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Spaniard escapes late in the stage with Jakob Fuglsang, digs deep to stay in the Dane's wheel and finally outsprints his companion to finally get the win that escaped him in the Giro

Photo: Sirotti

ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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CRITERIUM DU DAUPHINE

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EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI

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JAKOB FUGLSANG

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SAMUEL SANCHEZ

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08.06.2013 @ 14:55 Posted by Philip Tarning-Andersen

Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) won today's queen stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné with an attack on the day's penultimate climb with less than 15km to go. Later joined by Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), the Spaniard dug deep to stay with the Dane and finally outsprinted his companion at the line while Chris Froome (Sky) finished safely 16 seconds later to defend his overall lead.

 

Samuel Sanchez arrived at the Criterium du Dauphiné with the objective of making amends for a disappointing Giro but a disappointing time trial and struggles in Thursday's uphill finish made him lose all hopes of a high overall finish. Today he bounced back with an impressive win in the race's queen stage as he outsprinted Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) when the duo arrived together at the finish in Superdevoluy.

 

Sanchez had escaped close to the top of the day's penultimate climb, the Col du Noyer, when hard tempo-setting by first Jesus Hernandez and later Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) had brought back all the early escapees and reduced the yellow jersey group to a very select few. 3rd placed Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) had been dropped and the Saxo-Tinkoff GC rider Michael Rogers could move onto the overall podium which was the reason for the hard work by the Danish team.

 

With 14km to go, the yellow jersey group only consisted of Contador, Rogers, the Sky riders Peter Kennaugh, Geraint Thomas, Richie Porte and Chris Froome, Fuglsang, Sanchez, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), Daniel Navarro (Cofidis), the Katusha riders Joaquin Rodriguez and Daniel Moreno, the Blanco riders Stef Clement and Laurens Ten Dam and Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel). Kennaugh was the first to drop off when Contador upped the pace a little further while Thomas, Nieve and Ten Dam had to give up a little bit later.

 

With 12km to go and only about 1km to the top of the climb Sanchez took things into his own hands when he launched an attack. Contador did not react to the acceleration but kept a steady pace and the Euskaltel captain dangled a few meter ahead of the main group for a long time. As they got closer to the top, he found some increased strength and his gap started to grow.

 

With the top of the climb now in sight, Fuglsang accelerated hard and closed the gap to Sanchez in just a few seconds and the duo started the short descent to the bottom of the final category 3 climb with a tiny 10 seconds advantage. Being formidable descenders, Fuglsang and Sanchez did, however, manage to extend the lead and at the bottom of the descent, they were now 20 seconds of the group that was still led by Contador.

 

The final slopes were not steep but nonetheless Fuglsang was able to put his companion under a considerable pressure. The Dane made all the work while Sanchez had to give it his all just to stay in his wheel. With 2,3km to go, Fuglsang attacked but Sanchez dug deep and managed to get back into his wheel.

 

Behind, Rodriguez tried his hand with 2km to go and quickly managed to build up a sizeable gap over the Contador-led group which was now almost 30 seconds behind the front duo. 700m further up the road, Navarro was the next to attack and he quickly joined up with a fading Rodriguez to form a chase duo.

 

They were quickly overtaken by Porte when the Australian attacked furiously under the flamme rouge and the Australian approached the front duo at a rapid pace. The final kilometer was, however, not as hard as the previous one though and he was unable to close the gap to Sanchez and Fuglsang.

 

Sanchez was clearly aided by the flatter roads and when he opened his sprint, the outcome was never in doubt. He took a convincing win while Porte finished 15 seconds later. He was almost caught by the yellow jersey group which only lost a further second and was led across the line by Moreno while Contador and Rodriguez finished their race a few seconds later.

 

Froome's lead never come under threat and despite the lost second to Porte, he still leads his teammate by 53 seconds. Only one day is left for Froome to defend his jersey but that is certainly not an easy one. The mountaintop finish in Risoul will make sure that nothing has been decided until the very end.

 

Starting at 12.45, you can follow the final stage on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

 

A sizeable group goes clear

The 187,5km queen stage was a highly anticipated one as it was some kind of a dress rehearsal for the 18th stage of the Tour de France. Early on, the riders had to tackle the double-climb of Alpe d'Huez and Col de Sarenne and the subsequent descent which will play a crucial role in the world's biggest race.

 

An early breakaway was expected to have a solid chance and so many riders were keen to join the move. Hence, the start was a fast one and it took some time for the day's early move to go clear. A promising 22-man group was brought back and instead another breakaway containing the exact same number of riders was allowed to go up the road.

