Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 8: Martin Attempts to Stay Away Solo, De La Cruz Finishes 13th GC
Etixx - Quick-Step rider Tony Martin tested the peloton in the final, 156.5km Stage 8 of Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday, first joining an original breakaway of about 13 riders, then getting a 10" advantage only to build on it with 75.6km to go.
Martin was as much as 4 minutes ahead of the peloton, but with each climb and passing kilometer they chipped away at his lead. The gap was down to 1'05" with 18.5km to go, and he was caught by the chasers at 17.2km to go. The peloton caught up to him soon after. Stephen Cummings (MTN - Qhubeka) went ahead of his fellow breakaway members and had a 44" advantage with 13.9km to go.
But the Category 1 summit finale on Modane Valfréjus (8.4km, 5.7%) was too much for anyone to stay away from the yellow jersey group. David De La Cruz was able to stay with the high tempo set on the front by Team Sky until about 4.4km remained to race. Chris Froome (Team Sky) attacked with 2.6km to go, and by 2.3km to go he passed Cummings. Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team), race leader going into the stage, tried to bridge to Froome but couldn't, and was caught by Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Lampre-Merida's Rui Costa. Froome went on to win the stage and the overall, with Yates 2nd, Costa 3rd, and van Garderen 4th.
De La Cruz finished 13th (+1'20") in the stage, and also was the top overall finisher for the team in 13th (+5'24").
"Our objective here was to fight for a top 15 in the GC," De La Cruz said. "We tried to do it, and I am happy about my race with my 13th place. Of course when you are close to the top 10 of the GC, you always hope for a little bit better of a performance to finish a little higher. But I really gave everything at this race. To be honest after racing Catalunya, Pais Vasco, Romandie, and the Giro, just being competitive here is a nice achievement. I am also happy with the confidence I had from the team. They stayed with me and every day the staff and riders believed in me. So it was nice. I am happy to be on this team. This race gives me the confidence to keep working hard, and to prepare the best way possible for the next part of the season."
"This morning with the team we decided to try to get in the breakaway," Martin said. "We wanted to try and go for a stage victory. Pieter Serry and I had the task to enter in the breakaway, while De La Cruz stayed with the best. We tried a lot in the earlier part of race and finally we entered into the right breakaway. It was a hard day in front of the race. The parcours wasn't so perfect to ride alone, and there was also a headwind. But I tried, and I also have to say I had a good feeling during the race. I think this also an important test prior to Le Tour and the prologue of the Tour de France. I finished this race with good sensations, having done solid work here. Now I will race the national time trial championship in Germany, and then I will focus on a few specific training sessions, especially on my Specialized Shiv, prior to the Tour de France."