Feature Report: Fuglsang wins Dauphine

Time bonus helps Jacob Fuglsang wins final stage and overall as Porte runs out of help on edge of the seat final stage of the Dauphine

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Feature Report: Fuglsang wins Dauphine

Richie Porte had a target on his back when he lined up for the final 115km stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné in the yellow jersey and was put to the test as soon as the flag dropped at KM 0. With four tough climbs on the menu, including the final hors categorie Plateau de Solaison summit finish, Porte’s rivals attacked him on the ascent of the Col del des Saisies and from there it was a battle for Porte to hold onto his race lead.

Strong attacks from the General Classification contenders isolated Porte from his teammates and forced Porte to respond to every attack. Various moves went and were pulled back by Porte’s group until the race came back together after the first two climbs, when a 22-rider group was formed. Over the final 40km, Fabio Aru (Astana Pro Team) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team) attacked and the duo went clear to establish a lead of more than 1’30”.

Eventually, the leading duo was being chased by a seven-rider group with and behind, Yellow jersey Porte was Porte doing the work chasing atr the front of the third group on the ascent of Col de la Colombiere. The first two groups joined together and behind, Porte was chasing at just over one minute back on his own.

Jakob Fulgsang (Astana Pro Team) and Dan Martin (Quickstep-Floors) attacked again and lead the race up the final Plateau de Solaison climb. Behind, Porte was gaining time and slowly started to catch the riders in front, dropping everyone he passed as he fought to hold onto his yellow jersey. Fulgsang dropped Martin and went clear to take the stage win. Porte was chasing the 1’15” advantage that he started the day with over Fulgsang and finished exactly 1’15” back on the stage in seventh place.

The ten second time bonus Fulgsang scored in the stage win meant he edged Porte off the top step of the podium, and Porte was forced to settle for second place. Although disappointed to lose the yellow jersey on the final day, Porte takes confidence from his third UCI WorldTour stage race podium of the season and an incredible display of form across the eight days of racing.

Richie Porte: “I think I showed in the end, that I’m going well and I’m on track for July. It’s bitterly disappointing to lose it by such a small margin but credit to Jakob Fulgsang. I think I was up against it from KM0 as it seems there were a few guys who preferred to see me lose the race and they lose their podium as well. I don’t know what you can really learn from a stage like that. I guess that’s racing but bring on July.”

“I found myself in a position with no teammates, isolated. I could have done with a couple more teammates up there today. It was me against everyone there for a little bit. You don’t forget that for July. It was a solid race. I’m happy for Jakob, he’s a great rider. I can definitely take confidence out of the race in general. I know my form is there and of course it would have been nice to finish it off today, but it’s definitely good signs for the Tour de France.”

Fabio Baldato, Sports Director: “I think it was clear that Richie was the strongest rider on the climbs at this race. Sometimes you need to have it all come together and today it didn’t. The team has been good all week but today we missed one guy to stay with Richie on the climbs. It was a pity because we had five guys at 20 seconds for a lot of the race and they couldn’t quite make it back to Richie.”

“The other GC guys wanted to make the race hard to isolate Richie and make it hard for us to come back. They did that well. Finally, Richie was alone. He was riding intelligently to follow second on GC but we saw that there were riders who didn’t want to see us win. It was a good race from Fulgsang and Astana, they took advantage of this. I’m really sorry for Richie because I think he deserved to win. But, we take a lot of good things out of this week and we’re excited for the Tour de France in July.”

Dan Martin: “The pace today was high right from the beginning, so my main goal was to conserve the energy I had until the final climb, where I wanted to make a big attack. I gave it my all out there and at the end of the day I’m happy with my result, but also with how I raced here this week, because I had a different approach than in the past”, said Dan Martin, who made a spectacular jump in the standings after having started stage 8 in seventh place, his podium finish helping Quick-Step Floors retain the top position in the World Tour classification.

“All I wanted this week was to race relaxed and not be worried about the result or the time lost in the ITT. I had no pressure and I really enjoyed this race, even today’s stage, which was one of the toughest in my life, but at the same time one of the most fun. Now I will do a recon of some of the Tour de France stages, fine-tune my condition for the race and wait with confidence for July to come”, concluded the Irishman, who last year cracked the top 10 overall at the Grande Boucle for the first time in his career.

