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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, June 8, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

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Critérium du Dauphiné stage four team reports

We posted the organizer's race report with the results.

Here's the report from stage winner Julian Alaphilippe's Quick-Step team:

Julian Alaphilippe was the man of the day on stage 4 of the Critérium du Dauphiné (Chazey-sur-Ain – Lans-en-Vercors, 181 kilometers), taking the laurels on the first of the four back-to-back summit finishes the World Tour race schedules this week. One of the pre-stage favourites, the 25-year-old Quick-Step Floors pocket-rocket climber added another beautiful victory to his 2018 haul, which includes Flèche Wallonne, a Colombia Oro y Paz stage and two more at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

"I am super happy, because this is a high-level race and all the riders are in very good shape. I knew this was the only day I could go for the win and told my teammates since the morning that I wanted to do something. Coming off an altitude training camp I didn't have the best feelings, but I was extremely motivated to get a win in my home race, and having accomplished my goal gives me a lot of confidence with the start of the Tour de France just weeks away", a beaming Julian said after garnering himself a trip to the podium.

The day packed three classified climbs, including the tough Col du Mont Noir (17.5 kilometers, 6.9%), and got off to a rapid start, with the riders covering a staggering 52 kilometers in the first hour. Despite several attempts, it was only after 70 kilometers that a group got clear, and when it did, the eight men at the front opened a five-minute lead on the peloton.

On Mont Noir, the group got split and Odd Christian Eiking (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) made the first move, which was countered by Dario Cataldo (Astana), who dropped the Norwegian and crested in the lead the top of the ascent with three minutes in hand. The heavy rain on the descent slowed down the bunch a bit, but the pack picked up the chase with 20 kilometers to go and by the time they arrived at the bottom of Lars-en-Vecors (4.8 kilometers, 7.7%), the leader's advantage had dropped to under two minutes.

Inside the final kilometer, Cataldo was within sight of the whittled down peloton, which included Julian Alaphilippe and Bob Jungels, just as an acceleration of Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) sparked a response from three men, one of whom was Julian. The quartet sailed past the Italian with 300 meters to go, putting some daylight between them and the chasers, and with the finish line drawing closer and closer, Julian expertly bided his time on the 7.7% average gradient before surging clear from third wheel to claim his 11th pro victory.

Julian Alaphilippe

Julian Alaphilippe wins the stage.

"My first goal of the day was to survive on Mont Noir, which was a demanding climb. Then, on the downhill, I remained focus and in a good position together with Bob. Everybody was tired and the tempo was really high on the last climb, which I knew suited me. I didn't have the best feeling in the group, but as the kilometers ticked down, I became more and more confident", said Julian, who made a significant jump in the general classification, after landing Quick-Step Floors' 38th victory of the year.

Fourth now, just two places ahead of teammate Bob Jungels, Julian explained his remaining goals for the next stages (Valmorel, La Rosière, Saint-Gervais): "We will go into the high mountains this weekend and I know very well that this kind of terrain doesn't suit me, as I'm more of a puncheur. However, this doesn't mean I won't fight. I'll try to be up there and help Bob make a good GC."

New GC leader Gianni Moscon's Team Sky posted this report:

Gianni Moscon rode into the leader’s jersey at the Criterium du Dauphine after another impressive team performance on stage four. Geraint Thomas rode strongly to claim third on the first mountainous stage of the race, behind winner Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), while Moscon dug in to cross the line ninth, eight seconds back.

That moves the young Italian into the overall lead, six seconds ahead of teammates Michal Kwiatkowski and Thomas, who sit second and third respectively after an excellent first five days of the race.

Gianni Moscon

Gianni Moscon is the new GC leader.

With three categorised climbs to contend with the team rode strongly all day across the 181 kilometre stage, taking up the pace making on the hors categorie Col du Mont Noir just past the midway point.

Tao Geoghegan Hart came to the fore, pushing the tempo on the day’s toughest climb, before leading the way through the valley in pursuit of lone leader Dario Cataldo (Astana). He and Jonathan Castroviejo dovetailed perfectly on the flat section ahead of the final climb, where Geoghegan Hart produced a brilliant turn on the front of the bunch to reduce Cataldo’s gap to all but nothing.

