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Criterium du Dauphine 2017: Stage 3


Good morning to you from stage 3 of the Dauphine. The riders are signing on and we're just 15 minutes away from the start. Thomas de Gendt is still in yellow after finishing safely in the bunch yesterday. 

With less than a month to the start of the Tour de France, there is plenty of new tech on show at the Criterium du Dauphine. Why not check out what our reporter Josh Evans found out and about during the opening two stages. 

Today is likely to be another opportunity for the sprinters in the pack. Yesterday Arnaud Demare was the king of the sprints in Arlanc. Can he do it again today? This is how things finished on stage 2 of the Dauphine. 

Bryan Coquard will have been very disappointed with his result yesterday. The Frenchman is under a lot of pressure at the moment to try and secure a spot in the Direct Energie team for the Tour de France. L'Equipe has reported today that he needs a stage win at this race in order to secure that spot, although he tried to play things down a little when he spoke to Cyclingnews yesterday. Needless to say, he'll be desperate for a sprint win today. Coquard will be leaving the team at the end of the season. 

The riders are massing at the start line in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. The sun is out and we're almost ready for action. 

The riders are off and making their way through the neutralised section. There will be a slight rise up before the peloton starts descending. We can expect a relatively fast start to today's proceedings. 

Thomas de Gendt holds a 48-second lead in the overall classification this morning. Unless something goes seriously awry, and let's hope that it doesn't, we can expect his lead to remain intact by the eld of today. 

While there is sunshine above the riders at the moment, there is the potential for rain towards the end of the stage. There could be a bit of a crosswind too, although its unlikely to be too strong. 

170 riders signed on this morning, while there were two non-starters. They were Eros Capecchi (Quick-Step Floors) and Floris De Tier (LottoNL-Jumbo).

Arnaud Demare waving to the crowd earlier today. He would certainly be a popular winner today. 

The start proper has been given and we're racing for real now. Six riders are already attempting to jump clear of the bunch. 

The riders, who made the jump after two kilometres of racing are: Koen Bouwman and Alexey Vermeulen (LottoNL-Jumbo), Bryan Nauleau (Direct Energie), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Quentin Pacher and Edvaldas Siskevicius (Delko Marseille Provence KTM).

Koen Bouwman was in the breakaway yesterday and he sits second in the mountains classification. Thomas de Gendt leads the competition, but Bouwman is keeping the polka-dot jersey warm for him. With four classified climbs on offer today, he is looking to wear the jersey outright. 

Alexey Lutsenko was also in the breakaway yesterday. He jumped over tot he move with about 70km remaining and was the last man standing, finally getting caught with three kilometres to go. He's obviously a glutton for punishment. 

Riders are already stopping to answer the call of nature. A sure sign that they've let this break go. After less than 10 kilometres, the six up front have 2:10 on the peloton. 

Andrew Talansky is at the Criterium du Dauphine this week as he plans a return to the Tour de France in July. Last year was a difficult one for the American, but it seems that things may well be back on track. Cyclingnews caught up with him yesterday to speak about his new-found confidence and his hopes for the Tour. You can read his full comments here

A puncture for Siskevicius in the breakaway group. He should be able to get back on without too many problems. 

The first climb of the day isn't for a little while. The fourth category Côte de Saint-Félicien comes at the 51.5km mark. It's a 2.1km climb that averages 4.5 per cent. All of today's climbs are either given a cat 4 or cat 3 ranking. No big ascents to tackle today. 

Siskevicius is back with the other leaders. The six have now got a tidy cushion of just over four minutes on the peloton behind. 

Bahrain-Merida has just announced that Sonny Colbrelli has extended his contract with the team for another season. Colbrelli finished fourth in yesterday's stage and took the lead in the points competition. Read what he said after yesterday's stage here

We were expecting a bit of rain at the finish but race radio's Seb Piquet has reported that there are a few spots falling already. So much for it being June.

155km remaining from 184km

With that latest time check, Quentin Pacher has become the virtual leader. The Frechman was the best placed of the six escapees in the overall classification, starting the day 4:50 down on De Gendt. 

Quentin Pacher is a second-year professional, after signing up with Delko Marseille Provence KTM last year. The 25-year-old has won the young rider classification at the Tour du Haut-Var and the mountains classification at the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour. This is his first appearance at the Criterium du Dauphine. 

The gap to the escapees continues to grow. The six men ahve 6:40 on the peloton after 40 kilometres of racing. 

The average speed over the opening hour of racing has been a zippy 47.5kph. 

Koen Bouwman in the polka-dot jersey at the head of the breakaway group. 

Bouwman takes a step closer to taking the lead in the mountains competition as he passes the top of the Côte de Saint Felicien to take the lone point available. 

Today's stage will cover a setion of stage 16 of the Tour de France. Between km 51 to 98, the riders will be on the section of course. 

