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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, June 6, 2021

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2020 Tour de France | 2020 Giro d'Italia

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Critérium du Dauphiné stage seven reports

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

Here's the report from stage winner Mark Padun's Bahrain Victorious team:

Mark Padun secured his first WorldTour win on Stage 7 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, showing impressive climbing on La Plagne. Jack Haig also put in a strong performance finishing fourth on the stage and moving up into the top five in GC.

Mark Padun

Mark Padun enjoys his well-earned victory. Sirotti photo

The Queen stage was set to be a decisive fight in the GC, with the riders taking on 3,980 vertical meters, including two Hors Categorie climbs. An early breakaway formed that included Marco Haller. The breakaway managed to stay away until the final climb, with around 10 kilometres remaining by a reduced peloton.

An attack from Richie Porte (Ineos Grenadiers) sparked the GC fight, but it was Mark Padun who latched onto the move with Seb Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) and Enric Mas (Movistar). Padun and Kuss pushed on, leaving the other two behind. It looked to be a battle between the two, but Padun kicked on one more time, dropping Kuss and riding up solo to take the victory on La Plagne.

Mark Padun: “It’s incredible and an incredible moment for me. First of all, it’s my first WorldTour victory and on one of the hardest stages of Dauphine when everyone is going so fast.

"Also, in the last six stages, I felt so bad on the bike during the race, and I thought it would be impossible for me to finish the race, and today I arrived first. When I crossed the finish line, I had the feeling like I need to wake up now, but it’s not a dream.

"I thought I might arrive with the top 20 guys, and when Richie Porte attacked, I tried to close the gap as I had our leader Jack Haig in the group. I saw we had a gap with four riders, and I thought, why not, maybe they will show me on TV for my mother, and I attacked.

"Then it was just me and Seb Kuss, and when I saw him drop, I just decided to go full gas to the finish and hope no one would catch me. Thanks to my team that believed in me."

Here's the report from new GC leader Richie Porte's INEOS Grenadiers team:

A tenacious attacking performance from Richie Porte saw him take the overall lead on the penultimate stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Richie Porte

Richie Porte will ride the Dauphiné's final stage in yellow. Sirotti photo

Porte accelerated on the summit finish to La Plagne, first going clear with a small group, before whittling his rivals away and pushing clear in the final kilometre to finish second on the stage and earn the leader's yellow jersey.

Behind, Geraint Thomas was able to maintain a good position before attacking once Porte was across the line to move third overall on a successful Alpine afternoon for the Grenadiers.

At the bottom of the final climb, the early break had been reeled in by a Grenadiers team looking to up the pace to thin the bunch. They met some competition with Movistar also pace-setting, but it was Porte's move that proved decisive.

He attacked with just under nine kilometres remaining and was joined by a trio of riders, including Mark Padun (Bahrain Victorious) who would go on to win the stage, Enric Mas and Sepp Kuss.

While Padun and Kuss were not an immediate GC threat, they went up the road as Porte and Mas stayed infront of the GC group. This led to a number of riders bridging to Porte's group, with Thomas and Tao Geoghegan Hart poised to respond behind.

But Porte was able to hold off the others, before riding them off his wheel to finish second and enter the final stage as overall leader.

Richie Porte:
"When Movistar set that pace then they didn’t really have many guys left, Geraint said ‘off you go’, that was the plan this morning, that I attack, so we had the numbers and Tao was with with G. It’s great to have numbers, great to be back in this team and I’m enjoying riding my bike.

"The Joux Plane is a climb to have nightmares about, it’s one of the most solid climbs in world cycling. Whatever happens tomorrow we’ll give it our all and I’m motivated to try and bring this jersey home.

"I’ve been here before on the penultimate stage and having the yellow jersey, but I’m under no illusions, it’s not going to be easy tomorrow. I’m over the moon to be in the yellow jersey, but the Dauphine is always won on the last day. It's going to be a big battle tomorrow and I'd love to finish it off."

Here's the report from GC 2nd-place Alexey Lutsenko's Team Astana-Premier Tech:

A gutsy ride from Alexey Lutsenko on Criterium du Dauphine stage seven saw the race leader fight hard to keep his yellow jersey, crossing the line in tenth place to move into second on the General Classification.

