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Vingegaard rides into his Tour de France title defense next month with the confidence of a dominant 2:23 GC victory in the prestigious French tune-up race that was once seen to herald incoming Tour winners.
Adam Yates (UAE Emirates) and Ben O’Connor (Ag2r-Citroën) completed the classification podium to also give them a tailwind toward the Tour’s grand départ.
“I’m very, very happy to win, this is one of the biggest races in the world,” Vingegaard said.
Vingegaard finished second at last year’s Dauphiné after helping teammate Primož Roglič. This year, he was the team’s undisputed captain and will carry the armband toward the Tour on July 1.
“I think I can be very satisfied with the whole week, I think I’m in good shape and the whole team rode fantastically … Now I relax a few days then I start final preparations for the Tour de France,” he said. “I still have a bit of work to do, but not much.”
Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) won the multi-mountain Alpine assault that was the race’s final stage Sunday.
The Italian rode his breakaway companion Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) out of his wheel and fended off a late chase by Vingegaard on the steep kicker to the finish line.
Victory sees Ciccone turn a page on the heartbreak he suffered when COVID-19 derailed his anticipated Giro d’Italia start earlier this summer. He will play a key part in Trek-Segafredo’s Tour de France ambitions next month.
“I had 10 days without the bike so my condition wasn’t 100 percent. I started here with the Tour in my head, and I saw this week my condition was improving. So I’m really pleased to close the week with victory,” Ciccone said.
“The Tour de France is now really close, but before that, I’m getting married next week. This is a gift for my future wife.”
Sunday’s stage made for a severe end to the race. Six categorized climbs were loaded into a punchy 153km parcours that included a wall-like 2km climb to the line.
Alaphilippe celebrated his 31st birthday Sunday by animating much of the stage.
The French ace made the early nine-rider break as he went hunting a celebratory stage win and possible GC raid. Alaphilippe attacked all day long, leaving only Ciccone, Clément Champoussin (Arkéa Samsic), and Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) in his wheel ahead of the final 40km and its flurry of climbs.
⛰ #Dauphiné 2023 – Etape 8
🚩 Le Pont-de-Claix – La Bastille Grenoble 🏁
📏 152,8 km
⏰ Départ / Start : 10h10 / 10:10 AM
🏁 Arrivée prévue / Estimated arrival: 14h53 / 2:53 PM
— Critérium du Dauphiné (@dauphine) June 11, 2023
Alaphilippe posed a GC threat after he started the stage 3:48 back, and the classification contenders didn’t let him get too far.
The hot pace by Ineos Grenadiers, Bora-Hansgrohe and Jumbo-Visma meant GC stars like David Gaudu (Groupama FDJ), Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), Richard Carapaz and Esteban Chaves (both EF Education EasyPost) all popped out the back before the final hour of racing clicked into gear.
Alaphilippe attempted his winning move 25km from the line on the Cat.1 Col du Porte. He accelerated away at the base of the Col, but couldn’t shake Ciccone.
The Italian played it cool all day long while Alaphilippe burned all his matches. Ciccone burst away over the summit of the Porte, and Alaphilippe popped.
It was in balance all through the final whether Ciccone would have the legs to hold on as the peloton lit up in the final 20km. The race for the GC podium was tightly coiled at the start of the day, and Yates, O’Connor and Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) were all jousting for a marquee result.
Ciccone railed the final descent as his advantage at the front began to shrink. His wild down-hilling handed him a one-minute gap over the bunch ahead of the 14 percent kicker of the Bastille summit finish.
UAE Emirates pile-drived the group into the Bastille as the team tried to set up Yates.
But when Vingegaard pressed the accelerator, nobody could follow. He attacked 800m from the line and went hunting after Ciccone and a possible third win of the week. The Dane chewed into Ciccone’s gap but couldn’t make the bridge and had to make do with second on the stage. But the overall objective of GC victory was well in the bag.
Vingegaard’s Tour de France foe Tadej Pogačar will take note.
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Stage 7: Jonas Vingegaard dominates in pre-Tour de France demonstration
Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) made a pre-Tour de France powershow Saturday with mountaintop victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
The Dane exploded out of the GC pack 5km from the line of stage 7’s headliner stage through the Alps and never looked back as he blitzed to his second victory of the week.