Bouwman notches up another point in the mountains classification. That brings him up to 11. With just three more points available today, he's not going to overhaul De Gendt's 17, but he can shut the gap just a little more. 

The stage is also about to pass through Tournon-sur-Rhône where Fabio Aru took his stage victory last year. The Italian went on the attack on the descent and held off the chasing peloton in a thrilling finale. Here is Aru at the start this morning, he's unlikely to feature heavily in the finale today. 

Alexey Vermulen is the youngest rider in today's breakaway at 22 years old. The American turned professional with LottoNL-Jumbo last season and has proved himself a promising talent. He finished third in the US national time trial championships last season.

118km remaining from 184km

Today will not be the last chance for the sprinters, although the next few days will be primarily focused on the general classification riders. Stage 5 from La Tour-de-Salvagny to Mâcon will also be an opportunity for the fast men. 

As the leaders pass through Tournon-sur-Rhone, the gap has dropped down to six minutes. Lotto-Soudal have been doing much of the work with a little bit of help from Team Sky and Trek-Segafredo, who are looking after Chris Froome and Alberto Contador respectively. 

Richie Porte has had a good season so far with victories at the Tour Down Under and the Tour de Romandie. He's one of the favourites for the Criterium du Dauphine, but, as he told the official race website, the race is all about preparing for the Tour de France. 

The road has flattened out and the average speed has come down a little bit. It was 43.7kph in the second hour, making it 45.6kph overall. We're slightly ahead of schedule at the moment, but things are likely to slow a touch as the riders take on the next two climbs. A fast day nonetheless. 

FDJ and Cofidis are patrolling things on the front of the peloton. They will probably be the most confident going into the final today. Demare was the winner yesterday but Bouhanni had a good surge of speed and it was positioning more than anything that let him down in the finish. He was blocked in when Alexander Kristoff tried to move into the wheel of Demare and had to settle for third. 

Ordinarily, Bouhanni would be disappointed with third place but after suffering a pretty hefty concussion following a crash at the Tour de Yorkshire he was quite pleased with how he did, as he told the press after the stage

The riders have passed the halfway point and are busy tucking into their lunch. As that goes on, the gap has been brought down to 4:45. 

Dan Martin explained to the Letour website that rather than improving on last year, he's hoping to be not quite as good this time around to ensure he's stronger in the final week of the Tour de France. 

The breakaway continue to push on as they peloton continue to close on them. As you can see, the clouds from earlier have gone and we've got blue skies for now. There is still a threat of rain later on, however. 

The Criterium du Dauphine is not the only racing that is going on this week. There's also the Tour de Suisse this weekend and tomorrow sees the start of the Women's Tour. You can read our preview of the five-day race here

Tom Dumoulin has not had much time to rest following his overall victory at the Giro d'Italia. He rode part of the Hammer Series last week and will be back in action at the Tour de Suisse. Team Sunweb also confirmed that Michael Matthews will be part of the line-up. You can see who else made the cut here

66km remaining from 184km

Coming up on the menu for the riders in about 17 kilometres is the third category Côte des Sarrets. It's the longest climb of the day at 2.9km and averages 4.9 per cent. There are two points available for the first rider over the top. 

Looking forward to the likely sprint finish. The last kilometre has a couple of little rises but nothing too serious. It really is one for the pure sprinters. Demare and Bouhanni, as I mentioned earlier, are probably the main favourites. Alexander Kristoff will want to be up there too after finishing second yesterday, although he doesn't have the top-end speed of the other two. Other potential contenders today are Sonny Colbrelli, Bryan Coquard, and Ben Swift. Samuel Dumoulin got it all wrong yesterday but could get into the mix if he rides a better finale. Dimension Data has Edvald Boasson Hagen, but these types of finishes aren't well suited to him. 

There has been lots of new shiny pieces of tech at the Dauphine this week. One of the things spotted was the new Spacialized Tarmac, which was being ridden by Dan Martin. Bora's Emanuel Buchmann has also been spotted on one. Haven't seen it yet? You can take a look at it here

50km remaining from 184km

Anthony Turgis is the man on the front for Cofidis. He's strung out the bunch into one long line. Cofidis really want this today. 

41km remaining from 184km

Katusha and FDJ continue to lead the chase in the hope that Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud Demare can win the sprint.

On a tight hairpin several opt to jump off their bikes and run across the grass, psrking a sudden cyclo-cross moment.

Fortunately there are no problems for the riders and the chase is still on.

The peloton reaches the top of the final climb - the côte des Sarrets, some 2:15 behind the break.

Koen Bouwman scored two more mountain points at the top of the côte des Sarrets, with Frederik Backaert taking one point for second place.

31km remaining from 184km

The riders have little time to enjoy the stunning views across the French countryside. They're focused on holding the wheel in front of them as the peloton keeps up the chase.

The overall contenders are trying to enjoy a quiet day and save their legs for Wednesday's time trial. 

