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Criterium du Dauphine 2016: Stage 2

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Live coverage of stage 2 of Critérium du Dauphiné, 168 kilometres from Crêches-sur-Saône to Chalmazel - Jeansagnière.

There are stiffer tests to come later in the week, but stage 2 of the Dauphiné offers up an intriguing, two-part pour of a finale. The final 20 kilometres or so feature the category 2 Côte de Saint-Georges-en-Couzan (7.5 kilometres at an average gradient of 5.6%) followed almost immediately by the category 3 haul to the line at Chalmazel-Jeansagnière, an ascent of 6.8 kilometres at an average of 3.7%.

 

The preceding 140-odd kilometres are on rolling, heavy roads, and include the category 3 Col de Durbize after 13 kilometres and the category 2 Col de la Croix Nicelle after 52 kilometres. Yellow jersey Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) will be hoping to let a break slip clear early on, but the contenders for final overall victory might yet end up exchanging blows on that punchy finale this afternoon.

 

The general classification picture is as follows after the opening two days of racing:

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 4:39:29
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:06
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:13
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:21
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:24
6 Wouter Poels (Ned) Team Sky 0:00:25
7 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:29
8 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:31
9 Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:37
10 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:39

 

The peloton is just about to roll out from the start in Crêches-sur-Saône. After a short neutralised section, the action should be underway in earnest by 12.50 local time.

 

Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) claimed stage honours yesterday, and dedicated his victory to the late Muhammad Ali. You can read Stephen Farrand's account of the stage here.

 

Bouhanni's win, of course, was not without controversy as the Cofidis and Katusha lead-out trains clashed in the finale. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) was among those to voice his unease. "What I saw the last km has nothing to do with bike riding. There are some limits," he wrote on Twitter. The commissaires, however, decided not to take any action.

 

167km remaining from 167km

The peloton is negotiating the opening kilometres of stage 2. An early attack is quickly shut down by Contador's Tinkoff guard. The Spaniard will want a break to go clear, but he won't want to let any danger men sneak up the road either.

 

160km remaining from 167km

It's been a brisk start to proceedings but Tinkoff remain active at the head of the peloton and no breakaway attempt has stuck just yet.

 

The bunch is approaching the base of the day's first obstacle, the Col de Durbize. The category 3 ascent is 4.5 kilometres in length at an average gradient of 4.8%.

 

158km remaining from 167km

Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data) accelerates on the Durbize and brings five riders with him. The Eritrean may well have established our early break.

 

Teklehaimanot is joined off the front by Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Bartosz Huzarski (Bora-Argon 18), Jack Bauer (Cannondale) and Lilian Calméjane (Direct Energie).

 

154km remaining from 167km

That sextet crested the summit of the Durbize with a small lead over the main peloton.

 

151km remaining from 167km

The six leaders have a gap of 45 seconds over the peloton, which is still being led by Alberto Contador's Tinkoff teammates.

 

Teklehaimanot led the escapees over the Durbize, incidentally. The Eritrean won the King of the Mountains classification at last year's Dauphine and seems to have the same prize in mind here.

148km remaining from 167km

Lutsenko, winner of the under-23 world title in Valkenburg in 2012, was unable to hold the pace in the break and has sat up. As the Kazakhstani rider is reabsorbed by the peloton, the break's lead yawns out to three minutes.

 

The best-placed of the leading quintet on general classification Bartosz Huzarski, who began the day in 53rd overall, 1:21 down on Contador, and the Pole is currently the virtual overall leader.

 

142km remaining from 167km

There’s a relative détente in the peloton, with Tinkoff happy to keep the break’s lead in and around the three-minute mark for now. Dark clouds are swirling overhead further up the road, incidentally, and conditions could be rather trying later in the afternoon.

 

Away from the Dauphiné, there has been encouraging news about Keagen Girdlestone's condition. The South African was involved in a serious crash at the Coppa della Pace on Sunday, but a post on the rider's Facebook page on Tuesday morning said that Girdlestone is now in a stable condition and there is no immediate threat to his life.

 

137km remaining from 167km

Contador's Tinkoff guard remain at the head of the peloton. The gap to the leading quintet stands at 3:20.

 

While Chris Froome leads Team Sky's challenge here, Geraint Thomas will hold the reins at the Tour de Suisse next week. Our own Patrick Fletcher has spoken to Thomas and the Welshman clarified to Cyclingnews that the recent new contract he penned with Team Sky is for one year (with the option of second) rather than for two.