Now with a 2:11 lead on the classification, Vingegaard is well-poised for overall Dauphiné victory Sunday and has reasserted his pomp as defending Tour de France champion just weeks ahead of the grand départ.
“I felt good today, I wanted to go for the stage and the boys worked for me all day. We had a plan to go for it and I’m really happy to take the win and repay my teammates,” Vingegaard said at the finish.
One last day in the mountains stands in the way of Vingegaard winning the Dauphiné for the first time in his career. He will then work through a final block of training before he pins on the number 1 bib for the opening stage of the Tour de France.
“Tomorrow is another day, we’ll see how I feel and how everything is. This is one of the biggest races in the world. I always dreamt to just ride it, so I would be super happy to win,” he said. “I don’t think (I’m at my peak). I still have some work to do ahead of the Tour de France actually.”
Adam Yates (UAE Emirates) chased solo to finish second on Saturday’s Croix de Fer summit finish, and jumped up to second overall.
Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) accelerated out of the remnants of the GC group a few kilometers from the high-altitude summit finish on a mission to move up the classification. He did enough to keep his compatriot Ben O’Connor (Ag2r-Citroën) at bay to earn third on the stage but couldn’t gain enough time to move to third overall.
O’Connor is now third on GC, just 12 seconds ahead of Hindley.
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) June 10, 2023
Stage 7 was the “queen stage” of the mountain-packed Dauphiné.
Despite being “only” 148km long, Saturday’s Alpine grinder packed around 4,000m vert into three marathon-length climbs. Tour de France favorites the Col de la Madeleine and Col du Mollard sapped the peloton’s legs before a knockout mountaintop finish on the 2,000m-high Croix de Fer.
The bunch was happy to let a break go after around 20km of racing as Vingegaard and Co. waited on the climbing to come.
Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny), Remi Cavagna (Soudal Quick-Step), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), and Madis Mihkels (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) led a handful of small breakaway groups over the Madeleine, but even with five minutes of a gap, it seemed inevitable they’d be caught whenever the favorites wanted.
Campenaerts was last rider remaining from the break. The burly Belgian was caught on the descent of the Mollard after around 120km out front, but counted it “job done” after he amassed enough mountain points to move into the polka dot jersey.
Jumbo-Visma did most of the pulling in the day’s first two climbs and continued to set the tone on the Croix de Fer finale.
David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious) both dropped out of the GC group 6km from the summit in what may ring alarm bells in their team busses ahead of the Tour de France.
Vingegaard made his winning surge a full 5.3km from the line. The Dane kicked out of the reduced peloton, blew Yates off his wheel, and gained hundreds of meters within seconds.
Yates made a strong pursuit, but never looked likely to catch the rampaging race-leader.
Attaque de Jonas Vingegaard qui part en solitaire !
— Critérium du Dauphiné (@dauphine) June 10, 2023
O’Connor piled on in the next group back as he sensed his second-place on GC going toward Yates, but was rounded by Hindley a few kilometers from the summit. O’Connor limited his losses in the final ramps to narrowly maintain his spot on the podium.
Sunday’s final stage will be no easier than Saturday’s eye-watering affair.
The Dauphiné concludes on stage 8 with a saw tooth monster that packs 4,200m elevation into six shorter categorized climbs, including an extra-steep kicker to the finish line at La Bastille.
Vingegaard has two minutes to play with, and after Saturday’s demonstration, nobody will be expecting him to lose it.
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Stage 6: Georg Zimmermann delivers breakaway win in rollercoaster finale
Georg Zimmermann (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) averted heartbreak to score a palmarès-headlining victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
The 25-year-old German attacked out of the break in the final 2km of the mountainous final of Friday’s sixth stage, was caught 500m from the line by Mathieu Burgaudeau (Total Energies), then sprinted out of his rival’s wheel for a stage finish from a tragicomedy flick.
Race-leader Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) lit up a simmering peloton deep in the final but couldn’t shake his GC rivals ahead of the two severe mountain stages that will wrap up the race this weekend.
All the favorites came to the line together, meaning Vingegaard maintains a 1:10 lead over the classification.
