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Criterium du Dauphine 2017: Stage 6


Welcome one and all. It's mountains day at the Criterium du Dauphine and we've got a tasty appetizer on the menu today. 

The riders have just set off into the neutral section. Sign on was at a bird park this afternoon. Chris Froome was looking relatively relaxed as he made his way to the sign on stage. 



According to our reporters at the Dauphine, Froome is riding an 11-30 cassette today compared to his usual 11-28. His rivals have opted for the same set-up. Whatever the change says about Froome, it is proof of the challenge that the riders will face today. The Mont du Chat is a brutish 8.7km climb with an average gradient of over 10%.


We have six non-starters today. Unsurprisingly, with what is to come over the next days, they are all from the sprinting ilk. The riders who have not signed on this morning are: Max Richeze (Quick-Step Floors), Jonas Van Genechten (Cofidis), Jacopo Guarnieri (FDJ), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin), Borut Bozic and Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida).


Meanwhile, the flag has dropped for racing proper and there are six riders trying to get a lead on the peloton. 


The peloton is not going to let things get away from them that easily and they shut that move down. Almost 10 kilometres ridden and the pace is very high. 


Thomas De Gendt is in the yellow jersey after taking hold of it on stage 1. His lead is slim after the time trial and he is expected to crack today. The only question is, who will take the jersey from him?


1 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 17:10:25
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:27
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:51
4 Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:55
5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:02
6 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:04
7 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:12
8 Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:15
9 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:17
10 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:22


Here was Thomas De Gendt this morning talking to reporters. 


We now have what looks like a serious breakaway attempt. Six riders have an advantage of a minute after jumping off the front at the nine-kilometre mark. The riders are: Oliver Naesen (AG2R-La Mondiale), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Alberto Bettiol (Cannondale-Drapac), Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) and Thierry Hupond (Delko Marseille Provence KTM).


A notable omission from that breakaway is Koen Bouwman. The LottoNL-Jumbo rider won stage 3 and is the current mountains classification leader. With just 18 points available today, none of these riders can take the jersey from him today but they can certainly get close enough to challenge him in the coming days. 


1 Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 24 pts
2 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 19
3 Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 6
4 Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 4
5 Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 3
6 Julien El Farès (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 3
7 Delio Fernández Cruz (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 2
8 Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 2
9 Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-Drapac 2
10 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 1


It is no surprise to see one of the Delko Marseille Provence KTM riders in the breakaway. They've been very active during this race, although they've not gained much from it other than a bit of TV time. 


Romain Bardet is one of the favourites for victory on a day like today. The Frenchman spoke to Cyclingnews earlier this week to preview this first mountain stage. You can find the full preview here

126km remaining from 147km

The advantage of the six leaders has ballooned at a very fast rate. After half an hour of racing, they've built-up a lead of 4:45. That makes Serge Pauwels the leader on the road. The Belgian started the day at just 3:38 back on the race leader De Gendt. 


Due to Pauwels' proximity to the lead, it's highly unlikely that this break will be allowed to succeed. However, Pauwels is a strong rider and has previous in making it into a successful break. He finished second to De Gendt on Mont Ventoux at the Tour de France last year. Making it into the break, however, should give him a head start on the main climb of the day and could help him move up some places in the overall standings. 

Manuele Mori obviously got the hurry on from the team radio and he tried to bridge across the gap, but it was too little too late and he's sat up to wait for the peloton. 


Lotto-Soudal is keeping a close eye on this and has brought this back to four minutes. The leaders are closing in on the opening climb of the day the third category Cote de Corlier. 

Apologies, that latest time check was incorrect. Radio Tour crackles into life and tells us that the advantage has actually gone up, and by quite some margin. After 32km of racing, the six leaders have 7:20 on the peloton. 


Away from the Dauphine, Mikel Landa says that it's looking highly likely that he'll be called up to support Chris Froome at the Tour de France this July. That will mean no Vuelta a Espana for the Spaniard. Read the full story here


The peloton is looking pretty relaxed at the moment. They're saving their legs for the tough stuff later on. 



105km remaining from 147km

The gap is no longer increasing like it was previously. With just over 100km to go, the six out front has 7:30 on the peloton. 