 

125km remaining from 167km

The leading quintet continue to collaborate smoothly at the head of the race, 3:20 clear of the peloton as they pass through Claveisolles. The escapees are not far from the base of the day's second ascent, the category 2 Col de la Croix Nicelle.

 

Contador's form in Sunday's stiff uphill prologue was enough to prompt Giuseppe Martinelli - who was the Spaniard's directeur sportif at Astana in 2010 - to declare to Gazzetta dello Sport that this is the "best and strongest" that Contador has ever been. Contador has certainly put himself in the box seat at this Dauphine, though he has insisted that today's tricky finale is better suited "to someone like Dan Martin or Simon Gerrans." You can read the Spaniard's full thoughts after yesterday's opening road stage here.

 

The five leaders are on the lower slopes of the Croix Nicelle with an advantage of 3:45 over the peloton.

 

111km remaining from 167km

The five leaders are still together over the top of the Croix Nicelle, and they continue to hold an advantage of 3:45 over the peloton, where Tinkoff set the tempo and Sky maintain a watching brief near the front.

 

Teklehaimanot led over the the Col de la Croix Nicelle, picking up the maximum five points on offer in the king of the mountains classification.

 

100km remaining from 167km

Black clouds continue to threaten overhead, but the expected thunderstorm has held off for the time being. Teklehaimanot, Calmejane, Huzarski, Bauer and Gougeard enter the final 100 kilometres with a lead of 3:45 over the peloton.

 

Video highlights of yesterday's keenly-contested finale are available here, while you can listen to the Cyclingnews Podcast analysing the day's action here.

 

90km remaining from 167km

Sky have joined Tinkoff in controlling affairs at the head of the peloton and the break's advantage has dipped slightly to three minutes.

 

82km remaining from 167km

There's scarcely a metre of flat on the course this afternoon. Our five leaders are currently negotiating the rolling roads around Régny, and they are still more than 60 kilometres from the base of the Côte de Saint-Georges-en-Couzan and the beginning of today's endgame. 

 

7.5 kilometres in length with an average gradient of 5.6%, the category 2 Côte de Saint-Georges-en-Couzan should kickstart the action in the finale. Daniel Benson drove over the climb this morning en route to the finish in Chalmazel-Jeansagnière and has this account: "It starts out with some fairly serious steep ramps before levelling out. There’s a slight headwind going up the climb but it’s so well sheltered that it shouldn’t really be a factor. There’s a good chance for a team like Sky to cause problems on the climb and it suits their style of controlling from the front. The only question mark is whether it’s really long enough to cause any problems for the true GC contenders. The descent towards the final climb is rapid but the concern could turn out to be the weather - there are a few dark clouds gathering now at the foot of the final climb."

 

72km remaining from 167km

Letour.fr reports that Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling) has abandoned the Dauphine. The Belgian had been distanced on the Col de la Croix Nicelle.

 

66km remaining from 167km

The calm before the storm? The pace has dropped slightly in the main peloton and the break's buffer has been padded out again slightly to 3:40.

 

60km remaining from 167km

There's been a significant slackening of the pace in the main peloton, with a number of riders availing of the opportunity to drop back into the convoy of cars and pick up bidons. The end result is that the break's lead has crept up to the five-minute mark with a shade under 60 kilometres remaining.

 

56km remaining from 167km

Alberto Contador's Tinkoff team takes up the baton once more at the head of the peloton. The deficit to the escapees stands at 4:50.

 

53km remaining from 167km

Teklehaimanot, Bauer, Gougeard, Calmejane and the maillot jaune virtuel Huzarski continue to share the load out in front as they pedal towards the village of Balbigny.

 

46km remaining from 167km

Tinkoff continue to shoulder the responsibility for leading the peloton, though one senses that Contador would be happy to concede the jersey to one of the leading quintet this afternoon. The gap is holding steady at around five minutes.

 

There is no particular urgency in the main peloton, with Tinkoff tapping out a steady tempo, and Sky, BMC et al happy to leave them to it for the time being.

 

39km remaining from 167km

The five escapees carry a lead of five minutes into the final 40 kilometres remaining, though the terrain turns rather more rugged with 22 kilometres remaining.

 

The neo-professional Lilian Calmejane puts in a long, long turn on the front for the leading quintet on the narrow roads leading towards the base of the day's final two climbs.

 

35km remaining from 167km

Fifth place at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad this year suggest Rouen-born Alexis Gougeard's future may lie in the cobbled classics, but he showed he can deal with hilly terrain, too, when he won into Avila at last year's Vuelta a Espana. There is plenty of horsepower in this break and they are starting to believe in their chances of staying clear to the finish. 

