Thomas De Gendt has won the opening stage of the Criterium du Dauphine.  The Lotto Soudal rider broke clear to win solo ahead of Axel Domont and Diego Ulissi.  The stage saw the peloton caught out with Diego Ulissi leading the bunch over the line just under a minute behind De Gendt.

Stage 1 of the 2017 Criterium du Dauphine took the field to and from Saint-Étienne with eight categorised climbs to contend with throughout the day.  Despite that the toughest of the climbs was only a category 2 at about halfway.  From there the race would finish with four laps of a finishing circuit containing a category 3 climb to tackle each time.

Seven riders broke clear of the peloton in the early stages of the race.  In the move were Bahrain-Merida’s Antonio Nibali, Delko Marseille’s Angel Madrazo and Delio Fernandez, Bora-Hansgrohe’s Silvio Herklotz, Direct Energie’s Romain Sicard, AG2R La Mondiale’s Axel Domont and Lotto Soudal’s Thomas De Gendt.  The break built up a lead that went up to an impressive six minutes; although that had as much to do with the break’s efficiency as it did with the peloton’s reluctance to chase, a reluctance that would prove costly.

Domont and De Gendt were very strong and on the penultimate lap of the finishing circuit they broke clear of the rest.  With 15km to go the gap to the bunch was sitting at 2.31mins, with the pack led by Orica-SCOTT.  The remnants of the break were about a minute behind the break in no man’s land; and with a big question mark over whether they’d stay clear of the pack or not.  

Axel Domont rode bravely to hold on for second place, photo Sirotti

At this point the peloton had long come to terms with the fact that they were caught out big time, and they were doing everything they could to limit their losses.  They kept the pressure on De Gendt and Domont, who maintained a 1.47minute advantage with 9.5km to go.  Meanwhile back in the pack Orica-SCOTT were burning their matches as Simon Gerrans now took over the pace setting for Esteban Chaves.

With 8.4km to go De Gendt’s pace began to really tell and Domont finally realised that his legs had no answer.  The Belgian quickly distanced the Frenchman with a little over 1km to the top of the final climb of the day.  Meanwhile the peloton were mopping up the remnants of the break behind. With 6.8km to go De Gendt received the time gap that he’d built a 20 second lead over Domont.  The gap to the bunch had come down to 1.17mins and itchy feet were beginning to show in the pack as Diego Ulissi of UAE Team Emirates accelerated out of the pack; pursued by Pierre Latour.

Dion Smith (second from left) is taking on his first Criterium du Dauphine, photo Sirotti

Up ahead though De Gendt was descending like a man possessed.  5km to go and with a 1.10min lead the signs were good that the stage win would go his way.  Should he maintain a good advantage at the finish line the indicators would be that he’d be able to hold his lead until at least stage 4’s individual time trial as well; so he had more than a little motivation to get to the finish line at double speed!

Under the flamme rouge the gap had gone down under a minute, but there was no danger that he’d be caught and he enjoyed the moment.  Punching the air to the camera with about 800m to go, De Gendt would secure the overall lead, the stage win and the king of the mountains jersey after taking first place over every climb of the day.  Finally he crossed the line to take the win in 4.17.04.  Domont held on bravely to take second place 44 seconds adrift, while Diego Ulissi out sprinted Pierre Latour and Bora-Hansgrohe’s Emanuel Buchmann to take third place 2 seconds ahead of the pack.

Orica-Scott lead a peloton who were well and truly caught out on stage 1, photo Sirotti

The result means that De Gendt has the overall lead, the points lead and the KOM lead after day one.

Dion Smith of Wanty-Groupe Gobert completed his first ever stage of Criterium du Dauphine in a large group that contained Daryl Impey, Warren Barguil and Leopold König.  Teammates Guillaume Martin and Thomas Degand stayed in the main group alongside race favourites Froome, Chaves and co.