Today's breakaway is full of some pretty strong riders. However, none of them are really proper climbers. Aside from Pauwels, the riders up front are better suited to the short punchy ascents of the Classics. So we can expect them to really lose time on the Mont du Chat later. 


Oliver Naesen enjoyed a really good Classics campaign this season with a podium place at E3 Harelbeke and several top 10 finishes. He looked like he might do well at the Tour of Flanders until he got caught up in that now infamous crash with Peter Sagan. 


The UCI was out with their iPads (other tablets are available) this morning, checking for motors. Here they are taking a look at the Cannondale bikes. 


The leaders are over the first climb of the day. We wait clarification as to who took the points there. They now lead the peloton by 7:55 after riding an average of 45kph over the first hour of racing. 


Confirmation that Pauwels took two points at the top of that ascent with Bettiol coming in behind him to take the one remaining point. 

We're into the final 100 kilometres of this stage already. At 147km, this is the second-shortest open stage at this year's race. Sunday's final stage is the shortest at 115km and it should be a fast and furious finale to the 2017 Criterium du Dauphine. 


Nicolas Roche is at the Dauphine to support Richie Porte. The pair went to take a look at this stage just before the race and he told the Dauphine newspaper that he's expecting an attack from Romain Bardet on the Mont du Chat. 

“I'm expecting a superb spectacle. The climb [Mont du Chat] is difficult. I believe the race is written in advance: an attack by [Romain] Bardet who goes flat out in the descent to try and make up the time he lost against the clock. We know that he likes technical downhills. He made a great coup at the Dauphiné in Pra Loup two years. I bet on Romain even though Richie [Porte] also goes very well downhill.”


91km remaining from 147km

The gap to the break is up to 8.10. If that stays the same until the Mont du Chat, we could have a fight for the stage victory and another amonogst the overall contenders.

The BMC is leading the chase of the attack. With Richie Porte the defacto leader after his strong time trial, they have been burdened with the responsability, while Thomas De Gendt sits in the peloton, knowing he will probably lose the yelloe jersey to Porte. 

It's hot out in the race, with riders constantly dropping back for fresh bidons from team cars.


The stage is only 147km long but is a tough test, especially with the Mont du Chat climb and then descent in the finale.


THere will be a high-speed fight for position before the climb and so drinks and nutrition before that will be vital too.

Today official feed zone comes after 83km in the village of Talissieu.

The riders face 25km or so of fast descending before they can enjoy their lunch.

The peloton is lined out in the French countryside.



All the tension in the peloton is due the ever looming Mont du Chat.

The speed has been high today with the average for the first two hours at a painful 45.2km/h.

The AG2R-La Mondiale team has tken control of the peloton, a clear sign that Romain Bardet is up for a fight and is targeting the stage victory.


His descending skills will be as vital as his cilmbing ability today.

After a lengthy ride along the flat roads, the climbing is due to begin again. First up is the fourth category Côte de Jongieux a brief 3.3km ascent. There's one point available here for the escapees, who still have a 7:15 lead on the breakaway. 


While the lead seems quite substantial at the moment. The leaders could lose quite a lot of time on the ascent of the Mont du Chat and on its technical descent. 


Before we head into this crucial part of the stage, a quick reminder of what the general classification looks like. Anyone looking for Romain Bardet, he's down in 31st place at 2:20 down following a difficult time trial. 



1 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 17:10:25
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:27
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:51
4 Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo 0:00:55
5 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:02
6 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:01:04
7 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:12
8 Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:15
9 Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:01:17
10 Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:22



Simon Yates was meant to be doing the Giro d'Italia this season, but an injury for Esteban Chaves forced Orica-Scott to change his plans and send him to the Tour de France just in case. Yates is just outside the top 10 and today provides a chance to move up in the standings. 


"I know the climb but not through recon. I’ve ridden it in training. It’s a difficult climb, everyone knows that and the descent is technical so a real challenge but we’ll see how the legs feel," he said ahead of the start. 


"The weekend is also really hard but this is the first real hit out and the guys want to test themselves before the Tour. I don’t know how it’s going to go but I’m going to try the best I can. Hopefully I’m with the top guys but if I’m not then that’s okay.


