Race report

Strong 8th place for Marc Hirschi in the high mountains

Critérium du Dauphiné

The queen stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné lay ahead of the riders this afternoon as they rolled out of the start town Ugine. With well over 4000 metres of altitude gain throughout the day, it was set to be an incredibly tough day in the saddle.

The opening 50 kilometres were packed with three testing classified climbs and numerous smaller uncategorised tests, which resulted in a hard-fought and incredibly fast start to the stage. After several failed breakaway attempts, a large group of 15 managed to escape with Marc Hirschi riding strongly to make the move for the team.

Their gap grew out to four minutes and would hold at close to that for the next hour or so, before a big increase of pace on the penultimate climb back in the peloton saw their advantage diminish dramatically. This forced attacks in the front group, with Hirschi riding maturely at his own pace, before catching up with the head of the race at the summit.

A lull in pace in the peloton saw the breakaway hit the final climb to the line with a two minute advantage and the attacks soon restarted. Hirschi was able to follow the opening blows before he had to let go of the wheels, riding his own tempo all the way to the line for a solid eighth place finish.

“It was a hard day but luckily I made it into the breakaway,” explained Hirschi. “It was a big fight to get in there. I knew it was really important to get over the HC climb with the group, which I did on my limit. It was actually already more than I expected from the day. Then on the last climb I tried to go all but I didn’t have the legs to go with the group. To get a top ten; I’m really happy and my shape is going in the right direction. It’s also the first time in my career that I could do really well in the high climbs so it was a really positive day. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and I hope the legs are still good and we’ll see what we can do.”

Team Sunweb coach Matt Winston continued: We wanted to try and get Marc in the break today – he had saved himself a little bit yesterday for it. We managed to get him there and he did a really good job throughout the day and really looked after himself. The break came into the final over two and a half minutes ahead of the peloton but he just didn’t have the legs to get a top result. A top ten when you look at the quality of this field, I think that’s a really solid result.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 KÄMNA Lennard BORA - hansgrohe 4:27:56 60
2 DE LA CRUZ David UAE-Team Emirates 0:41 25
3 ALAPHILIPPE Julian Deceuninck - Quick Step 0:56 10
8 HIRSCHI Marc Team Sunweb 1:43 -
51 ROCHE Nicolas Team Sunweb 16:02 -
83 DONOVAN Mark Team Sunweb 22:38 -
97 KRAGH ANDERSEN Søren Team Sunweb ,, -
108 ARNDT Nikias Team Sunweb 26:54 -
112 SÜTTERLIN Jasha Team Sunweb ,, -