Stage 7 on Saturday could see the overall standings explode however. Infamous Tour de France climbs the Madeleine and Croix de Fer tower over a stage stacking 4,000m of ascent and a high-altitude finish.
“It was because someone else started the show, if you can say,” Vingegaard said of his late surge. “Johannessen made a good attack and I was looking to counter, but the climb wasn’t long or hard enough to make the selection.”
Zimmermann earned his first WorldTour win after a big day of attacking the break.
“I just gave everything, I know the parcours because there was a Tour de l’Avenir stage here in 2018. I was in a similar situation but the GC favorites sprinted around me with 200m to go,” Zimmermann said.
There were a few heart-in-mouth moments when Zimmermann was briefly reeled in by Burgaudeau within sight of the finishline.
“I’m an optimistic person, I never fear to lose, I’m always hoping to win, so for me second is also a nice result so I don’t fear getting second,” Zimmermann said. “Every day I give my best and today it was good enough to win a stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné. I’m glad all my hard work finally paid off.”
Exténué et déçu, @mat_burgaudeau a tout donné jusqu’à la ligne d’arrivée
— Critérium du Dauphiné (@dauphine) June 9, 2023
Friday marked a mountainous appetizer ahead of the Dauphiné’s kingmaker final weekend through the Alps.
The 170km ride into the foothills of the mountains delivered a sting in the tail with a long cat 2 climb ahead of two short kickers to the finish atop the cat 3 ascent of Crest-Voland.
Zimmermann and Burgaudeau were part of a strong 14-rider break that had got away after a long battle with the peloton. The group took a three-minute lead into the first of the three climbs that fell 40km from the finish of the backloaded stage, and the break soon exploded all over the road.
The leaders split into bits on the Aravis climb, and Zimmermann, Burgaudeau, and Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers) led the race over the summit.
Trek-Segafredo and Uno-X drilled the peloton, 90 seconds back, and the stage looked like it could swing either direction.
Race-leader Vingegaard seemed happy to let the stage go to the breakaway so he could cool his jets for the two harder stages to come.
It was only when Tobias Johannessen antagonized Vingegaard in the final few kilometers that the GC favorites moved. Vingegaard countered the Norwegian’s acceleration, but Ben O’Connor (Ag2r-Citroën) was right on the wheel and the group came together ahead of the final.
The stage win played out with a mix of drama and near-comedy.
Zimmermann made a diesel engine attack around 1500m from the line and slowly but surely grew out his gap.
The young German looked like he was in for a solo victory before Burgaudeau clawed him back within sight of the line.
Burgaudeau led out the sprint from a long way out and looked the stronger, but Zimmermann mustered all remaining strength to serve a powering sprint that delivered a result way at the top of his young palmarès.
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Stage 5: Jonas Vingegaard doubles up with stage win, GC lead with opportune attack
Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) sent a warning shot to his rivals Thursday with a searing attacking over a second-category to double-up with the stage win and the leader’s jersey at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
A day after missing out on a stage win in Wednesday’s time trial, the defending Tour de France champion rode the peloton off his wheel to surge into the yellow jersey in the lumpy fifth stage.
Vingegaard made also made an emotional statement relating toward an attack in nearby Annecy, where several people were stabbed during an unfolding story in France.
“Actually I didn’t want to attack today. I just wanted to defend myself. Then they attacked, and I was working with Richard [Carapaz], and then he couldn’t follow anymore,” Vingegaard said. “I’m very happy with the win today. On a day like today, with what happened in Annecy, it doesn’t matter what happens in cycling. My thoughts are with all the families.”
Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) led home a chase group at 31 seconds in arrears to slot into second and Ben O’Connor third, but Vingegaard is now in the driver’s seat at 1:23 in yellow.
An early break was duly reeled in coming into the day’s major hurdle at the Côte de Thésy (3.7 km at 8.2%) with 14km to go.
EF Education-EasyPost’s Carapaz, who ceded nearly three minutes in Wednesday’s time trial, jumped with 17km to go in a bid to try to win the stage. Only Vingegaard could mark the sneaky move.
