Epic day in Criterium du Dauphine


Stage 6 in the Criterium du Dauphine saw Rui Costa win, Nibali take the leader’s jersey and Simon Yates 5th & Dan Martin 6th

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Epic day in Criterium du Dauphine


Stage 6 was set to be for attackers but very few actors expected them to be some of the most famous contenders. In a wet finale, Vincenzo Nibali showed his superiority in the front group formed with more than eighty kilometers to go. He took the lead over from Tejay van Garderen but missed out on his main goal, which was the stage victory as former world champion Rui Costa of Lampre-Merida overtook him in the last kilometre.

159 riders took to the start of stage 6 with Tejay van Garderen (BMC) in the lead of the Dauphiné for the first time in his career. It was a very fast start with many riders trying to take advantage of the lumpy parcours, not only the attackers down on GC but some of the biggest names in the race!

Vincenzo Nibali and Andriy Grivko (Astana), Wilco Kelderman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Romain Bardet and JC Péraud (AG2R), Adam and Simon Yates (Orica), Tony Gallopin and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Jonathan Castroviejo, Gorka Izagirre and Rory Sutherland (Movistar), Alberto Losada (Katusha), Tejay van Garderen and Rohan Dennis (BMC), Julian Alapahilippe (Etixx), Rui Costa (Lampre), Cyril Gautier (Europcar) and Stephen Cummings (MTN) rode away at km 30 and forced Team Sky to chase hard. Ten riders – but not the most famous of them – kept going until the peloton reeled them in at km 51.

Martin and Nibali: two top champions attacking from far out
Attacks went on and on. Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) and Nibali successively rode away solo. The 2014 Tour de France champion was alone at the front for almost twenty kilometres after the col de Grimone (km 75). At km 100, following another lone escape by Tony Martin, five riders gathered at the front: Nibali, Rui Costa, Tony Martin, Gallopin and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar). They got an advantage of 3.30 over the yellow-blue group after passing the col du Rousset where Nibali did all the work in the front group.

The riders had to face the pouring rain in the last hour of racing but it didn’t diminish the motivation of Nibali and co. Gallopin and Martin made their way back to the front on the downhill of col du Rousset but Martin, the only rider who wasn’t taking any turns at the front, got dropped with 22km to go.

Gallopin tried his luck 4.5km before the end but Nibali reacted and rode away solo with 1.4km to go. Only 300 metres before the line, Costa managed to come across. The Portuguese claimed his first ever stage victory at the Dauphiné while the Italian moved into the lead with two stages remaining.

Rui Costa: “It’s enormous!”
“We knew today’s stage would be difficult, very difficult. But we didn’t know it would rain and be cold in addition to racing on a hard course. It started very fast and it never slowed down. At some stage, the peloton exploded.”

“We went real fast on a downhill (col de la Croix-Haute), we saw a gap and we went flat out, after which I believe we’ve been flat out till the finish line. The final climb was hard, maybe less because of its gradient than the speed we rode at all day. Nibali went with two kilometers to go. I preferred to keep my own pace and handle the few strengths I had left.”

“I never gave up my ambitions to win the stage but only with 300 metres to go, and certainly not before, I could foresee the possibility to win. Usually I ride the Tour de Suisse but in a discussion with the team, we thought it would be better to do the Dauphiné in order to be less tired at the start of the Tour de France.”

“Initially I was supposed to take it easy and just see how my condition was. Yesterday, I wasn’t at my best but today I felt better. And being away with top riders like Valverde and Nibali, it’s enormous! It’s important to win my first stage at the Dauphiné. But I don’t know if I’ll be able to ride GC even though I’m second now. The legs will be tired after today but I’ll try to do my best in the last two stages”.


Vincenzo Nibali: “I think I’m crazy”
“Frankly, I was looking for the stage victory more than the yellow-blue jersey. I think I’m crazy. Yesterday I told Michele Scarponi that I’d try to break away if I was feeling good. He said ‘you’re mad’.”

“The day went well. I found an interesting company with riders of the caliber of Valverde, Rui Costa, Gallopin and Martin who had the same desire as I had. I didn’t go for such a long breakaway since I rode in the young categories. But I want to make up for the bad day I had yesterday. My legs didn’t respond as I wanted them to do. So when Team Sky raised the rhythm, I chose to let them go”.

“I also suffered the allergies a little bit but obviously with so much rain for about five hours, no such problem occurred. In the past, one of my characteristics has been to go well in the rain but that can happen only with a good condition. I needed to have at least one race at the front like today because my last race was quite a long time ago, it was the Tour de Romandie in April”.

“After which I recovered from the early part of the season that didn’t go that well for me. I’ve had a nice block of training in Tenerife with the team and I came to the Dauphiné looking for answers. I didn’t get them yesterday, that’s why I went on the offensive today. But I know by experience that it’s not ideal to have a too good shape at the Dauphiné”.

“Usually I come to this race looking for condition. Now that I’m in the lead, looking at defending, it will be a hard task considering the two difficult stages to come and the strong riders who are still in contention. A few years ago I realized that no Italian has ever won the Dauphiné. It might be something special for me but I prefer to keep my feet on the ground and take it day by day.

Simon Yates
“It’s been an incredible day. We rode flat out the whole stage. We always had to stay focused almost constantly in the rain. When I realized that we were only fifty riders left, I thought I could try and gain some time. I didn’t know what was going on because I was far from being fresh in the finale. No one could be fresh!”

“I’ve already had difficult days on the bike with rain and cold but at this speed with so many moves, I don’t know. Now I have the white jersey but it’s impossible to say if I’ll be able to keep it. With the two stages to come this week-end, anything can happen.”


1. Rui Costa, Lampre-Merida 4:29:23
2. Vincenzo Nibali, Astana Pro Team 0:00:05
3. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar Team 0:00:38
4. Tony Gallopin, Lotto Soudal 0:00:39
5. Simon Yates, Orica GreenEdge 0:01:24
6. Daniel Martin, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:01:46
7. John Gadret, Movistar Team 0:01:48
8. Tiesj Benoot, Lotto Soudal 0:01:59
9. Christopher Froome, Team Sky 0:02:12
10. Benat Intxausti, Movistar Team

11. Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing Team 0:02:14
25. Adam Yates, Orica GreenEdge 0:05:23

1. Vincenzo Nibali, Astana Pro Team 22:34:17
2. Rui Costa, Lampre-Merida 0:00:29
3. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar Team 0:00:30
4. Simon Yates, Orica GreenEdge 0:00:35
5. Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing Team 0:00:42
6. Benat Intxausti, Movistar Team 0:00:57
7. Christopher Froome, Team Sky 0:01:21
8. Tony Gallopin, Lotto Soudal 0:01:29
9. Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:30
10. Daniel Martin, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team

27. Adam Yates, Orica GreenEdge 0:09:55

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