- After I closed the gap with the group of Kwiatkowski on the final climb, we were not able to stay clear from the group behind us, as the climb was just too short. In the descent I tried several times to make a gap, and even in the final kilometer, but the group was just too big to create an advantage. But after all I’m happy that I had the legs to do this effort, and I’m looking forward to the next days. - Michael Valgren.
- Today was a day without any problems, except that I had to stop behind a crash in the final, but the team did a great job and got me back in the first group. I’m feeling good and even in the hard final I was able to stay in the first group without any problems. - Pello Bilbao.
The first stage of this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné, a 179 kilometers from Valence to Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert. A stage with seven categorized climbs, which made it a hard day on the road. Three riders created today’s breakaway, but they got caught going into the final lap of the finish circuit. In this final lap there was a crash in the peloton, with our Bakhtar Kozhatayev involved (without serious injuries).
On the final climb, Michael Valgren closed the gap with the leaders and tried to attack several times in the descent. Meanwhile, Pello Bilbao was able to get back in the first group with the help of his teammates. In the final kilometer, Valgren tried again to create a gap, but at the end it was Daryl Impey who took the stage victory. Michal Kwiatkowsi successfully defended his GC lead, Pello Bilbao finished in the same time.
Tomorrow will be a similar day, as the peloton will ride a 180.5 kilometers from Montbrison to Belleville en Beaujolais. Five categorized climbs, but a final that will be more flat then today.
Photo credit: Bettiniphoto