“Today’s stage was really fast and we wanted to try something in the end. I’m not disappointed. The idea was to see how far we could go,” Carapaz said. “In the end, I couldn’t keep up with the pace and the strongest won. We still need to improve a little bit and we’ll do it step by step. There is still almost a month until the Tour so we want to finish the Dauphiné well and see how much work we still have ahead of us. We won’t stop trying. This race really suits our abilities.”
Overnight leader Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) was stranded without teammates, and a late crash didn’t help, and he lost contact on the climb.
“The team worked well through the stage because we need to get the peloton closer to the breakaway. One we had done it, I was hoping to stay with the GC group but I crashed in a turn at a very bad moment and I never managed to get back,” Bjerg said. “But I can’t have much regret, I would have lost the jersey anyway because I was only 12 seconds ahead of Jonas. Now, I still have the white jersey, but I can’t hope to keep it for long. Maybe tomorrow, but that’s it. The gaps are really small.”
Vingegaard turned on the turbos to drop Carapaz, and ride into the virtual lead. A day after the disappointment of missing the win in the time trial, the Dane took advantage of the opportunity.
Vingegaard topped out over the final climb with about 35 seconds on the reduced chasing group. It was a drag race all the way to the line.
The Dauphiné finally moves into higher ground Friday with the 170.2km sixth stage from Nantua to Crest-Voland.
Friday’s stage is stacked up with two second-category climbs, with the final summit at the Côte de Clermont-en-Genevois (7.9 km at 4.5%) is spicy enough to whittle down the GC.
Vingegaard is looking strong, and it will be interesting to see any of his would-be Tour de France rivals will try to light up the Alps in the hardest climbs this weekend.
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Stage 4: Mikkel Bjerg pips Jonas Vingegaard in time trial in GC shakeup
Jonas Vingegaard didn’t win the day, but he could well be on the way to winning the overall title at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
The defending Tour de France champion kicked to second Wednesday in the decisive 31.1km individual time trial behind compatriot Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates), who also doubled up to snatch the overall leader’s jersey.
Vingegaard might not have the yellow jersey yet, but he’s well-positioned with the a string of searing climbs looming this weekend in the French Alps after finishing 12 seconds slower than Bjerg but well ahead of GC rivals.
“Of course I would have hoped to win the stage and take the yellow jersey. Mikkel did a good time trial today, and I also did a good time trial. Hopefully I can take the jersey in the next few days. We don’t have to pull tomorrow. That was the plan to go off hard. Maybe I went a bit too hard. I tried to save a bit, and go again in the last part, but when I had to go, there was nothing to go with.”
Overnight leader Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) faded as expected, and French rider Remi Cavagna (Soudal Quick-Step) set an early marker and would eventually finish third on the stage.
Bjerg, a three-time U23 world time trial champion, turned on the afterburners to claim his first pro victory.
“I’ve worked so hard for this. It’s my first pro victory. I am just so relieved that I finally won now. I had so many chances to do it, and I just didn’t live up to my own expectations,” Bjerg said. “Even this morning I doubted myself and said the course was too hard. I am just so happy. The first climb I wanted to go hard but not over my limit.
“I just stayed within my limit and I didn’t take too much risk. The last 5km, I was tied on time, and I just powered it home. I just thought about my wife, and sprinted to the finish line.”
Vingegaard moves into the “virtual GC,” nearly 30 seconds ahead of his closest GC rival in Ben O’Connor (Ag2r-Citroën).
The 75th Dauphiné continues Thursday with the 191km fifth stage from from Cormoranche-sur-Saône to Salins-les-Bains. A short but steep second-category climb with 14km to go will surely prompt attacks if a breakaway doesn’t hold sway.
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Stage 3: Christophe Laporte wins again, Bennett and Groenewegen relegated in controversial finale
Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) won for the second time in three days in a crash-marred finale Tuesday that came alive with crashes and speed after an otherwise routine stage at the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Sam Bennett (Bora Hansgrohe) opened up the sprint, but closed the door on the right hand side to stifle Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-AlUla). Laporte saw a clean shot to the line and finished it off to widen his lead in the overall standings, with Bennett second and Groenewegen, clearly angry at Bennett, in third.
Somewhat surprisingly, the race jury not only relegated Bennett, but Groenewegen as well.