Chris Froome: For us we weren’t here to try and protect second place – we wanted to race for the win today. Everyone knew it was going to be a really aggressive day of racing,” said Froome, who crossed the line eighth on the day.”

“For us, we weren’t here to try and protect second place – we wanted to race for the win today. So we put all our cards on the table and I think that’s exactly what we did as a team. Even though it didn’t pay off in the end, I think we’ve got to be happy with that. I came here looking for a hard week of racing and that’s exactly what I got. I only had 19 days of racing before the Dauphine so I’m really light on racing. Hopefully this will move me on now as well in terms of preparations for July.”

“At one point I was close to being in the virtual yellow jersey. But I think I’d done so much work earlier on to try and set up that situation that when I got to the final climb I didn’t have much left unfortunately. But if I’d just been here to defend second place I would have been more conservative. I would have waited for the last climb and just followed Jakob and Aru. That wasn’t the plan today”.

“If I look at where I was a few weeks ago at the Tour of Romandie, I seemed to be a long way off the pace. Here I feel as if I’ve got better and better over the week and at least I’m heading in the right direction. I feel as if I’m on track for July.”

Jakob Fuglsang: “It has been incredible, since the start everyone attacked the Yellow Jersey. We tried to do the same tactic of the BMC… the Porte remained alone and there was a big confusion at the front until Fabio attacked and at the point the other teams has to work to close the gap.”

“I took a big advantage from this situation and when in the final Martin attacked, I had the legs to follow him and I did – continued the Dane – honestly I couldn’t believe that all of this was happening: I’m super super happy this is just great!”.

Fabio Aru: “Yes for sure a 3rd place would have been better than a 5th but, to be honest, I came to this Dauphiné with many doubts because the season had not been lucky with the flu at Tirreno and the injury at the knee… today, I attacked with Valverde on the Colombiere and I said to myself ‘Let’s try how is the condition’! On the final climb, I kept the front and ended 5th but above all, I’m super happy for Jakob victory because he deserved it and the entire Team deserve this great result” concluded Aru.

Alberto Contador: “I know that I can work, and I need to work in the intensity now, but for the moment the plan is perfect,” Contador explained after the race. “Normally in the past many guys who have won the Dauphiné have after won the Tour, but for me, for my condition, it always goes better with this plan. It is better that now I go a little bit on the limit behind the other guys, and after go better at the Tour de France.”

“There were some moments I followed, some where I went to the front, but in the last climb it was a very high tempo and then I felt a big, big pain in the legs and so I preferred to make my tempo,” said Contador. “I felt it was the best to save energy and go easier to the finish line.

“The most important is that I have finished this big race still feeling fresh, and last year when I finished, I was totally tired. Now I think I can recover well in three days and start again for the last training. I know I have work to do, but I am on a good plan.”

Louis Meintjes: “Maybe I could attack a bit earlier but you never know. Sometimes you try earlier and after you pay for it as happened in the first mountain stage in this Dauphiné, during the Mont du Chat, where I attacked and I suffered in the final part loosing time” Louis Meintjes said “With the Tour de France as prospect, these performances make me more confident, and it means that the preparation we are doing with the team is working and we are on the right way”.

Emanuel Buchmann: “What a stage! Already on the first climb everything was split up. I wanted to go in a group, but when Froome and Porte also battled against each other, it was clear to better wait and go with them. On the penultimate climb, again our group split up. I waited relatively long, because I didn’t want to go too early, but then also attacked with Contador on the last 3k of the climb. This proved to be a good move, because in the end Porte was alone in the back. Froome then had also Kwiatkowski, which was good for our group. And on the final climb I just focused on Meintjes and also followed his attack. That’s for sure the biggest success in my career so far. Now I am among the best climbers in the world. It’s unbelievable what happened today.” … continued after advert

Romain Bardet: 6th for the stage, 6th in the general classification – “It was a crazy stage. We were on the limit all day. This kind of stage puts on a beautiful show. No one could hide. It was a really good race.”

“It was definitely hard. I paid for my efforts from yesterday, but I gave my maximum and I have no regrets. I did have cramps that prevented me from staying with the best in the final. In the end, it was the pedals that did the talking, and everyone is in his proper place tonight.”