25km remaining from 184km

This high pace set by Cofidis has put some riders into a bit of trouble, including housewives' favourite Thomas Voeckler. He is fighting to get back onto the peloton with Adrien Nyonshuti. 

The Cofidis rider on the front is done. He flicks his elbow for the Katusha rider behind to take over and sends himself into the grass. No panic for him though and he gets back onto the tarmac as if nothing had happened. 

22km remaining from 184km

A crash for Zurlo on the outside of a corner. It looks like he touched wheels with another rider. He's ok thankfully. 

There is no one sprint team that is really controlling the peloton. Most of the sprint teams have a rider up front and they're all taking it in turns. With all the bends as they pass through town, the peloton isn't making many inroads into the advantage of the leaders. 

As I wrote that, FDJ have started getting all their riders up towards the front. An overhead shot shows a FDJ train forming about three riders back. They're ready to pounce. 

It has been a very fast day today and the riders are coming in just ahead of the fastest predicted average of 44kph. 

By having a rider int he breakaway, Direct Energie have managed to get out of pace setting duties. They're keeping their legs a little fresher for the sprint. They need to be in the right place today, which they weren't in yesterday's finish. 

13km remaining from 184km

Katusha has put a few more riders on the front to try and put a dent into this lead. They probably expected it to be a slightly easier catch than this. Now that the road is leveling out following the descent they should have a bit more of an upper hand on the six out front, who must be tired by now. 

We could be heading towards breakaway victory though if the peloton can't get their act together soon. With 1:30 still remaining between the group with 11km to go it's going to be touch and go. 

It's hard to say who it might be if it was to come down to a sprint between the six leaders. It's been a long day int he break so there will be some tired legs. Nauleau or Siskevivius are possibly the two who have the best chance but who knows. 

7km remaining from 184km

Katusha are throwing everything at this chase at the moment while the other teams take a free ride for now. FDJ are right on their wheel while Dimension Data has a rider sitting in between the two teams. 

The leaders get the chalk board with the time on it. With 6km to go it stands at 1 minute. Do they believe yet? They will have to work together if they want to make this work. 

Everybody is pitching in here. Nobody is taking a free ride in the breakaway, even the teams with multiple riders in the move. 

4km remaining from 184km

Katusha has finally given up the front as Soupe takes things up for Cofidis. The GC teams are also moving up to the front. 

Thomas de Gendt is not too worried about things at the moment. He's chatting with Michael Valgren in the bunch. 

The sprint teams have been muscled off the front as the leaders hit the 3km to go banner. Still 45 seconds for the six out front. 

It looks like the breakaway might just make it.

FDJ is not happy with the GC teams taking over the front and they have squeezed their way up the right of the bunch. They've got 40 seconds to bring back if they want another win. 

The first little attacks are coming from the breakaway. One of the Delko Marseille riders has a dig but he's brought back quickly and normal service is resumed. 

The leaders are into the final kilometre with 35 seconds over the peloton. 

Vermulen is sitting on the front and keeping an eye on his opponents. He doesn't want anyone to jump hum. 

The peloton can be seen right behind but with 300m to go it's too late. 

Bouwman goes and he takes the victory. 

Demare wins the bunch sprint behind with Coquard just behind him. 

That was some very good work from LottoNL-Jumbo. Vermulen slowed things down enough before Bouwman went for it. 

This is how it finished in the end there

That is Bouwman's first professional victory after stepping up to the professional ranks last season. A replay of that sprint from above shows just how well that worked for LottoNL. Vermeulen kept a nice steady pace into the final metres. Bouwman bided his time halfway down the group before launching his sprint with about 200 to go. He caught the rest by surprise and despite a concerted effort from Siskevicius he won by a clear margin. 

The stage did little to the GC, which looks much the same as it did this morning. 


Koen Bouwman winning stage 3 of the Criterium du Dauphine. 

Bouwman's win is the fourth in the WorldTour for the LottoNL-Jumbo team after George Bennett in the Tour of California and wins for Primoz Roglic in the Tour de Romandie and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

Demare's sprint may not have earned him the stage win but it was enough to put him ahead of Colbrelli in the points classification. Demare is on 37 points while Colbrelli has 32. It's going to be a close-run thing for the victory in this competition. 

An understandably delighted Bouwman had this to say after his victory. 

Thomas de Gendt in the yellow jersey for another day. 

Tomorrow's stage will be a time trial from La Tour-du-Pin to Bourgoin-Jallieu. De Gendt is likely to see his lead disappear, with the likes of Chris Froome and Richie Porte moving to the fore in the overall classification. Tony Martin will also be on the hunt for a stage win. 

Full results from today's stage are available here along with a report and gallery. 

With that, we bring to an end our live coverage for today. Be sure to tune in for coverage of tomorrow's time trial stage and we'll have the reaction from today's stage very soon. 

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