Critérium du Dauphiné: Stage 1

Belgium’s Thomas De Gendt claimed a well deserved solo victory, his first one at the Critérium du Dauphiné, in Saint-Étienne on Sunday

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Critérium du Dauphiné: Stage 1

Belgium’s Thomas De Gendt claimed a well deserved solo victory, his first one at the Critérium du Dauphiné, in Saint-Étienne on Sunday

Already a stage winner at the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia and Paris-Nice, Frenchman Axel Domont who was the last rider able to follow him, finishing second in the region he hails from.

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): “Before the start of this Dauphiné I had marked a few stages to battle for the KOM jersey. It was my goal to conquer it today at to wear the polka dot jersey the next days, but it will be a different shirt.”

“Quite soon I noticed that I was the strongest man in the front group. Of course you need to make sure to eat sufficiently and to save as much energy as possible. To catch the KOM points I needed to go full gas each time, but at the end of the stage I still had enough power in my legs to attack.”

“When we had four minutes advantage left at the start of the local laps I understood that we had a huge chance of winning the stage. From then on I fully focussed on that goal. At one and a half kilometres from the last top, I dropped Domont. I knew that if I had about fifteen seconds lead at the top, I would win the stage. Then I tried to gain as much seconds on GC as possible. In 2011 I wore the yellow jersey three days at Paris-Nice. That was a wonderful experience. I am very much looking forward to the next days.”

“I must be able to keep the jersey till the time trial. I am now 1’09” ahead of the GC riders. When Froome is in shape, he can definitely ride one minute faster than me on such a time trial course, so we’ll see if I can keep the jersey on Wednesday. Maybe by a few seconds. The stage over Mont du Chat on Friday will be too hard for me. Then I can collect more KOM points though. I now have sixteen and next weekend there are a lot more to conquer.”

The Race

A peloton of 176 riders took the start of stage 1 of the 69th Critérium du Dauphiné before a seven-man breakaway formed on the col du Pilon (km 11.5); Axel Domont (AG2R-La Mondiale), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Antonio Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Silvio Herklotz (Bora-Hansgrohe), Delio Fernandez and Angel Madrazo (Delko Marseille Provence KTM). .. continued after advert


They got a five-minute lead at km 50 while the bunch was led by Team Sky. De Gendt rode for the polka dot jersey. After cresting the côte de la Roche (km 57) in first position, he continued riding solo at the front before waiting for his breakaway companions after the côte de Périgneux (km 61.5) where the maximum deficit of the bunch was recorded at 6.35.

The gap started to come down as Dimension Data took over from Team Sky at the head of the peloton and did enormous work along with Astana to bring back the breakaway. With 40km to go, the deficit was reduced to 3.15 but the lack of cooperation in the bunch led to an increase ten kilometers further: 3.45 with 30km to go.

The difference was 2.45 with 20km to go as De Gendt and Domont had now gone clear of the breakaway group on the second ascent of the côte de Rochetaillée on the final circuit in Saint-Étienne. De Gendt rode Domont off his wheel as he accelerated on the climb with 8km to go.

There was more action at the head of the peloton after Orica-Scott significantly reduced the gap before Diego Ulissi (UAE), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale) rode away. The Belgian from Lotto-Soudal reached the finish line in Saint-Étienne however with an advantage of 43 seconds over Domont while Ulissi crossed the line in third place.

De Gendt will wear the yellow jersey on stage 2 from Saint-Chamond to Arlanc.

Chris Froome (Sky): “It was a good stage and good for us to get that one out of the way without any major issues,” Froome explained after the race.  It’s my first day of racing since Romandie. Today was a good day to blow out the cobwebs and it was pretty grippy in the final there. Thomas De Gendt did well today and he’ll definitely hold onto the jersey for a few days. He’s obviously going well, but once we hit the big climbs I expect he’ll give up the jersey at one point.

“We did quite a bit of work early on, just to not let the break go too far, but it seemed like not many other people wanted to contribute until it was too late. For us it’s just about staying out of trouble, staying out of the wind and saving it for when it really matters.”

Richie Porte (BMC): “It was a hard stage to get things started. It’s just nice to get the race started as it seemed like we’ve been sitting in the hotel room forever. I think the team did a fantastic job today. It was the first time to ride with Kilian Frankiny and for me, he is going to be so good in the future. He was brilliant. He may be a neo professional but he was up with us the whole time and he was punching with some of the biggest names in cycling.”

“I think the signs are good for this week. We have a fantastic team here so we’ll just see how the next days go. Obviously the next weekend is the big crunch time. I think the GC guys will be on the look out everyday. There will be some hard starts with quite a lot of uphill starts but we’ll be looking more towards the time trial and mountain stages.”

Alberto Contador (Trek Segafredo): “It was a hard stage today, especially after a long time without competition,” said Contador who recently completed an altitude training camp in Tenerife. “I took some holidays after Pays Basque to disconnect a little, and then came back little by little. My biggest block of training came in Teide for more or less three weeks and then I am here at the Dauphine to continue.

“I did not work too much on intensity so that I am still fresh. This is the biggest difference from other years: I did less training behind the moto and less series of intensity. I did the training thinking about July. I will use this race as preparation for the Tour de France and my ambition is to finish this race with good condition.”
“I am happy because I felt very good,” added Contador. “I think my feeling was better than I hoped. I made some good watts in some parts of the stage, I made it through with no crashes, no problems, and it was a nice day of work for the legs.”

Pierre Latour (4th):  “In the finale, Diego Ulissi attacked. It opened a door for me to follow the move. We went very fast at the beginning of the downhill so I stopped pacing because we had Axel [Domont] just ahead of us. In the sprint, I was caught in between my two breakaway companions but Ulissi is very fast so I couldn’t beat him. It’s a pleasure to have the white jersey and we also came close to winning the stage with Axel so it’s a pretty good day for us as a team. Our goal this week is to have the best overall classification with Romain [Bardet]. If we can win a stage or two, it would be nice too. The white jersey isn’t really a priority. There are strong riders like Simon Yates who have more chances than me to have it at the end.”

Stage 1
1. Thomas de Gendt Lotto Soudal
2. Axel Domont AG2R La Mondiale 0:44
3. Diego Ulissi UAE Team Emirates 0:57
4. Pierre Latour AG2R La Mondiale
5. Emanuel Buchmann Bora – Hansgrohe
6. Sonny Colbrelli Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team 0:59
7. Julien Simon Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
8. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
9. Ben Swift UAE Team Emirates
10. Michael Valgren Astana Pro Team

15. Chris Froome Team Sky
21. Daniel Martin Quick-Step Floors
25. Richie Porte BMC Racing Team
29. Romain Bardet AG2R La Mondiale
39. Alberto Contador Trek – Segafredo
44. Simon Yates ORICA-Scott
45. Peter Kennaugh Team Sky
89. Scott Thwaites Dimension Data 5.47
98. James Shaw Lotto Soudal 6.45
140. Luke Rowe Team Sky 13.08
144. Ian Stannard Team Sky

1. Thomas de Gendt Lotto Soudal
(also leads Points & Mountains)



Send your results as well as club, team & event news here


Other Results on VeloUK (including reports containing results)

Other News on VeloUK