“This is really my first big race of the year. I had not really done any seriously specific training, but I still feel like I am putting on the pressure, and that is a good sign.
I am satisfied with my week. I have a bit of previewing of Tour de France stages to do, and there is a lot of prep time still before heading to the Tour de France.”

Rafael Valls : “This was a very hard stage. There were attacks all the time and from the top riders. On the climbs the pace never dropped. On the Col de la Colombière I decided to attack to take some lead before the last climb. In the descent we rode very fast and afterwards Michal Kwiatkowski set a very high pace to let Froome take as much advantage on Porte as possible. The last fifty kilometres were hell.”

“I was on my limit during the final climb. No doubt many other riders felt the same. I knew the end was near and I wanted to get the best out of it. I kept giving all I got until the finish. I am very pleased with this top ten place on GC. This is very important to me after I haven’t been performing on my best level for a long period due to injuries and illness. To achieve this result among all those Tour riders feels great. With the team we came here to win a stage and to aim for a top ten in the overall classification. Thomas de Gendt won the first stage and wore the yellow jersey for five days, I am tenth on GC and Tiesj Benoot twelfth. This is a very good result for our team.”

Tiesj Benoot (14th on stage): “I hadn’t expected to perform this well this week among all these top riders. I have surprised myself. That doesn’t mean I will change my plans. Today I travel to the Sierra Nevada where I will hold a training camp until June 21. I want to do my final preparations for the Tour over there. In the Tour I want to support André Greipel the best I can and I want to take my chance in breakaways. I won’t be aiming for a good overall result.”

“I had never ridden a stage like today. Right from the start the pace was high. Sky had noticed that the teammates of Richie Porte weren’t looking well and they wanted to isolate him. Together with Rafael Valls I got in a group with Contador, but I got distanced. I kept up my own pace and was able to stay with Porte for a long time. It was very hot today and the fact that I perform so well at these high temperatures is a good sign. In the past the heat was a weak point of mine, but now I can cope better with it. That is positive with the upcoming Tour in mind.”

Stage 8
1. Jakob Fuglsang, Astana Pro Team 3:26:20
2. Daniel Martin, Quick-Step Floors 0:12
3. Louis Meintjes UAE Team Emirates 0:27
4. Emanuel Buchmann Bora – Hansgrohe 0:44
5. Fabio Aru Astana Pro Team 01:01
6. Romain Bardet AG2R La Mondiale 1:02
7. Richie Porte BMC Racing Team 1:15
8. Chris Froome Team Sky 1:36
9. Rafael Valls Lotto Soudal 1:41
10. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team 3:30
11. Alberto Contador Trek – Segafredo 4:10
12. Simon Clarke Cannondale-Drapac 4:28
13. Simon Yates ORICA-Scott 4:43
14. Tiesj Benoot Lotto Soudal 4:48
15. Sam Oomen Team Sunweb 5:09
16. Pierre Latour AG2R La Mondiale 8:05
17. Alexis Vuillermoz AG2R La Mondiale 8:21
18. Stef Clement Team LottoNL-Jumbo 8:22
19. Daniel Navarro Cofidis, Solutions
20. André Cardoso Trek – Segafredo

34. Peter Kennaugh Team Sky 15:45
57. Ben Swift UAE Team Emirates 21.49
67. Scott Thwaites Dimension Data 26.22

Final Overall
1. Jakob Fuglsang Astana Pro Team
2. Richie Porte BMC Racing Team 10
3. Daniel Martin Quick-Step Floors 1:32
4. Chris Froome Team Sky 1:33
5. Fabio Aru Astana Pro Team 1:37
6. Romain Bardet AG2R La Mondiale 2:04
7. Emanuel Buchmann Bora – Hansgrohe 2:32
8. Louis Meintjes UAE Team Emirates 3:12
9. Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team 04:08
10. Rafael Valls Lotto Souda 4:40

11. Alberto Contador Trek – Segafredo 5:20
13. Simon Yates ORICA-Scott 09:02
22. Andrew Talansky Cannondale-Drapac
23. ClarkeSimonCannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team
27. Peter Kennaugh Team Sky
35. Ben Swift UAE Team Emirates



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