Stage results:
Rank Name Nat. Team   Result
Thomas DE GENDT BEL LTS   4:17:04
Axel DOMONT FRA ALM   +44
Diego ULISSI ITA UAD   +57
Pierre Roger LATOUR FRA ALM   +57
Emanuel BUCHMANN GER BOH   +57
Sonny COLBRELLI ITA TBM   +59
Julien SIMON FRA COF   +59
Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE ESP MOV   +59
Ben SWIFT GBR UAD   +59
10  MICHAEL VALGREN ANDERSEN DEN AST   +59
11  Jens KEUKELEIRE BEL ORS   +59
12  Tony GALLOPIN FRA LTS   +59
13  Grega BOLE SLO TBM   +59
14  Tiesj BENOOT BEL LTS   +59
15  Chris FROOME GBR SKY   +59
16  Mauro FINETTO ITA DMP   +59
17  Simon CLARKE AUS CDT   +59
18  Alberto BETTIOL ITA CDT   +59
19  Guillaume MARTIN FRA WGG   +59
20  Brent BOOKWALTER USA BMC   +59
21  Daniel MARTIN IRL QST   +59
22  Andrew TALANSKY USA CDT   +59
23  Stef CLEMENT NED TLJ   +59
24  Fabio ARU ITA AST   +59
25  Richie PORTE AUS BMC   +59
26  Jakob FUGLSANG DEN AST   +59
27  Sam OOMEN NED SUN   +59
28  Thomas DEGAND BEL WGG   +59
29  Romain BARDET FRA ALM   +59
30  NICHOLAS ROCHE IRL BMC   +59
31  Nathan BROWN USA CDT   +59
32  Luis León SANCHEZ ESP AST   +59
33  Jesus HERRADA LOPEZ ESP MOV   +59
34  Louis MEINTJES RSA UAD   +59
35  Ruben FERNANDEZ ANDUJAR ESP MOV   +59
36  Alexis VUILLERMOZ FRA ALM   +59
37  Johan Esteban CHAVES RUBIO COL ORS   +59
38  Floris DE TIER BEL TLJ   +59
39  Alberto CONTADOR VELASCO ESP TFS   +59
40  Roman KREUZIGER CZE ORS   +59
41  Enric MAS NICOLAU ESP QST   +59
42  Franco PELLIZOTTI ITA TBM   +59
43  David GAUDU FRA FDJ   +59
44  Simon YATES GBR ORS   +59
45  Peter KENNAUGH GBR SKY   +59
46  André CARDOSO POR TFS   +59
47  Rafael VALLS FERRI ESP LTS   +59
48  Michal KWIATKOWSKI POL SKY   +59
49  Vegard Stake LAENGEN NOR UAD   +59
50  Thomas VOECKLER FRA DEN   +59
51  Haimar ZUBELDIA AGIRRE ESP TFS   +59
52  Daniel NAVARRO GARCIA ESP COF   +59
53  Ian BOSWELL USA SKY   +59
54  Sven erik BYSTRØM NOR KAT   +2:09
55  Davide FORMOLO ITA CDT   +2:09
56  Brendan CANTY AUS CDT   +2:09
57  Danilo WYSS SUI BMC   +2:09
58  Sander ARMEE BEL LTS   +2:09
59  Serge PAUWELS BEL DDD   +2:09
60  Ben HERMANS BEL BMC   +2:09
61  Janez BRAJKOVIC SLO TBM   +2:09
62  Romain SICARD FRA DEN   +2:09
63  Tiago MACHADO POR KAT   +2:09
64  Tony MARTIN GER KAT   +2:09
65  Richard Antonio CARAPAZ MONTENEGRO ECU MOV   +2:09
66  Jasha SÜTTERLIN GER MOV   +2:09
67  Alexey LUTSENKO KAZ AST   +2:09
68  Yoann OFFREDO FRA WGG   +2:09
69  Anthony TURGIS FRA COF   +2:09
70  Christoph PFINGSTEN GER BOH   +2:09
71  CYRIL GAUTIER FRA ALM   +2:09
72  Jelle VANENDERT BEL LTS   +2:09
73  Angel MADRAZO RUIZ ESP DMP   +2:09
74  Sergei CHERNETSKI RUS AST   +2:09
75  Petr VAKOC CZE QST   +2:09
76  Jérémy MAISON FRA FDJ   +2:09
77  Maurits LAMMERTINK NED KAT   +2:09
78  AMAEL MOINARD FRA BMC   +2:09
79  Silvio HERKLOTZ GER BOH   +2:53
80  Delio FERNANDEZ CRUZ ESP DMP   +2:53
81  Edvald BOASSON HAGEN NOR DDD   +59
82  Daniel MORENO ESP MOV   +59
83  Michael GOGL AUT TFS   +4:37
84  Simon GERRANS AUS ORS   +5:24
85  Jack HAIG AUS ORS   +5:24
86  Oliver NAESEN BEL ALM   +5:47
87  Dylan VAN BAARLE NED CDT   +5:47
88  Quentin PACHER FRA DMP   +5:47
89  Scott THWAITES GBR DDD   +5:47
90  Natnael BERHANE ERI DDD   +5:47
91  Chad HAGA USA SUN   +5:47
92  Antonio NIBALI ITA TBM   +5:47