After Romandie I took a bit of a break, I had to because cycling is a hard sport and you need to. Back to it now and I feel okay. It’s Esteban’s first race back after a really long time. He did a good TT considering how long he’s been out and now we’re hitting his territory. It could be a good day for us both. White jersey? I’m not really aiming for it and there’s a lot of young guys there.


Reports coming in that Valverde has just been involved in a crash. We'll bring you more news as we receive it. 


35km remaining from 147km

Meanwhile, the gap to the escapees coming down now as AG2R La Mondiale continue to set the pace. The gap stands at 5:45 at the moment. 


Valverde has made it back into the bunch after that crash. He's got time to move his way back through the bunch so he is in the right position when they start the real climbing. 

Another crash at the back of the bunch. About five riders involved and it looks like there's a Katusha rider and two Delko Marseille riders have got involved, among others. 


Thomas De Gendt is trying to remain hopeful about retaining his yellow jersey but says he's not going to take too many risks to try and keep it. 


There’s a chance I can keep it but I assume that I’ll lose yellow today. You never know. If they keep a steady pace and I have good legs then it’s possible but I don’t think so. I’m not going to take any risks on the descent but if I’m still in the first group I’ll follow the group. Descending is not my best thing but if I can follow a good wheel then it’s possible to just follow.


While all this is going on in France, Chloe Hosking has just won stage 3 of the Women's Tour. 


29km remaining from 147km

Pauwels took the point on that last climb and the riders are now on a short descent. The gap has dropped to 5:07 as the peloton strings out under the pace. 


Chris Froome will be hoping to gain some time back on Richie Porte in today's finale. Here's what he had to say about the stage earlier. 


"I don’t know a lot about the climb but I know it’s pretty tough with 10 per cent and 10km. I used google earth to have a look at the street view and some of the corners and the road surface. I think we’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s coming up but I think what’s also important is to get an idea of what it’s like racing on this terrain because we’re coming back here in July.


"I’m just going to try and get to the top of the climb first and then see who is there. We’ll take the race from that point. In the TT there were some things that didn’t go right and some things that I can learn from. Hopefully I can take them forward into July."


AG2R La Mondiale now getting a lot of help from the other GC teams. They're passing through St Paul-sur-Yenne, which is giving them plenty of road furniture to navigate. 


Arnaud Demare smiles at the camera. Her's been dropped by the peloton as has polka-dot jersey wearer Koen Bouwman. Yellow jersey Thomas De Gendt is safe near the front of the bunch. 


The riders aren't yet on the climb proper but the gradients are beginning to bite and riders are being dropped left, right and centre. The peloton is quickly reducing in numbers. 


The breakaway is now at the bottom of the climb, the easiest part of this brutal ascent. It's only going to get tougher. With 23km to go, their advantage has fallen drastically to 2:47. 


BMC has taken over AG2R at the front of the peloton. Positioning is key. 


23km remaining from 147km

The breakaway is fracturing. Unsurprisingly, Politt is one of the first to be dropped . At 80kg it's not a climb for him. Hupond is also struggling. 


The hardest part of this climb is between the 3-4km mark, where the road ramps up to 14 and 15%. 


Turgis puts in a little dig off the front, but he's going nowhere fast. These roads are steep. 


In the pack, De Gendt is beginning to slip back and he's lost the wheel of the last rider. He's going to dig in, but this is going to be a tough old slog for the Belgian. 


Movistar sends a rider out to test the waters at the front of the peloton. He's pushing on and Valverde is coming after him. 


Roche is the rider on the front of the peloton who is trying to bring them back. They're making ground so Valverde pushes on alone. This is a long way out. 


Warren Barguil is dropped but he's still smiling. He's just happy to be riding again after suffering a hip injury. 


20km remaining from 147km

Meanwhile, Esteban Chaves has gone off in hunt of Valverde. BMC still chasing as Valverde begins to mop up the dropped breakaway riders. 


Aru has joined up with Chaves and they've got a Lotto Soudal rider with them.


This trio has joined up with Valverde. The gap is only about 10-15 seconds. The Lotto-Soudal rider is Rafa Valls. Meanwhile, up front, it's just Bettiol and Naesen remaining in the breakaway. 