 

Sergio Paulinho (Team Saxo-Tinkoff), Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Kevin Seeldraeyer (Astana), Ivan Santaromita (BMC), Laurent Didier (Radioshack), Tony Gallopin (Radioshack), Travis Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge), Jerome Coppel (Cofidis), Gorka Izagirre (Euskaltel), Pierre Rolland (Team Europcar), Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Eloy Teruel (Movistar), KOM leader Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano), Arnaud Gerard (Bretagne), David De La Cruz (NetApp-Endura), Angel Madrazo (Movistar), David Veilleux (Europcar), Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil), Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Nikias Arndt (Argos-Shimano) and Matteo Bono (Lampre-Merida) steadily increased their gap on the famous slopes of the Alpe d'Huez and at the top, they were 4.20 ahead of the peloton which was controlled by the Sky duo of Ian Stannard and Edvald Boasson Hagen. Damuseau and Seeldraeyers battled hard for the mountains points but Damuseau was only beaten by De Gendt to increase his lead over the Belgian in the KOM competition.

 

Veilleux works hard

Rolland was on a mission and his teammate Veilleux did a huge work to facilitate the Frenchman's stage win opportunities. When the break hit the slopes of the Col d'Ornon he paid for his efforts and like Teruel, Bono, De Gendt, Chavanel and Arndt he was dropped while Stannard and Boasson Hagen still kept the gap stable at around the 5 minutes mark.

 

Chavanel, Arndt and Veilleux managed to rejoin the front while Teruel and later also De Gendt and Bono were caught by the peloton. There was, however, no real cooperation in the peloton and the hard pace by Stannard and Boasson Hagen saw the gap drop rapidly.

 

The cooperation is gone

With a little more than 40km to go, the break was only 2.30 ahead of the peloton, and Rolland knew that he had to bring the size of the group down. He tried an attack on a small uncategorized climb but the entire group was able to respond.

 

That spelled the end for the cooperation in the group and the next to try his hand was Van Den Broeck. He was also unable to break clear but the move saw Arndt, Veilleux, Coppel, Didier and Lutsenko drop off. While the latter three managed to rejoin the front group, Arndt and Veilleux were caught with 29km to go.

 

Katusha starts to chase

A little earlier, Katusha had shown their intentions by asking Sergei Chernetskiy and Petr Ignatenko to join the chase in the peloton but at the same time De Marchi and Chavanel left their escape companions behind. Despite, the best efforts from the Katusha riders, that duo started to increase their advantage.

 

With 25km to go, Boasson Hagen was back on the front and the Norwegian started to once again bring down the gap. However, the front duo was stille more than 2 minutes clear when they hit the bottom of the Noyer climb.

 

Attacks from the peloton

The chase group was now splintering and only Rolland, Van Den Broeck, Paulinho, De La Cruz, Madrazo, Santaromita and Gallopin were able to survive some way up the climb. They were joined by Jose Herrada (Movistar) who attacked with 20km to go from a peloton which was now led by Thomas.

 

The next to attack was Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne) who rocketed past the chase group which was quickly brought back. Herrada immediately went to the front with Valverde in his wheel in an attempt to set up the latter for the win.

 

Valverde and Rodriguez attack

The duo gapped the peloton and were joined by Rodriguez. When Herrada had finished his work a little later, Valverde set off with Rodriguez in his wheel and they quickly caught Sepulveda.

 

Rodriguez was, however, unwilling to contribute to the pace-setting and so Thomas steadily brought the move back. At the same time, De Marchi had now dropped Chavanel who quickly fell back into the bunch.

 

With 14km to go, Hernandez hit the front to up the pace and a little later he left the job to teammate Contador. The hard pace drastically reduced the size of the group and brought back De Marchi. A little later Sanchez put in his attack, setting up the exciting final that saw the Spaniard finally take his first win of the season.

 

Result:

1. Samuel Sanchez 5.26.14

2. Jakob Fuglsang

3. Richie Porte +0.15

4. Daniel Moreno +0.16

5. Stef Clement

6. Alejandro Valverde

7. Chris Froome

8. Daniel Navarro

9. Michael Rogers

10. Alberto Contador +0.23

 

General classification:

General classification:

1. Chris Froome 25.00.17

2. Richie Porte +0.53

3. Michael Rogers +1.37

4. Daniel Moreno +1.47

5. Daniel Navarro +1.49

6. Jakob Fuglsang +2.04

7. Stef Clement +2.32

8. Alejandro Valverde +2.47

9. Rohan Dennis +2.48

10. Alberto Contador +2.56

 

Points classification:

1. Gianni Meersman 44

2. Chris Froome 35

3. Edvald Boasson Hagen 26

4. Richie Porte 24

5. David Veilleux 20

 

Mountains classification:

1. Thomas Damuseau 105

2. Kevin Seeldraeyers 77

3. Thomas De Gendt 48

4. David Veilleux 45

5. Alexey Lutsenko 35

 

Young riders' classification:

1. Rohan Dennis 25.03.01

2. Michal Kwiatkowski +1.01

3. Alexandre Geniez +2.22

4. Warren Barguil +5.52

5. Dominik Nerz +7.17

 

Teams classification:

1. Sky Procycling 75.08.27

2. Team Saxo-Tinkoff +2.27

3. Cofidis +9.35

4. Euskaltel-Euskadi +12.30

5. Blanco +14.33

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