 

32km remaining from 167km

Etixx-QuickStep have begun to contribute to the pursuit effort at the head of the peloton, as Niki Terpstra hits the front. With both Julian Alaphilippe and Dan Martin in their ranks, Etixx-QuickStep boast two potential stage winners, and it's hardly surprising that they are seeking to inject a bit of urgency into proceedings.

 

30km remaining from 167km

Etixx-QuickStep's pace-setting has seen 40 seconds shaved off the break's lead. The gap has dropped to 4:20.

 

28km remaining from 167km

The sun has poked through the clouds once again and it seems as though the feared rain will hold off until after the finish. The peloton is strung out now under the impetus of Etixx-QuickStep and the gap is down to a shade over four minutes.

 

27km remaining from 167km

Large tufts are being sliced off the break's lead with each passing kilometre now, as Etixx-QuickStep continue their pace-making. The gap is down to 3:40 and is still falling.

 

26km remaining from 167km

The break is a little under three kilometres from the base of the first act of the two-part finale to the day's stage, the 7.5km-long Côte de Saint-Georges-en-Couzan.

 

The summit of the Côte de Saint-Georges-en-Couzan comes with 14 kilometres remaining, and there follows a 7-kilometre plateau before the final 6.8-kilometre haul to the finish line.

23km remaining from 167km

The five leaders continue to collaborate well, but their advantage is dwindling. Etixx-QuickStep's efforts have cut the gap to just over three minutes.

21km remaining from 167km

A delegation from BMC moves up alongside Etixx-QuickStep as the peloton hurtles towards the base of the penultimate climb. The gap has dropped to just 2:25 and continues to fall.

 

The escapees have begun the penultimate climb, with virtual leader Bartosz Huzarski setting the pace on the front.

 

19km remaining from 167km

Huzarski is joined on the front by Gougeard, and that duo looks set to pull away from the rest of the break.

 

A number of the sprinters have sat up as the peloton hits the same point, with Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) among those distanced.

 

Gougeard and Huzarski have forged clear at the front, with the Frenchman doing the bulk of the pace-making on the climb. The duo has a lead of just 1:43 over a reduced peloton, which is still being led by a very determined Etixx-QuickStep.

 

18km remaining from 167km

Tony Martin rides on the front of the peloton with Julian Alaphilippe tucked on his wheel. A delegation from Team Sky is positioned just behind, including Michal Kwiatkowski and Chris Froome. Contador is happy to sit a little further down in the body of the bunch for now.

 

As is so often the case on a shallow climb like this one, the selection is coming from the back rather than the front, with riders being dropped in twos and threes.

 

17km remaining from 167km

Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) opts to try his luck and the former world champion punches his way off the front of the reduced peloton. 

 

17km remaining from 167km

Out in front, meanwhile Gougeard launches a fierce acceleration of his own and the Frenchman has punched his way clear of Huzarski.

 

16km remaining from 167km

Gougeard has 15 seconds on Huzarski, 1:15 on Kwiatkowski and 1:25 on the reduced peloton of favourites.

 

A determined Kwiatkowski is stretching out his advantage over the yellow jersey group, and the Pole is picking off the remnants of the early break. He has just blown past Teklehaimanot, and is setting out in pursuit of Huzarski.

 

Rather surprisingly, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) has been deposited out the back of the peloton. The finale seemed tailor-made for a rider of the Norwegian's qualities, but the pace is very high indeed at this juncture.

 

15km remaining from 167km

A kilometre from the summit of the penultimate climb, Gougeard has 25 seconds in hand on Huzarski, 1:20 on Kwiatkowski and 1:32 on the yellow jersey group.

 

Kwiatkowski is now third man on the road, having picked off Teklehaimanot, Calmejane and Bauer in quick succession.

 

14km remaining from 167km

Gougeard crests the summit of the Côte de Saint-Georges-en-Couzan. A brief respite follows before the 6.8-kilometre haul to the finish line.

 

Fabrice Jeandesboz (Direct Energie) and Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) surge out of the peloton and bridge across to Kwiatkowski shortly before the top of the climb.

 

Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) bridges across to form a very strong chasing quartet with Kwiatkowski, Pauwels and Jeandesboz. They are 55 seconds down on Gougeard, the yellow jersey group is at 1:15. 

 

11km remaining from 167km

Gougeard is on a stiff false flat ahead of the final climb. He has 20 seconds on Huzarski, while Jeandesboz, Gallopin and Pauwels give chase a little further back. Kwiatkowski has been dropped from that chasing group and has been swallowed up by the reduced peloton, which is being led by Tinkoff.