Here’s the new top-5:
1. Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma)
2. Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates)
3. Milan Menten (Lotto Dstny)
4. Hugo Hofstetter (Arkéa Samsic)
5. Matevz Govekar (Bahrain Victorious)
With Bennett and Groenewegen sprinting along the fences, Laporte found the door wide open down the middle of the finishing stretch, and bolted to another victory to match his win Sunday to open the French stage race.
“It’s a bit unexpected. Of course, I wanted to sprint but I always said I’m fast but not enough to beat these riders. Things went my way today,” Laporte said. “Dylan Groenewegen was boxed on the right side, Bennett was on the limit. and it allowed me to pass on the left.”
Bennett saw the perfect leadout, but didn’t seem to have the legs to get to the tape, and veered right off his line to close down the fast-charging Groenewegen, who was forced to double-back and shook his head in frustration. The jury relegated both, but it didn’t matter anyway, as Laporte came off the wheels to drive straight across the finishing line without anyone in front of him.
“The team protected Jonas [Vingegaard] and I enjoyed their work. That was the plan. I was a bit boxed in with 500 metres to go but then I found the opening,” Laporte said. “It’s always nice when it’s unexpected. It’s a good day. I’m not sure I’ll be able to defend the jersey tomorrow. I like time trials, but I prefer when they’re shorter, like 15, maybe 20 kilometers. Over 30 kilometers, I think it will be difficult but I’ll try to do well and to honor the jersey.”
Christophe Laporte is on fire
The Team Jumbo-Visma rider navigates a chaotic finale and wins Stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné
— Velon CC (@VelonCC) June 6, 2023
With Wednesday’s time trial on tap, the sprinter teams wanted to deliver the bunch sprint for their fast finishers.
With a bunch sprint in the cards, no one even bothered to try to ride into a breakaway. One rider from Total Energies gave a tepid attempt early, and then realized he’d be on a road to nowhere, and quickly sat up.
The bunch rode tempo before things got spicy in the closing 20km, with a pileup on a narrow bridge and then yesterday’s winner Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) puncturing at a bad moment with 7km to go. A few more riders crashed coming through a roundabout with under 2km to go. Yet another crash with 850km took down a few more.
The Dauphiné continues Wednesday with the 31.1km fourth stage from Cours to Belmont-de-la-Loire. The rolling course will shake up the GC, and should see Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) surge into the yellow jersey.
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Stage 2: Julian Alaphilippe back in high life again
Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) sprinted back into the winner’s circle Monday with a perfectly timed sprint to win stage 2 at Critérium du Dauphiné.
The two-time world champion celebrated his second win in 2023 after a washed-out spring campaign after coming off a surprise shot from Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost), who snatched six seconds in time bonuses with second. Natnael Tesfatsion (Trek-Segafredo) crossed the line third in the grinding, uphill finale.
“It was a difficult victory to claim, but it feels good because the last few months have felt quite long,” Alaphilippe said. “I worked hard and to taste success again, especially in the Dauphiné, it’s a relief.
“I had good legs and every one around me looked to be struggling. I did my effort at the right moment. I couldn’t dream of anything better,” he said. “I said I wanted to win a stage and I’ve already done it on the second day. I can be more relaxed now but I’ll give my best because I’m very motivated.”
Pre-race favorite Jonas Vingegaard finished safely in the bunch after playing the role of leadout man for the second day in a row, but suffered the loss of key helper Steven Kruijswijk. The Dutch rider crashed out early, leaving Jumbo-Visma with only six riders remaining in the race.
Team officials later confirmed that Kruijswijk broke his collarbone and pelvis, meaning that he will miss next month’s Tour de France. Just this weekend, team brass confirmed that the veteran would be part of the team to support Vingegaard in his yellow jersey defense.
Overnight leader Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) couldn’t repeat as the winner or grab finish-line bonus sprints to finish fourth, but retained the leader’s jersey, now tied with his compatriot.
“It was a hard stage, with a hard finale. I was at the front pretty early and I had to open up the sprint from a bit too far. Maybe it wasn’t the best decision but waiting more would have been risky,” Laporte said. “I felt the other riders and I missed a little bit to win again. The legs did the talking. To retain the leader’s jersey is a nice satisfaction.”
