Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 1: Two OPQS in Top 20 of ITT
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Julian Alaphilippe finished 14th in the 10km 1st Stage of Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday, 14" back from stage winner Christopher Froome (Team Sky).
OPQS leader Michal Kwiatkowski was also 20th (+16") in the ITT that included a Category 4 climb, which also served as the intermediate time check.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) was 2nd, and Bob Jungels (Trek Factory Racing) was 3rd.
OPQS looks next to 158.5km Stage 2 on Monday. The stage will be an immediate opportunity for the climbers and GC contenders, as there are six categorized climbs as well as a summit finish on HC Col du Beal (13.6km, 6.6%).
"It was a good ride for me," Alaphilippe said. "I took a good time on the climb. I went full gas but lost too much time in the last kilometers. Before the start I wanted to go full gas to try to get the KOM jersey, but it cost a little bit at the last two kilometers. If you use too much energy, going 110% on that climb, you will repay the effort at the end. But as a French rider I am happy to be at the start of this race, and this was a good first stage for me."
"At the start until the top of the hill I did pretty well, but I think after the descent I had no power in the legs to push it until the finish," Kwiatkowski said. "I know I did my work before this race. After a long break it's hard to jump back to the top level immediately. I just need to be confident in going step-by-step in preparation for the Tour. Tomorrow will be difficult for everyone. Uphill for the first 5 kilometers will hurt for sure. The stage is really hard. We have a few stages at this race with uphill finishes as well. I will try to stay with the best, but I need to stay within my limits in the climbs. I know there are still four weeks and I need to pace myself appropriately."