A full-gas opener at the Dauphiné
Stage 1 of the Critérium du Dauphiné was billed as one for the sprinters, although the four classified climbs spread across the 191.8km route in the Ardèche department were sure to make the fast men’s task a demanding one, and the teams not counting any pure sprinters within their ranks took full advantage of the opportunity they were presented with.
After easily reeling in the three-man breakaway that went clear from the start, the peloton upped the tempo on Côte du Chambon de Bavas, putting many riders into the red and making it almost impossible for them to return. Things soon became chaotic at the front, and Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s Mikkel Honoré immediately saw an opportunity, clipping off the front and putting 15 seconds between him and the peloton.
On the descent, Mikkel was caught, but the Wolfpack continued to remain prominent, storming to the front with five kilometers to go and trying to surprise the bunch with an unexpected move launched by Rémi Cavagna just 1600 meters from the line. The French Champion instantly opened a gap, as confusion reigned for a moment at the head of the peloton, but despite his valiant effort the peloton made contact just ahead of the flamme rouge. In the sprint that followed, Jannik Steimle surfed wheels and used his rapid acceleration to get tenth place as Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) took the win in Brachastel, which welcomed the Dauphiné for the very first time.
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