Dauphine: Stage 7

British 1-2 as Peter Kennaugh attacks best mate Ben Swift to win stage 7 of the Dauphine – Porte puts time into Froome and other GC rivals on Alp d’Huez

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Dauphine: Stage 7

Britain’s Peter Kennaugh claimed his second stage victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné after he won the inaugural stage in Albertville in 2015. He rode away from the breakaway group along with his best mate Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) who he knew was also a dangerous rival and so attacked on the climb to finish on his own. Richie Porte retained the yellow-blue jersey and even increased his advantage over runner up Chris Froome who couldn’t hold his pace.

158 riders started stage 8 of the 69th Critérium du Dauphiné from Aoste to L’Alpe d’Huez, 168km. Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) initiated the main breakaway of the day as he sped up the first climb of the day, the category 4 côte de Berland (km 27.5).

In three waves, a breakaway of 17 riders was eventually formed at km 35 with the addition of Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale), Jesus Herrada (Movistar), Koen Bouwman (LottoNL-Jumbo), Jelle Vanendert (Lotto-Soudal), Ignatas Konovalovas (FDJ), Maurits Lammertink (Katusha-Alpecin), Lennard Hofstede (Sunweb), Antonio Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac), Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Scott Thwaites (Dimension Data), Ben Swift and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates), Thomas Degand (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Delio Fernandez and Mauro Finetto (Delko Marseille Provence KTM).

Bouwman defended his lead in the King of the Mountains competition as he crested the col de Cucheron and the col de Porte in first position. The advantage of the 17 leaders was 5.10 at the exit of Grenoble (km74) as they headed towards the valley of the Oisans. A maximum time gap of 6 minutes was recorded at Vizille, km 93.

On the much awaited ascent to the col de Sarenne, Fernandez, Vandendert and Kennaugh rode away from the front group. Herrada, Swift and Ulissi then made it a six-man group on the most difficult climb of the day. Kennaugh and Swift then formed a British duo at the summit while Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) rode away solo from the yellow-jersey group controlled by race leader Richie Porte and his BMC team-mates.

The Frenchman Bardet joined Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac) who had also gone clear. Kennaugh meanwhile soloed to victory 3.3km before the end as he tackled the last part of the traditional ascent to L’Alpe d’Huez. Behind, Bardet got rid of Talansky on the final climb whilst Richie Porte made his move in the final kilometre to go clear.

Alberto Contador managed to follow him initially but only stage 6 winner Jakob Fuglsang could hold Porte’s pace so the race leader increased his advantage over Chris Froome to more than one minute on GC ahead of the stage on Sunday on top of the Hors-Category climb to Plateau de Solaison.

Peter Kennaugh – “Its incrediable. This time of the year is always kind to me, as soon as we get into June and July, I seem to have really good form. The Dauphine is one of my favourite races because of the terrain and what a day out”.

“Being on Alpe d’Huez makes it all the more special. Plus, I didn’t even know I was coming to this race a week before. I was at altitude training in preparation for the Tour de Suisse and then three days before the race they said I had to come here because of injury and illness. Now, here I am. It’s funny how the world works sometimes! We didn’t speak much. Over the top of the Col de Serrada we knew because we know each other so well that we’d have good cohesion and could pull away from the other two.”

“Because we know each other so well we don’t really have to talk. Then it was a bit like the nationals – tense. We’re best of mates, but Alpe d’Huez is too big a win to gift either way so it was a fight to the line.”

“We set out to go in the break and make it hard for BMC and put them under pressure and you could see once the break was established, it had a good chance of staying to the finish.”

“What a way to be in the race with one of my best mates Swifty and it was something special coming over the top with him. Chapeau to him for coming second on a mountain day.”

“I think Swifty was there intially to help Ulissi who was also in the break. I have raced with Swifty since we were 9 years old and during our under 23 days in Italy, on his day, when he is really good, he is a super climber and he showed that today.”

“I wasn’t super confident I was going to beat him so I knew I had to get rid of him before the sprint so I when we turned right onto the last climb, I gave it everything. “He was holding me there though so it was never easy.”

The British national championships are on Kennaugh and Swift’s home patch this year – the Isle of Man – and he joked: “Tables could turn at the nationals – we’ll have to see!”

Richie Porte: “It was a good day. Attack is the best form of defense. All I can say is my team worked incredibly today, especially Ben Hermans in the final. He covered the moves from the biggest riders. I tip my cap to each and everyone of my teammates today as they were incredible. From the neo pro Kilian Frankiny to Ben Hermans there in the final, without those guys it would have been impossible to put more time into guys like Chris Froome. One more hard day left. I really want to win this race. Fulgsang came with me when I attacked and he is obviously riding well. I felt great all day and it makes sense when you feel good to go for it. I’m just happy with how it went.”