Steven broke his collarbone and suffered a pelvic fracture in a crash just after the start of the second stage.
Get well soon, @s_kruijswijk!
— Team Jumbo-Visma cycling (@JumboVismaRoad) June 5, 2023
An early break tapped away early on the circuit course, with two riders — Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) and Victor Campernaerts (Lotto Dstny) — reeled in on the final short climb on the closing circuit about 10km from the line.
“At the start this morning, the tactic was kind of ‘you never know, maybe Jumbo-Visma will let the jersey slip away’. So I made the breakaway and we tried our luck,” Campernaerts said. “I’m coming back from injury, so it was already important to be able to spend a stage at the front. What I will remember is that I had a good time, and we worked well with Elissonde in the final. Combativity is not the prize we dream of the most, but to be on the podium of the Critérium du Dauphiné, you have to be in good shape.”
Tobias Bayer (Alpecin Deceuninck) launched a flare on the climb to clear the Côte des Guêtes to put pressure on the sprinters who suffered across the lumpy stage. Vingegaard reeled a late attack from EF Education-EasyPost, and Carapaz jumped early only to set up Alaphilippe.
The race continues Tuesday with the 194.1km stage from Monistrol-sur-Loire to Le Coteau opens with short but sharp second-category that will trigger a break, but the sprinters will want another chance for the spoils. A fourth-category climb with under 8km to go will be little more than a speed bump ahead of a likely mass gallop.
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Stage 1: Laporte breaks heart of breakaway hero to win opener
Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) broke the heart of breakaway survivor Rune Herregodts (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) when he nipped sprint victory in stage 1 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Herregodts was part of the day’s early break Sunday and managed to fend off the fast-charging peloton all the way through to the final hundred meters of a tough hilly stage.
The catch was made agonizingly close for Herregodts, who had made a ragged last-gasp pursuit for victory.
Laporte’s powerful kick out of the reduced bunch rocketed him past the young Belgian and scored him a third victory of the season.
“It was really on the limit, with the rain on the downhill,” Laporte said afterward. “The last rider at the front [Herregodts] was going really fast, he gained some time.
“It was a hard nervous day. We could see him in front of us but you never really know, and all the team gave everything. Even Jonas [Vingegaard] led me out until the last 300 meters.”
Matteo Trentin (UAE Emirates) finished second, while Herregodts saw some consolation by finishing third.
Laporte’s victory hands him the Dauphiné’s first leader’s jersey with a four-seconds advantage over Trentin.
Top GC favorites like Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma), David Gaudu (Groupama FDJ), Adam Yates (UAE Emirates), and Ben O’Connor (Ag2r Citroën) all finished at the same time in the group.
Absolute heartbreak for Rune Herregodts, caught in the final meters #Dauphiné
He hang on to 3rd place but he’ll be back!!! pic.twitter.com/x3I3jHWuo3
— Intermarché-Circus-Wanty (@IntermarcheCW) June 4, 2023
Racing was tough all day Sunday in the Puy-de-Dôme Department of France.
Herregodts got away with four others in the opening kilometers of the stage in what looked like a typical “doomed” breakaway for the TV cameras.
When Soudal Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma set a savage pace in the bunch, it looked like all would play per the script.
The tempo dropped pure sprinters like Dylan Groenewegen (Jayo-AlUla) and Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and rapidly shrank the gap to the escapees.
Herregodts’ last remaining breakaway companion was caught around 10km from the line when Jumbo-Visma began piledriving on the front for Laporte, and it looked like the 24-year-old Belgian’s day was done.
However, Herregodts made the descending TT of his life as he nursed just a handful of seconds advantage at the front of the race. The final minute of the stage went down to the wire, and it briefly looked like the sprint teams might just have missed their chance.
But it wasn’t to be as more and more teams added to the chase, and Herregodts had his heart broken within sight of the finish line.
Sprint contenders Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) and Hugo Page (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) were both forced to abandon after intermittent storms left roads slick and caused a spate of crashes.
Racing resumes Monday in a stage to La Chaise-Dieu which may work out more favorably for the fast-finishers that missed out Sunday.
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