two stage wins – including Friday’s victory in Gap, the host of many famous Tour de France breakaway victories – in the bag at this Dauphiné.
🏁 🇫🇷@ValentinFerron s’impose à Gap ! 🏆
🏁 🇫🇷@ValentinFerron takes the win! 🏆#Dauphiné pic.twitter.com/qAuEnDm7Mm
— Critérium du Dauphiné (@dauphine) June 10, 2022
What’s to come: Mountains
A high mountain double-header this weekend will decide who wears yellow at the end of the race.
Two huge HC climbs and a short summit finish to the Vaujany ski commune are squeezed into a brief 135km stage that will soften the legs Saturday.
The race’s final and toughest stage comes Sunday with another short and explosive Alpine excursion finishing with an 11.4km, 8.9 percent punisher up to Plateau de Solaison.
Results will be available once stage has completed.