More riders coming off the front of the peloton and it looks like things are coming back together. Not for white jersey Sam Oomen, who has been dropped out the back. 


There are riders all over the road at the moment. As it begins to regroup we can see the decimation in the main bunch. Only about 20 or so riders remaining. 


Simon Yates looks like he's in trouble at the moment as he's dropped from this main group. 


Jakob Fuglsang is pushing the pace and he's ridden off the front with Buchmann. They've got a sizable gap on the group of favourites now. Behind, Kwiatkowski is trying to chase him down. 


Lots of attacks coming here. Bardet is in a third group with Aru, Dan Martin, Meintjes, Valls and they have joined Kwiatkowski. 


18km remaining from 147km

Aru attacks and it's Bardet that has to chase.

In the Contador/Froome group, Valverde has launched his own attack. Meanwhile at the head of the race, Naesen is the only rider remaining from the breakaway. He's got 40 seconds at the moment, but he's likely to wait for Bardet soon enough. 


18km remaining from 147km

Aru is surging up the climb. He's passed Buchmann and now he goes past Pauwels. 


17km remaining from 147km

The group of favourites is now back together as Porte launches a small attack. It looks like Bardet is in troble at the moment. 


Meanwhile, Aru has joined up with Fuglsang ans they've almost caught Naesen. 


Valverde and Contador have also been dropped and they're now with Bardet. Porte and Froome are further up the road. 


Fuglsang and Aru pass Naesen, who is about to be caught by Froome and Porte behind. 


16km remaining from 147km

It's like the good old days. Porte and Froome are working together as they try to bring back the Astana pairing. They've dispatched with Naesen and they're closing in. 


Contador, Valverde and Bardet are trying to chase the rest down. No time gap for this trio just yet. 


Up front, Aru doesn't want to be caught by Froome and Porte so he attacks and leaves Fuglsang behind. 


Fuglsang is caught by Froome and Porte. He immediately slots in at the back, because he's not going to help these two out. 


We have to remember at this point that this could be a pre-coursor to the inter-team battle at Astana at the Tour de France. Fuglsang was supposed to lead the team but Aru is riding after injury ruled him out of the Giro d'Italia. 


Aru almost at the top of the climb and he's got a 13 second gap on Froome, Porte and Fuglsang. He's good at descending and he's going to have to make use of that if he wants to win today. 


Now it's on. Aru and the chasers hit the descent as the Valverde group crosses over the top at 1:03 behind the Italian. 


This is a very technical descent and the riders are going to have to take risks to gain an advantage. Froome takes a particularly tight line on one of the corners and distances Porte as he does it. 


Fuglsang now passes Porte and he's losing some group on his companions. 


11km remaining from 147km

Let's not forget how good at descending Valverde, Contador and Bardet all are. They could still make it back to this group ahead. 


A time check shows that Dan Martin is in the middle of all this about 25 seconds back from Aru. 


Porte is having to battle hard to keep hold of Froome and Fuglsang but he's doing very well and they've caught up with Aru. 


9km remaining from 147km

Froome's descending style might not be pretty but it is efficient and he's sailing down this descent. 


7km remaining from 147km

This lead group has got 52 seconds now on the Dan Martin group, which has Oliver Naesen in it. The lead is growing too and it seems that the winner will come from this group of four. 


Froome does not want to take the others with him and he pushes on. Fuglsang is possibly the only rider that can keep in touch with him at the moment and he moves up to the front of the group. 


This is a challenging task for the camera bikes, who are struggling to keep up with the riders on this incredibly twisting descent. 


This is certainly not a descent you'd want to drive down if you get car sick. 


4km remaining from 147km

Fuglsang appears to be catching up with Froome, who has about 15 bike length's on the Dane at the moment. 


Froome is really going hammer and tongs down this ascent. It's an impressive performance from the Team Sky rider. 


Fuglsang has finally made contact with Froome and Porte has passed Aru behind as he tries to chase them down. 


Contador and Valverde are closing the gap, but not quickly enough. They're 45 seconds behind the Froome group at the moment. 


