Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 1

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) won the opening stage of the 2022 Critérium du Dauphiné, taking the first yellow jersey of the race – Report by Aidan Cameron

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Critérium du Dauphiné  Stage 1: Van Aert wins Opening Stage

Photo: A.S.O/Aurelien Vialatte

Report by Aidan Cameron — Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) won the opening stage of the 2022 Critérium du Dauphiné, taking the first yellow jersey of the race. The Belgian all-rounder overcome Ethan Hayter (Ineos) in a bunch sprint in Beauchastel. Young American rider Sean Quinn (EF-Education) rounded off the podium positions on the day in 3rd.
Hayter had the consolation of taking the best Young riders jersey, whilst Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels) took the lead in the King of the Mountains classification, following his presence in the days main breakaway. Van Aert’s win also saw him take the green Points jersey, a competition which he has won twice before and has now put himself in pole position to challenge for again.

The final climb of the day saw sprinter’s Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange) and Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain-Victorious) distanced as a fast pace was set by the teams of Trek-Segafredo and Jumbo-Visma. The main GC contenders all finished together in the main bunch, with no time gaps of note. Thanks to time bonuses, Van Aert now leads the GC by four seconds from Hayter and six seconds from Quinn, and could well record another stage win tomorrow on what is a similar profile.

How It Unfolded
There were 154 riders who took to the start line as the 2022 Dauphine began in La Voulte-sur-Rhône, located in Southern France. The neutralised section saw Imanol Erviti (Movistar) crash and require medical attention; and whilst he would re-join the main bunch, he would later pull out during the stage. Niklas Markl (DSM) and Niklas Eg (Uno-X) would be the other two riders who abandoned the race on the stage.

After the flag was waved to start the race, a flurry of attacks followed by riders looking to get in the days break, but none would be able to escape the main bunch before the days opening climb, the 2nd category Col de Leyrisse. There, Rolland would be the first to definitively distance himself from the main bunch, summitting the climb first as Maxime Bouet (Arkea-Samsic) and Laurens Huys (Intermarche) chased behind at half a minute. After the climb, Rolland would wait for the other two, forming the days main break. The climb put Bauhaus under some pressure, a sign of what was to come later in the race.

Rolland would take the next climb, the 3rd category Cote des Baraques ahead of Bouet, as the break extended their lead to a maximum of three minutes over the main bunch. This guaranteed him the lead in the King of the Mountains classification if he were to finish. Behind, Jumbo-Visma and BikeExchange took control at the front of the main bunch, keeping the gap between two and three minutes for the duration of the stage.

Rolland would then take the first of two ascents of the 3rd category Cote du Chambon du Bavas, before Bouet would take the intermediate sprint through the finish line in Beauchastel, at 63.5km to go. Rolland suffered a puncture shortly after with 58km to go, but was able to rejoin his breakaway companions after a short chase. Behind Ineos, Bahrain and Trek were also contributing to the pace setting as the riders approached the final climb, which topped out at 36.5km to go.

The climb would see the breaks gap disintegrate, dropping to 30 seconds by the top as Groenewegen and Bauhaus among others were shelled from the back of the peloton. Bouet would be dropped by his breakaway companions, rejoining the bunch as Rolland accelerated to again take the points at the top, further extending his mountains classification lead.

Simon Geschke (Cofidis) would jump clear from the bunch after the climb, linking up with the two at the front but they were quickly pulled back. Mikkel Honore (Quick-Step) would launch a counterattack but was caught with 22km to go as Ineos took control at the front. The descent would offer some chance for dropped riders to get back, and though the Groenewegen/Bauhaus group would drop to 1:30 behind, a strong chase by Groenewegen’s full BikeExchange team, with assistance from UAE and Bahrain, would see them close to almost 30 seconds as the race entered the final 10km. However, they were unable to close that gap down any further as Ineos, Trek and Jumbo all kept the pace high for their respective sprinters.

With 1.5km left, Remi Cavagna (Quick-Step) took advantage of uncertainty at the front and got a gap, forcing Van Aert to use up his lead-out man Christophe Laporte to close French time triallist down, pulling him back as the race went under the Flamme Rouge. Ineos then launched their lead-out with Filippo Ganna and Michal Kwiatkowski pulling turns to put Hayter into position for the sprint.

The young Londoner would open it up from the front but was unable to respond as Van Aert powered round for victory. Hayter narrowly held on for 2nd ahead of Quinn. Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) was on Hayter’s wheel as the sprint started but found himself somewhat squeezed in behind the front two, having to settle for 6th as Hugo Page (Intermarche) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Total Energies) rounded out the top-five positions on the day. Ultimately though no one could get close to Van Aert, who got his and Jumbo-Visma’s Dauphine off to a great start.


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