Critérium du Dauphiné enters the Alps

Critérium du Dauphiné enters the Alps

Two iconic climbs, the Galibier and Croix de Fer turned the queen stage of the Dauphiné into a day of attrition, many riders being out on their limit by the pair of HC ascents which are set to feature also at next month’s Tour de France, when the peloton will tackle them on its way to what’s arguably the race’s most renowned ascent, the Alpe d’Huez.

This time, the riders finished in Vaujany, and on the slopes of the final climb two different stories unfolded. One concerned the remnants of the massive 18-man breakaway, which formed at the start of the stage and had Dries Devenyns in its ranks. The Belgian produced a brave effort on the two mammoth climbs, staying in the group until 20 kilometers to go, when a series of accelerations left only five men in the lead.

Of these, Carlos Verona (Movistar) proved to be the strongest and took the win. Behind, the GC contenders had their own fight. Dropped before the top of the Croix de Fer, Cattaneo staged an impressive comeback and returned to the favourites’ group, but this big effort and the hard slopes at the finish took their toll on him, and the Italian was distanced again when the attacks came.

Without panicking, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl’s 31-year-old rode his own tempo and concluded the stage some two minutes behind the breakaway. This put him outside the top 10 overall, but only for the smallest of margins, ahead of the final Critérium du Dauphiné stage, which will take the bunch to Plateau de Salaison.

 

Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images

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