“The guys did such a good job on the penultimate climb that I came to the bottom of Alpe d’Huez with good legs. Some of the other guys attacked so I thought I would have a crack. It wasn’t always the plan to have a go. If you have good legs like I did today I think it’s probably worth trying to take some more time.”

“We can’t be complacent. Tomorrow is a short stage and I expect fireworks. It’s not over until it’s not. We are in a good position and the team is incredibly strong. I’d love to finish this off tomorrow, I’d love to win this race.”

Ben Swift: “There was a moment I believed in the win” said Ben Swift “but I spent so much energy and I had cramps on the finale and I couldn’t push more. What a pity! Today I also realised one of my dreams.To lead of the top of a climb and hit waiting fans first.There excitement definitely gives you a buzz”

Jakob Fuglsang Astana: “Another good day, the entire Team did a fantastic job doing the best to help me and Fabio – commented Fuglsang – I was quiet with the GC contenders all day long, then Fabio attacked at 3 km to go but the wind was strong in front of us and it was difficult… in the end Porte did a great forcing and, lucky me, I had the legs to stay with him and this way I’ve gained some seconds on the other rivals.”

Fabio Aru about his stage: “I’ve tried on the Sarenne and also in the last 4 km coming up here to the Alpe d’Huez: there was much wind but at least I think we did a good job for the team because my forcing contributed to make some selection between the GC contenders, Jakob did good keeping Porte wheel, now let’s focus on tomorrow.”

Alberto Contador: “In the finale, in the last kilometers Richie went very strong, and I would have preferred it was a little more easy,” explained Contador. “It was nice that some riders who finished in front of me yesterday, finished behind me today.

“I recovered very well. Yesterday when Richie and Froome went to the front I could have followed these two guys for a little bit more time, but with the race profile, I could not afford a big explosion before the finish.

“Today I knew it finished at the top and so I tried to follow Richie for as long as I could. I was at the limit on his wheel, and I preferred to go a little bit easier 800 meters to the end. But I am happy the rest of the rivals are behind me. It’s not important if it’s 5 seconds, 8 seconds, 10 seconds. What’s important is that I go day by day better with a good work in the legs.”

“I am not looking at my position in the GC, and also the stage, I only look at my performance, my feeling, and this is what is more important,” he added. “Today was fast because the breakaway in the front was very big, but I felt good. I am happy because day by day I feel better and today when I woke up, I felt fresh.”

“Tomorrow is a very hard day, and for sure there will be a lot of attacks, but for me, it will be the same: I will enjoy another day with calm, follow, and after in the last climb look what I can do. But like I said the most important is to stay well and finish the Dauphiné fresh.”

1. Peter Kennaugh Team Sky
2. Ben Swift UAE Team Emirates @ 13
3. Jesús Herrada Movistar Team @1:11
4. Jelle Vanendert Lotto Soudal @1:13
5. Romain Bardet AG2R La Mondiale @1:14
6. Richie Porte BMC Racing Team @1:56
7. Jakob Fuglsang Astana Pro Team
8. Andrew Talansky Cannondale-Drapac 2:04
9. Alberto Contador Trek – Segafredo
10. Fabio Aru Astana Pro Team @2:13
11. Daniel Martin Quick-Step Floors
12. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team 2:19
13. Louis Meintjes UAE Team Emirates
14. Emanuel Buchmann Bora – Hansgrohe
15. Chris Froome Team Sky
16. Tiesj Benoot Lotto Soudal 2:30
17. Guillaume Martin Wanty – Groupe Gobert
18. Jack Haig ORICA-Scott 2:37
19. Sam Oomen Team Sunweb
20. Johan Chaves ORICA-Scott 2:42
29. Simon Yates ORICA-Scott 3:54

1. Richie Porte, BMC Racing Team
2. Chris Froome, Team Sky 1:02
3. Jakob Fuglsang, Astana Pro Team 1:15
4. Fabio Aru, Astana Pro Team 1:41
5. Alejandro Valverde, Movistar Team 1:43
6. Alberto Contador, Trek – Segafredo 1:55
7. Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale 2:07
8. Daniel Martin, Quick-Step Floors 2:31
9. Emanuel Buchmann, Bora – Hansgrohe 2:53
10. Andrew Talansky, Cannondale-Drapac 3:43
16. Simon Yates ORICA-Scott 5:24




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