Race report

Casper Pedersen takes KOM lead in Dauphiné opener

Critérium du Dauphiné

The Critérium du Dauphiné started today with a tricky stage from Aurillac to Jussac. Labelled as a potential sprint stage, the route featured five categorised climbs with the last of which cresting with just 18 kilometres to go, it certainly wasn’t going to be an easy day to control.

A strong group of six riders, including Casper Pedersen, escaped early into the stage with the peloton seemingly happy to let them go. Once their gap reached three minutes some of the sprint trains came to the front of the bunch in an attempt to control proceedings. Pedersen rode vigorously in the breakaway, taking maximum points on the first four climbs of the day and as a result will get to wear the KOM jersey as leader of that classification tomorrow.

Over the penultimate climb of the day the gap was one minute and 50 seconds, with the now five riders working well together to keep the peloton at bay. However, there was an increase in pace by the bunch and things exploded on the last ascent, with the peloton drastically whittled down. Pedersen held on to the break for as long as he could, before dropping back after what was a successful day out on the bike.

The reduced bunch caught the remnants of the breakaway inside the last kilometre and the stage was decided in a sprint finish. Florian Stork was first home for the team, finishing just inside the top 20 on the stage.

“It was a super nice day actually, we were really aware in the beginning of the stage to get in the breakaway,” beamed Pedersen at the finish. “On the first stage there is always the mountains jersey up for grabs, so as soon as I got in the breakaway that was one of the goals: to try and take it by the end of the day. I knew it would be hard with strong riders like Magnus Cort, who I had actually been sprint training with last week, so it was nice to beat him fair and square today. I’m really thankful for the opportunity the team gave me to go on the attack in this stage, and I’m pleased to have taken that chance by getting to wear the KOM jersey. It has been a good start to the race for us.”

Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek continued: “The plan was to have someone in the break and Casper did well to be there because it was a longer fight than we expected to get into the move. They made it really far because it was good group and Casper rode strongly to take the most points in the KOM jersey, so we are really happy with that outcome. We had Tom and Florian finish in the front group, so in general it was a good day for us. Tomorrow there are a lot of KOMs so it will be difficult to defend Casper’s lead but we will see what happens.” 

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 BOASSON HAGEN Edvald Team Dimension Data 3:24:33 60
2 GILBERT Philippe Deceuninck - Quick Step ,, 25
3 VAN AERT Wout Team Jumbo-Visma ,, 10
18 STORK Florian Team Sunweb ,, -
41 DUMOULIN Tom Team Sunweb ,, -
76 NIEUWENHUIS Joris Team Sunweb 3:50 -
94 PEDERSEN Casper Team Sunweb ,, -
95 POWER Robert Team Sunweb ,, -
124 FRÖHLINGER Johannes Team Sunweb 10:46 -
150 TUSVELD Martijn Team Sunweb 14:59 -