Then the attacks came and Thomas was able to follow Dan Martin (UAE) as he pushed clear under the flamme rouge. The Welshman played it cool in the final as Alaphilippe sprinted to the victory ahead of Martin, Thomas content with a comfortable third ahead of the bigger days to come.

Speaking after the podium ceremony, a delighted Moscon said he will enjoy the honour of racing in yellow tomorrow. He said: “I didn’t expect to lead the race! I will enjoy wearing this jersey tomorrow but G and Kwiato are our two guys who can win the Dauphine.

“My role will not change despite having the jersey. My role here is to try and help Kwiato and G [Geraint Thomas]. Alaphilippe was the strongest for winning the stage in this relatively short finale but I think Geraint is the strongest for winning the overall.”

Second-place Dan Martin's UAE-Team Emirates squad sent me this report:

Daniel Martin flew away in the first summit finish of the Critérium du Dauphiné today at Lans-En-Vercors, but had to settle for second behind Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors).

Coming to the end of the 181-kilometre stage, Martin attacked but Alaphilippe resisted in a select four-man move. UAE Team Emirates’s Irish star held off Geraint Thomas (Sky) for second place.

Dan MArtin

Dan Martin had to settle for second place.

“I just don’t have that sprint yet, but it’s coming. I’m happy, it was a good day and the team did a good job,” Martin said. “It’s great in the new team environment. I had good legs in training all year, but it hasn’t come together in races for some reason. It’s good to get that, that’s a relief and it’s a good sign for the next days.

“I feel good, I came into the race without expectations. Just race with a smile on my face, I knew I was in good condition. I’m still waiting for the Tour de France, I’m not in top condition, but this is a good sign for July.”

Martin moved to 20th in the overall classification at 2-40 minutes from new race leader Gianni Moscon (Sky).

The fifth stage tomorrow, the second of four consecutive summit finishes, ends at Valmorel after 130 kilometres. Martin and his rivals will face two climbs of category two in the first 20 kilometres and then the summit finish of 12.7 kilometres at an average of seven per cent.

Bora-hansgrohe sent me this race report:

BORA – hansgrohe rider Lukas Pöstlberger made it into the breakaway of the day, while teammate Emanuel Buchmann stayed with the favourites on the final climb of the day and finished in a strong 7th place. In the overall ranking the German rider moved up to 15th position. 

The Stage
Today’s stage offered the first summit finish in this year’s edition of the Critérium du Dauphine. The stage took the peloton from Chazey-Sur-Ain up to Lans-En-Vercors over 181 demanding kilometres with the HC climb Col du Mont Noir. The final climb stretched out 5km with an average gradient of 7.5%, therefore this stage favoured the climbers in the race.

The Team Tactics
BORA – hansgrohe went into today’s stage to support their GC contender Emanuel Buchmann. He was 2:17 behind leader Kwiatkowski in the overall ranking, therefore the goal was to achieve a good stage result to move up in the GC.

The Race
After 100km of racing, right before the first climb of the day, eight riders launched an attack and pulled away. BORA – hansgrohe rider and Giro d’Italia stage winner Lukas Pöstlberger survived the blistering fast start and made it into the breakaway of the day. The escapees opened up a gap of more than five minutes over the main bunch, where Team Sky took control over the pace. As the race faced the Col du Mont Noir, the breakaway fell apart, only one rider was able to stay at the front. BORA – hansgrohe climber Emanuel Buchmann stayed in a good position in the first chasing group, with all favourites for the stage win. As approaching the finale, the soloist was caught and four riders launched an attack. Emanuel Buchmann followed the attack and finished in a strong 7th place today’s first summit finish. J. Alaphilippe took the stage win ahead of D. Martin and T. Geraint. In the overall ranking Emanuel Buchmann moved up to 15th position.

From the Finish Line
“I felt really good today. Jay brought me perfectly into the last climb of the day and at the end it was more or less a sprint finish. The upcoming stages will be tough but I think I trained good and I am in good shape.” – Emanuel Buchmann

“I think, we can be satisfied with Emanuel’s result today. He was always in a good position and we could see that he is in good shape. His 7th place shows that he is on the right way, tomorrow he will support him again as best as possible.” – Steffen Radochla, sports director 

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