 

10km remaining from 167km

Gallopin, Jeandesboz and Pauwels have caught Huzarski. This quartet is 30 seconds behind Gougeard, while the yellow jersey group is only 51 seconds back.

 

9km remaining from 167km

Gallopin et al have caught Gougeard. There are five riders in front with a lead of 40 seconds over that reduced peloton. The road climbs again with 6.8 kilometres remaining.

 

8km remaining from 167km

BMC have taken up the reins at the head of the peloton, with Brent Bookwalter setting the pace on the front. The gap is 32 seconds.

 

Huzarski and Gougeard seem to be hanging on for dear life in this break, which is being powered by Pauwels and Gallopin on the approach to the base of the final climb.

 

6km remaining from 167km

The five leaders begin the final climb to Chalmazel-Jeansagnière, 6.8km at 3.7%, with a lead of 42 seconds on the peloton.

 

6km remaining from 167km

Gougeard is dropped under the impetus of Pauwels' forcing. There are four riders in front with a lead of 44 seconds over the BMC-led peloton.

 

5km remaining from 167km

Simon Gerrans (Orica-GreenEdge) is dropped from the main peloton on the final ascent.

 

5km remaining from 167km

Pauwels leads the four leaders into the final 5 kilometres with a lead of 32 seconds on the peloton. 

 

4km remaining from 167km

Robert Kiserlovski (Tinkoff) puts in a stint on the front of the peloton for Tinkoff, and Wout Poels (Sky) is the next man to be dropped. There are only 40 riders or so in the yellow jersey group.

 

4km remaining from 167km

Mikel Landa (Sky) attacks from the yellow jersey group and is joined by Sebastien Reichenbach (FDJ). 

 

3km remaining from 167km

Only three riders remain in front as Huzarski sits up. Gallopin, Jeandesboz and Pauwels have 21 seconds on the group of favourites.

 

Sergio Henao (Sky) and Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) punch their way clear of the yellow jersey peloton to no reaction. That duo has opened a small gap over the reduced peloton.

 

2km remaining from 167km

The three leaders enter the final two kilometres with just 20 seconds in hand on the yellow jersey group, but Henao and Navarro are somewhere in between.

 

1km remaining from 167km

Navarro and Henao are 10 seconds behind the three leaders with 1500 metres remaining. BMC and Tinkoff lead in the reduced peloton.

 

1km remaining from 167km

Jeandesboz leads Pauwels and Gallopin into the final kilometre. Henao and Navarro pass the flamme rouge ten seconds later. 20 seconds is the gap to the peloton.

 

The three leaders can't afford to play games with just 500 metres remaining...

 

Henao and Navarro catch the leaders wtih 400 metres remaining... It could all come back together in the finishing straight...

 

An acceleration from Katusha's Joaquim Rodriguez brings the peloton back to within touching distance, but it's Jesus Herrada (Movistar) who emerges in the final 250 metres...

 

Herrada accelerates past the fading escapees in the finishing straight...

 

Jesus Herrada (Movistar) wins stage 2 of Criterium du Dauphine.

 

Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) held on to take second, two seconds back, ahead of Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data), Fabrice Jeandesboz (Direct Energie) and Dani Moreno (Movistar).

 

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) retains the overall lead after finishing in the main group, two seconds behind Herrada.

 

Result:

1 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
2 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 00:00:02
3 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data
4 Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Direct Energie
5 Daniel Moreno (Spa) Movistar Team
6 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
7 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
8 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
9 Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre - Merida
10 Joaquin Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha

 

Herrada's teammate Dani Moreno had been the first of the peloton to make it across to the escapees in that frantic final kilometre. Herrada came from a long, long way back, however, and surged past him within sight of the line to claim the win.

 

That breathless final kilometre also saw Ag2r-La Mondiale duo Alexis Vuillermoz and Romain Bardet get tangled up and hit the ground, though they quickly remounted and neither man appears to have sustained any lasting injury.

 

General classification after stage 2

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 8:53:18
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:06
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:09
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:17
5 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:23
6 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:24
7 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:31
8 Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:37
9 Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:43
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:44

 

 General classification after stage 2:

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 8:53:14
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:06
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:13
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:21
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:24
6 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:27
7 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge 0:00:31
8 Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:37
9 Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:43
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:48

Thanks for joining our live coverage of stage 2 of Critérium du Dauphiné this afternoon. A full report, results and pictures will follow here. We'll be back with more tomorrow as the peloton heads for Tournon-sur-Rhône, but before that we'll have all the news and reaction from today's stage on Cyclingnews, as well as video highlights.

 

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