Brave Alaphilippe lights up final day of the Critérium du Dauphiné
Quick-Step Floors continue to top the World Tour classification.
Julian Alaphilippe – a prominent figure at the 70th edition of his home race – animated stage 7 (Moûtiers – Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc, 129 kilometers) from the start, attacking before the Cormet de Roselend and not giving up even after his first move was pulled back by a fast-charging peloton. The aggressive Frenchman forged clear again on the rolling valley leading to Cormet de Roselend and took five riders with him in a break which was allowed to open a three-minute maximum gap.
As the stage progressed, Alaphilippe was the first to crest Côte de la Route des Villes, but despite the escapees working well together, their margin started to tumble, as some teams decided to up the tempo on the first-category Col de Saisies, where the bunch got split, only 30 riders making the cut in the yellow jersey group.
Some 25 kilometers from the finish, Bob Jungels hit a kerb and crashed, an incident which left the Luxembourg Champion with a few grazes on his left arm. Bob, who was 11th in the general classification at the start of the stages, remounted after a few minutes and continued the race, but a good overall result got out of the question at that point.
In the front, Julian got dropped on the penultimate climb – Côte des Amerands (2.7km, 11.2%) – after having spent 100 kilometers in the lead and crossed the finish line eight minutes down on stage winner Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), waving to the crowds who cheered his name. The affable Frenchman, who four days ago nabbed his first ever Dauphiné stage, concluded the eight-day event won by Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) as Quick-Step Floors' best ranked rider and is leaving the race with his confidence enhanced by his solid showing, knowing he is on the right path ahead of his first Tour de France appearance in two years.
"Overall, it was a good week in what proved to be again a great race, perfectly organized, with nice roads, short transfers and spectacular fans: we took a beautiful victory, a podium and were always there, attacking and showing our colors", sports director Brian Holm said. "Both Julian and Bob are looking good for the Tour de France; unfortunately, Bob crashed today and hit the tarmac pretty hard, but the helmet really helped and he escaped any serious injury. He has some small pain in his shoulder, but that shouldn't prevent him from riding the National Championships, where we hope to get other nice results with our riders."
The Critérium du Dauphiné was the season's 23rd World Tour appointment, and Quick-Step Floors – the team with the most victories since the start of the year – cemented its position at the head of the classification, having amassed more than 8000 points with 23 different riders.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images