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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Thursday, June 8, 2023

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Critérium du Dauphiné stage four reports

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

Here's the report from stage winner and new GC leader Mikkel Bjerg's UAE Team Emirates:

Mikkel Bjerg has taken the biggest result of his young career with a stage victory and yellow jersey on stage 4 of the Criterium du Dauphine in France.

Mikkel Bjerg will wear yellow when he rides stage five. Sirotti photo

The 24 year old put in the ride of his life on the undulating course from Cours to Belmont-de-la-Loire (31.1km), clocking a time of 37:28 and an average speed of 49.8kmph.

The course was roughly divided into three parts, with an uphill start and longer downhill section to the first checkpoint at kilometre 10.7, then a flatter 9km mid-section, and finally the 11.4km false flat grind that wound up to gradients of 6% in the home straight.

Bjerg registered slower splits at the intermediate points, timing his effort well to come home strong and winning the stage by a margin of 12’’ over second place Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).

The result marks the 31st victory of the season for UAE Team Emirates who also lead the teams classification.

Bjerg: “I’ve worked so hard for this first pro victory. I’m just so relieved that I finally got it now, I feel like I had so many chances to do it and just didn’t live up to my own expectations.This morning I doubted myself, I said the course was too hard, but my manager texted me saying ‘just go for it, you have nothing to lose’. I’m just so happy.”

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Here's the Dauphiné report from second-place Jonas Vingegaard's Team Jumbo-Visma:

Jonas Vingegaard has finished second in the individual time trial at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Vingegaard narrowly lost out to compatriot Mikkel Bjerg. The Danish time trial specialist also takes over the leader's jersey from Christophe Laporte, who finished 21st.

Jonas Vingegaard riding to second place. Sirotti photo

The course of the time trial was hilly. The route gradually descended for a few kilometres before ending with a final climb of several percent.

Vingegaard got off to a quick start, evidenced by the fastest time at the first checkpoint. At the second checkpoint, the Jumbo-Visma leader lost a second to Rémi Cavagna and Bjerg. The latter benefited from a strong final part during which Vingegaard consolidated. The difference on the line was twelve seconds in favour of Bjerg. Despite losing out on the stage victory, Vingegaard performed well in the general classification. He is now second overall.

"Of course, I was hoping to win the time trial and take the yellow jersey from Christophe”, Vingegaard said. "But the strongest won today. I can be reasonably happy with my performance. In the coming days, I'm hoping to get another shot at the yellow jersey. The advantage is that tomorrow we don't have to take control right away. I had a quick start in mind. It worked, but maybe I went a little too fast. I tried to save myself in the middle section and then went full speed to the finish. Perhaps I could have done things differently, but I can be reasonably happy with the result. Mikkel was outstanding today.”

For outgoing yellow jersey Laporte, the time trial proved to be too difficult an ordeal. "I gave everything on the road. The second part was difficult and I gave up. I didn't want to lose the jersey anyway, so I gave it everything I had. It was three great days in the leader's jersey. It's a shame that Jonas missed the stage win. It would have been nice for him to take the jersey from me. However, there are still four tough stages to come where Jonas can strike. I hope I can do for him what he did for me in the last few days", Laporte said.

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Third-place Rémi Cavagna's Team Soudal Quick-Step posted this report:

Rémi Cavagna scored his tenth top three in an individual time trial at World Tour level, clocking a time of 37:55 at the end of the demanding stage 4, from Cours to Belmont-de-la-Loire, which ended up widening the gaps in the general classification.

Featuring two uphill sections, a 2.2km one right in the opening kilometers and another one at the finish, the 31.1km effort against the clock was the first key stage for the yellow jersey contenders, but also a target for the specialists. Among these, also Rémi – who started early and immediately found his rhythm. Fastest by a mile at the first checkpoint, the former French Champion continued to put in a flying ride over the second part of the course and went into the hot seat as the rider to break the 38-minute barrier.

Cavagna remained there until the final hour of the race, when two riders improved his time, bumping him into third place, still a strong result for the 27-year-old, who signed off the team’s 63rd podium of the season. In the overall standings, the same Julian Alaphilippe continues to be Soudal Quick-Step’s highest-ranked rider, in eighth place, with four stages to go at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Julian Alaphilippe was 14th. Sirotti photo

“I’m a bit disappointed, as I would have liked to win today, but on the other hand, given that I wasn’t at 100% these past few stages, it’s a good result to be in the top three. It’s also reassuring to see that my shape is improving and motivating for what comes next”, explained Rémi at the finish.

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And here's the report from tenth-place Jonathan Castroviejo's Team INEOS Grenadiers:

Jonathan Castroviejo put in an impressive TT performance to finish 10th in the stage four time trial at the Dauphine.

Jonathan Castroviejo riding to tenth. Sirotti photo

It is Castroviejo's best result of the season, as he finished 1:05 behind stage winner Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) with a time of 38:33 on the tricky course.

Dani Martinez finished just behind in 11th to put him ninth overall, 1:07 behind new race leader Bjerg.

Unfortunately, Ben Turner crashed during the time trial and was forced to abandon the race after suffering cuts and bruises to his upper and lower limbs.

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