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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, June 10, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

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Critérium du Dauphiné stage six team reports

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

Here's the report from stage winner Pello Bilbao's Astana team:

After already two attempts for a stage win of his teammates earlier this week, Pello Bilbao now won stage 6 at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Dario Cataldo secured another day leading in the KOM classification, wearing the polka dot jersey for another day.

"I’m really happy with this win, it’s very special for me and it’s a present for my team, all the fans and of course for my girlfriend. It was a very hard day today, and our main goal was to get Dario Cataldo another day in the polka dot jersey. The team helped me to save some energy for today’s final, but at that point I was not thinking about a stage victory yet, as the time gap was a small one. But when we got closer to the finish and I was still riding in the front, I started to believe.

"Yesterday I had a difficult day and I was disappointed, today I really wanted to give something in returning to my team that supported me so well during this week. I gave all I had on the final climb, and in the final 5 kilometer I knew there was a chance I could stay clear from the chasers. In the final 3 kilometers I knew I would win, I was feeling very strong at that point. It was a special day and a special way to finish my first part of the season." – Pello Bilbao.

Pello Bilbao

Pello Bilbao wins the sixth stage. Sirotti photo

"Everything went according to plan, as we tried to get in the break with Pello Bilbao and myself. At the end, Bakhtar Kozhatayev got me in the breakaway, as a big group already took off. In this group, Hugo Houle and Pello Bilbao were already there. At the first two HC climbs I went for the KOM points, and I’m happy that this worked out well and I got myself another day in the polka dot jersey. It was great teamwork today, as we helped Pello Bilbao to save some energy for today’s final. That he won the stage is great, it was a perfect day."  – Dario Cataldo.

Here's what GC leader Geraint Thomas' Team Sky had to say about the day's racing:

Geraint Thomas extended his overall lead with a well-timed late attack to distance his rivals and finish second on stage six of the Criterium du Dauphine.

Thomas now has a lead of 1’28” heading into Sunday’s final stage after he marked the attacks his fellow GC contenders on the final climb, La Rosiere, before gaining time on them with an explosive burst to the line to finish behind stage winner Pello Bilbao (Astana).

The Welshman was part of an elite leading group that battled on the final climb of the day behind a large breakaway that had been leading for the majority of the day.

Bilbao was part of the initial break of 27 which led from the early stages, but with no significant threat to Thomas’ yellow-blue jersey in the lead group, the battle for the overall lead took place further down the road.

Thomas received superb support from Jonathan Castroviejo and Tao Geoghegan Hart after the uncategorised Col du Pré shattered the peloton with 50km of the short 110km stage still remaining, with the latter able to help the race leader fend off a number of attacks on the final climb.

Stage five winner Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) had gone in search of another stage victory by bridging to the remnants of the initial break, but he was caught by Thomas, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) with seven kilometres to go.

With Bilbao racing away for the stage win, a high-paced game of cat-and-mouse ensued, with Thomas equal to everything the trio could throw at him before accelerating in the final 400m to extend his overall lead.

Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas finishes second in the stage and extends his GC lead.

Despite another selfless performance Geoghegan Hart secured a top 10 on the stage which has seen him move up to 15th overall.

Thomas must now defend the jersey on Sunday's final stage which features five climbs and another summit finish.

Speaking to ITV at the finish, Thomas talked through a whirlwind stage. He said: “It wasn’t ideal but AG2R rode really well today, they really took the race on and put us under pressure. Fortunately we’ve got such a strong team that if one guy’s not so good, another guy steps up. Tao and Castro were really good today and fortunately we were always just in control. We never panicked - but fair play to AG2R for taking the race on.

“I always felt in control, I always felt pretty good, but I didn’t want to get too carried away [on the final climb]. It’s easy to underestimate how far there is to go and I didn’t want to go too early, die off, and lose time. Obviously there’s a big day tomorrow as well so I tried to do the minimum and then at the end, I just thought ‘I’ll go for it and see what happens’. I managed to get a few more bonus seconds which is good.

“I think the way we rode today was really good. Always in control and not getting carried away. Riding well as a team - that’s our strength, the way we ride together and communicate. We’ve done it for so many years now at the Tour.”

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

An aggressive UAE Team Emirates took on the anticipated Critérium du Dauphiné stage to La Rosiere, a photocopy of the stage the riders will face in the 11th stage of the upcoming Tour de France.

Valerio Conti formed part of the large escape, which survived until the last kilometres. Conti went immediately to work when Martin attacked and bridged in order to chase down Pello Bilbao (Astana) and gapped the others.

Bilbao eventually stayed clear for the win, but the group exploded with only the strong surviving. Race leader Geraint Thomas (Sky) took second place, Martin third, Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) fourth and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) fifth.

The move saw Martin jump up 10 places in the overall classification. He now sits fourth at 2-30 minutes from Thomas. Yates holds second at 1-29 and Bardet third at 2-01.

“I wanted to take advantage of the good legs that I have, but it truly was a hard day,” Martin said. “The final was very tactical, maybe that’s because the classification men are a little tired, and we weren’t able to pull in Bilbao like I would’ve wanted.

“Let’s see tomorrow how I am, but I’ll try to do well in the final stage, and my overall classification will benefit as a result.”

The last stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné travels 136 kilometres from Moutiers to the summit finish up to Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc.

And Emanuel Buchmann's Bora-hansgrohe squad sent this update:

BORA – hansgrohe rider Lukas Pöstlberger was in the breakaway of the day, which fell apart on the second climb. On the final climb of the day the race came alive as the main GC contenders attacked each other, BORA – hansgrohe’s Emanuel Buchmann was able to go with the pace and finished sixth, in the overall ranking he climbs up to 6th place.

The Stage
The penultimate stage was kind of the queen stage in this 70thedition of the Criterium du Dauphine. Today’s stage covered 110 short but brutal kilometres, the riders had to cover two Hors Category climbs, one category two ascent and another summit finish (cat.1). The stage started in Frontenex and ran up to Las Rosiere, it was a stage where a determining change in the general classification was likely to happen.

The Team Tactics
Emanuel Buchmann moved up to 10thplace in the overall ranking after his great fourth place yesterday. Therefore, the team’s goal was to secure his spot in the top ten and went into today’s stage to support their GC contender as best as possible.

The Race
Right after the start a big group of 27 riders went up the road and built today’s breakaway. Lukas Pöstlberger represented BORA – hansgrohe in the day’s break, which had 2 minutes with 77km to go. As the race faced the second climb of the day, many riders dropped, Lukas Pöstlberger saw himself in the chasing group some seconds behind the new breakaway, Emanuel Buchmann stayed in the reduced pack. As expected, the race fell apart shortly before the final climb, only one rider managed to be at the front. Emanuel stayed in the yellow jersey group and started an attack to bridge the gap to the leader with 7km to go. But the yellow jersey group tried to follow and the race came alive with 4km remaining. The German rider crossed the line a few seconds behind stage winner P. Bilbao in 6th position and moved up to 6th place in the overall ranking.

From the Finish Line
“On the final climb I tried to attack but of course the other GC contenders followed my attack. Bilbao was the fastest today and 4km before the finish, I couldn’t follow Yates but rode my own rhythm and finished sixth. In the overall ranking I moved up to 6thplace, which makes me really happy. Tomorrow will be a tough finale, but I think it suits me.”  - Emanuel Buchmann

“Lukas was in the breakaway of the day and Emanuel achieved another top ten result. He tried it on the final climb and was able to go with the other main GC contenders and finished sixth and moved up to 6thin the overall ranking. I think with all these results we can be more than satisfied.” – Steffen Radochla, sports director 

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