Alexey Lutsenko

Alexey Lutsenko after the stage. He didn't leave anything on the table. Sirotti photo

After a brilliant display of teamwork on the summit finish to La Plagne, Ion Izagirre sits in seventh overall with the race still wide open with one stage remaining.

“Today was a really hard mountain stage. The team did amazing work today and especially Ion did great work for me in the last 10 kilometres. When I look around and see all of the big GC riders who are here, big champions like Thomas and Porte, I know how hard it is. I gave everything I could today and in the end, just missed 20 or so seconds. Tomorrow is the last stage and I will give my maximum for the GC. To finish on the podium would be a great result for me and for the team so I will do everything I can. But I am happy with the way I have raced here so far. My legs are good and it’s a good sign ahead of the Tour de France,” said Lutsenko.

With four climbs on the menu, it was a battle to make the breakaway with attack after attack pulled back as the peloton set a blistering pace until a group finally managed to get away after 70 kilometres of racing.

Lutsenko and Izagirre’s teammates took responsibility for the chase with the blue train lined out at the front of the bunch on the early climbs. The breakaway started to fracture in the last 50 kilometres and at the base of the 17-kilometre final climb, the General Classification group was less than two minutes behind.

The key attacks came from the GC group inside the final eight kilometres when four riders made a move on the steep ascent. Lutsenko responded to various counter attacks and Izagirre dug deep to pace the chase group behind and limit time loss as much as possible.

In the end, it was Mark Padun who claimed the stage while Richie Porte’s attack saw the Australian move into the race lead. Lutsenko battled to the line, finishing 26 seconds after Porte, to move into second overall with 17 seconds separating the two ahead of the eighth and final stage.

After working hard on the climb, Izagirre was able to fight back to finish just 13 seconds behind Lutsenko which sees him trail Porte by 38 seconds overall.

Stage 8 sees the peloton tackle six categorized climbs before an uphill finish in Les Gets to crown the winner of the Criterium du Dauphine.

Here's the report from GC fourth-place Wilco Kelderman's Bora-hansgrohe team:

Like yesterday it took more than 60 kilometers until a first group of five riders was able to breakaway on the way to La Plagne. Before the first climb of the day a group of 10 men started chasing, with Nils Politt among them.

On the Col du Pré both groups broke up and a new leading group of 7 riders formed at the front while Nils was dropping back. The gap between the race lead and the bunch was quite stable at 3:30 at this stage of the race. On the last 30 kilometers the gap was coming down fast and on the final climb to La Plagne Movistar set a very fast pace right from the foot. The escapees were reeled in and unfortunately Patrick Konrad was in difficulties with nine kilometers remaining.

Wilco Kelderman was the only BORA – hansgrohe rider in the main group when Porte, Padun, Kuss and Mas attacked at the five-kilometer mark. Wilco stayed with G. Thomas and the Yellow Jersey first and attacked several times then on the final kilometers. While Padun took the win, he crossed the line in 12th place today just a few seconds behind Lutsenko.

Wilco Kelderman

Wilco Kelderman on his way to start stage 6. Sirotti photo

From the Finish Line:
"I didn’t have the legs today. It felt like a bad day which happens to me sometimes after a long period of training. I couldn’t go deep, then it’s impossible to stay up there. But tomorrow is another day and a really hard one, so there is a chance to fight back." – Patrick Konrad

“The pace was really high right from the foot of the climb. When Porte attacked, I couldn’t react at that moment, but then I felt actually really good. I tried it a few times, but it was hard to get a gap and the others just followed my wheel. Then I waited for Astana to pull. The feeling was good, and I look forward to tomorrow. Probably Ineos will control the race and you just have to stay there and maybe try something on the last kick if the legs are good.” – Wilco Kelderman

“Overall it was a good race. Unfortunately, Patrick didn’t have the best day because we would have needed him to cover the move from Porte. Wilco looked strong but a lot of guys only watched to him. But in general the gaps are still small and everything is possible tomorrow." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director

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