Report РCrit̩rium du Dauphin̩ Stage 6


First season win for Bakelants and a crash for race leader Chris Froome on stage 6 of the Critérium du Dauphiné

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Report РCrit̩rium du Dauphin̩ Stage 6

ASO Press Release
A spectacular stage winner of the Tour de France in Ajaccio last year, Jan Bakelants scored his first win for Omega Pharma-Quick Step in Poisy after winning a tormented two-man sprint against Lieuwe Westra of Astana.

Race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) got a fright as he crashed within ten kilometers but without any apparent consequence. He praised his rivals’ sportsmanship for waiting for him.


Photo: OPQS/Tim De Waele

After a very fast start from Grenoble, the capital of the Alps, and many attempts, it took half an hour to a sixteen man breakaway to be formed, comprising Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Sergio Paulinho (Tinkoff-Saxo), Julien Simon (Cofidis), Jens Keukeleire (Orica), Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Jean-Christophe Péraud (AG2R-La Mondiale), Pim Ligthart (Lotto), Aleksej Saramotins (IAM), Maciej Bodnar (Cannondale), Jens Voigt (Trek), Jan Bakelants and Zdenek Stybar (OPQS), Thomas Damuseau (Giant), Valerio Conti (Lampre), Bram Tankink (Belkin) and Cesare Benedetti (NetApp). At km 70, they reached a time gap of 5.55.

It wasn’t enough for Bakelants, 6.03 down on Chris Froome, to virtually put himself in the lead. Team Sky kept the race under control with a difference of five minutes between the front group and the pack for most of the race., one of the six teams that has missed the breakaway, sent two riders to the front in order to bring the gap down but with 32 kilometres to go, it was a bit too late. Briefly, Katusha took over as they imagined they could win for the third straight day but attacks occurred at the front once the escapees hit the hills located in the final 25 kilometres. A trio rode away on the 4th category côte de Marcellaz-Albanais: Ligthart, Westra and Bakelants. The peloton was at 3.20 at the top.

On the narrow and curvy roads of the finale, race leader Chris Froome crashed with ten kilometres to go, but the peloton slowed down to wait for him to come back as they already had no more hopes to bring the breakaway back. Ligthart couldn’t follow Westra when he attacked in the final climb but Bakelants did.

With eight kilometers to go, the race was coming down to a duel but Bakelants and Westra played a game of cat and mouse. They almost crashed during the final sprint. It was tight but Bakelants proved to be the fastest while his team-mate Stybar made it two in the top three for OPQS on that stage. Led by Tinkoff-Saxo in the finale, the peloton reduced the gap to prevent Bakelants from entering the top 10 on GC.

“This morning I felt really good,” Bakelants said. “But after two days in a breakaway, I wasn’t obliged to get into the action again. But then during the stage I asked myself ‘Why not’ and I jumped. I had nothing to lose and I knew that it was the last chance for a breakaway before the last two difficult stages. I jumped and Westra bridged to me”.


Photo: OPQS/Tim De Waele

“We went with a good group of riders and it was immediately clear that it could have been the breakaway of the day. In the breakaway we cooperated very well. Also Styby was there, which was perfect for our team. There were fast riders in the break, so the plan was that I had to counter the attacks and Styby could sit in the back waiting for the final sprint”.

“In one of attacks Ligthart and Westra went at about 20 kilometers to go. I bridged to them and we went. I was scared about Ligthart because I knew he is a fast guy and he could count on his sprint. But Westra attacked again and we dropped him.”

Westra attacked, with Bakelants following, at 8.4km to go. The two then were able to stay away until the line. Westra tried attacking several times, including on a steep gradient of about 15% with 2km to go in the stage. Bakelants stayed with every move. Westra tried launching first on the downhill in the approach to the finish line, but Bakelants took an inside line in the final turn and outsprinted Westra for the victory.

“In the final meters we launched the sprint and I passed on the right side between him and the fences,” Bakelants said. “I had good speed and I was able to pass him. When I crossed the line I was really over the moon. I have to say that my legs today were really good. Every day here at Dauphine I’m improving. It’s a good sign the condition is definitely there”!

“It’s my first victory after GP Wallonie in 2013. This year I was already close to victory. It’s like that in cycling, though. To win you have to try over and over again, and sooner or later the victory will arrive”.

“I think I did well for the first part of the season. I helped my teammates with great pleasure in several races and I played my cards when I had the occasion. That’s perfect for me! This victory in any case gives another dimension to my season so far. I’m very happy and I’m looking forward to the next appointments.”

Chris Froome – battered but not broken
The race leader Chris Froome said of his crash “Obviously, it is quite painful, but I was OK to finish the stage. It looks OK, I am just a little bit grazed for tomorrow. There’s nothing broken, nothing serious, so nothing a good night’s sleep won’t fix”.

“It is more just my hip, elbow and shoulder, but more than anything I just want to thank the other riders for neutralising the race. That is really big of them – good sportsmanship. I am not actually sure what happened. On the descent there was a hole in the road and I hit the hole and lost my front wheel.”

Froome added: “I’ll see how I’m feeling in the morning, but obviously I’ll do everything I can to try to sustain the yellow jersey. I imagine anyone with the legs in the final tomorrow will try to attack – that is where the race is going to be won or lost, I think”.

“It is not a climb that I know, but it is definitely going to be tough from what I can see. I expect, with a 12-second advantage, I am going to have to really fight to hold on to the yellow jersey, but it’s not up to me to attack now, it’s up to my rivals.

“I will see how I am feeling tomorrow after the crash today and see what I can do in the final. It never feels good after crashing. You always feel swollen and bruised, but it comes with the territory of being a cyclist”.


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