93  Nils POLITT GER KAT   +6:24
94  Marco MINNAARD NED WGG   +6:45
95  Pieter VANSPEYBROUCK BEL WGG   +6:45
96  Alexey VERMEULEN USA TLJ   +6:45
97  Julien VERMOTE BEL QST   +6:45
98  James SHAW GBR LTS   +6:45
99  Brian NAULEAU FRA DEN   +6:45
100  Damien HOWSON AUS ORS   +6:51
101  Daryl IMPEY RSA ORS   +8:07
102  Warren BARGUIL FRA SUN   +8:07
103  Ben O’CONNOR AUS DDD   +8:07
104  Markel IRIZAR ARANBURU ESP TFS   +8:07
105  Youcef REGUIGUI ALG DDD   +8:07
106  Jorge ARCAS PEÑA ESP MOV   +8:07
107  Rick ZABEL GER KAT   +8:07
108  Thierry HUPOND FRA DMP   +8:07
109  Frederik BACKAERT BEL WGG   +8:07
110  Dion SMITH NZL WGG   +8:07
111  Romain COMBAUD FRA DMP   +8:07
112  Julien EL FARES FRA DMP   +8:07
113  Imanol ERVITI ESP MOV   +8:07
114  Kristijan ÐURASEK CRO UAD   +8:07
115  Manuele MORI ITA UAD   +8:07
116  Samuel DUMOULIN FRA ALM   +8:07
117  Dimitri CLAEYS BEL COF   +8:07
118  Yukiya ARASHIRO JPN TBM   +8:07
119  Angelo TULIK FRA DEN   +8:07
120  Kilian FRANKINY SUI BMC   +8:07
121  Enrico BATTAGLIN ITA TLJ   +8:07
122  Christian KNEES GER SKY   +8:07
123  Leopold KONIG CZE BOH   +8:07
124  Lennard HOFSTEDE NED SUN   +8:07
125  Koen BOUWMAN NED TLJ   +8:07
126  Alessandro DE MARCHI ITA BMC   +8:12
127  Julien DUVAL FRA ALM   +11:11
128  Jay Robert THOMSON RSA DDD   +12:13
129  Maximiliano Ariel RICHEZE ARG QST   +12:30
130  Bryan COQUARD FRA DEN   +13:08
131  Gijs VAN HOECKE BEL TLJ   +13:08
132  Antwan TOLHOEK NED TLJ   +13:08
133  Geoffrey SOUPE FRA COF   +13:08
134  Johannes FRÖHLINGER GER SUN   +13:08
135  Adrien NIYONSHUTI RWA DDD   +13:08
136  Matteo BONO ITA UAD   +13:08
137  Tim DECLERCQ BEL QST   +13:08
138  Olivier LE GAC FRA FDJ   +13:08
139  Sebastian LANGEVELD NED CDT   +13:08
140  Luke ROWE GBR SKY   +13:08
141  Fumiyuki BEPPU JPN TFS   +13:08
142  Michael MORKOV DEN KAT   +13:08
143  Nikita STALNOV KAZ AST   +13:08
144  Ian STANNARD GBR SKY   +13:08
145  David LOPEZ GARCIA ESP SKY   +13:08
146  Bakhtiyar KOZHATAYEV KAZ AST   +13:08
147  Tosh VAN DER SANDE BEL LTS   +13:08
148  Evaldas SISKEVICIUS LTU DMP   +13:08
149  Andreas SCHILLINGER GER BOH   +13:08
150  Amund Grondahl JANSEN NOR TLJ   +13:08
151  Adrien PETIT FRA DEN   +16:01
152  Cyril LEMOINE FRA COF   +16:01
153  Julien MORICE FRA DEN   +16:01
154  Mickael DELAGE FRA FDJ   +16:01
155  Guillaume VAN KEIRSBULCK BEL WGG   +16:01
156  Bert DE BACKER BEL SUN   +16:01
157  Edward THEUNS BEL TFS   +16:01
158  Arnaud DEMARE FRA FDJ   +16:01
159  Nacer BOUHANNI FRA COF   +16:01
160  Chris HAMILTON AUS SUN   +16:01
161  Jonas VAN GENECHTEN BEL COF   +16:01
162  Jacopo GUARNIERI ITA FDJ   +16:01
163  Borut BOZIC SLO TBM   +16:01
164  Ignatas KONOVALOVAS LTU FDJ   +16:01
165  Ramunas NAVARDAUSKAS LTU TBM   +16:01
166  Davide CIMOLAI ITA FDJ   +16:01
167  Federico ZURLO ITA UAD   +16:01
168  Alexander KRISTOFF NOR KAT   +16:01
169  Phil BAUHAUS GER SUN   +16:01
170  Jesus HERNANDEZ BLAZQUEZ ESP TFS   +16:01
171  Eros CAPECCHI ITA QST   +16:01
172  Martin VELITS SVK QST   +16:01
173  Pascal ACKERMANN GER BOH   +16:01
174  Michael SCHWARZMANN GER BOH   +16:01
175  Aleksejs SARAMOTINS LAT BOH   +23:18
DNF Tony HUREL FRA DEN  

 

Photos: Sirotti

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