As the road straightens and flattens out, Porte and Aru make contact with Fuglsang and Froome. The other on the road at the moment is Froome, Fuglsang, Porte and then Aru, who is struggling to keep up. 


Just two kilometres to go now as Porte moves to the front and makes a little dig. Froome comes up to his former teammate and gives him a little look. 


1km remaining from 147km

Fuglsang attacks and Froome follows. 


Fuglsang has a good gap now and this could be his, if he can hold the pace. 


No. Fuglsang is brought back and it;s between the four men again. 


Froome sprints but it looks like Porte might have taken that. It's a photo finish between Porte and Fuglsang. 


We're waiting for the gaps now. 


Valverde leads Dan Martin and Romain Bardet come over the line at 50 seconds back. Contador comes over with Naesen just over a minute down. 


Confirmation that it was Fuglsang who took the stage win ahead of Porte in that photo finish. 


A photo finish shows that it was by the slimmest of margins for victory. That is Fuglsang's first ever WorldTour victory. 


Jakob Fuglsang has been very close to a WorldTour win on a number of occasions. He memorably missed out on a win at the Tour de France in 2013 when he was beaten in the sprint by Dan Martin. It was close, but he avoided it happening to him yet again. 


"It’s been a lot of bad luck for our team this year and finally it seems that everything comes together and we start to become really competitive and it comes just before the Tour," he said at the finish. "To come to the Dauphine like this and on the first hard stage to be there in the front with two of the other favourites for the Tour. For the Dauphine it is really nice and for me to win for the first time for Astana is a huge relief."


This is just how close it was on the finish line



That stage has done some interesting things to the overall classification. Richie Porte is the new race leader, 39 seconds ahead of Chris Froome with Jakob Fuglsang sitting in third place. 


Confirmation of how today's stage finished. Alberto Contador will be very disappointed with his performance, as will Romain Bardet. Many people had picked out Bardet as a potential winner, but he struggled under the barrage of attacks. Alejandro Valverde struggled on the climb but he battled back to catch Dan Martin on the descent. 


1 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 3:41:48
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
4 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:50
6 Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors
7 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:06
9 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo
10 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:14


This is the general classification. 


1 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 20:52:34
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 0:00:39
3 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:01:15
4 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:20
5 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:24
6 Alberto Contador (Spa) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:47
7 Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors 0:02:14
8 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:02:30
9 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:49
10 Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal 0:03:16


Chris Froome back at the team bus. He'll be happy with how he rode today but he'll be disappointed he couldn't make up any time on Porte after all that work. 


There were a number of big losers during today's stage, outside of the ones that finished in the top 10. Adam Yates and Esteban Chaves both lost just over two minutes to the four leaders. Cannondale's Andrew Talansky lost an additional 10 seconds to them.


On the other side of the coin, Emanuel Buchmann continued his brilliant season and moved himself into the lead of the young rider classification. He leads Louis Meintjes by 18 seconds in that competition. 


Makes his post-race remarks wearing the yellow jersey. 


And here we have a head on shot of that finish. Next to impossible to spit the difference. 


We're hearing rumours that Chris Froome may have been relegated in that sprint. He deviated from his line and impeded Porte. It seems that BMC may have complained to the jury. If he is relegated, it won't be too damaging as he and Aru would just swap places in the day's results. He would lose the bonus seconds at the finish though. We'll keep you posted on the result of that. 


Porte has said of Froome's deviation that it was just a racing incident and that the matter is closed. He did make sure to have a little dig at his former teammate by asking him if he was looking at his stem during the sprint. 


Here is a little bit more from Porte after moving into the lead of the race. 


“The team has been fantastic from km 0, basically on the front all day. We didn't get much help until the finale when AG2R-La Mondiale rode at the front of the peloton. It's just incredible feeling to get the yellow jersey," he said. "There were a lot of attacks but we stayed calm but I was just happy to come over the top with Chris Froome, Jakob Fuglsang and Fabio Aru in front.


"It was a good stage with a crazy descent. I think I'm in a good place. It's nice to have the jersey but I know the next two days will be super hard. However, I feel up to it. I've got the team to try and finish it up on Sunday."


You can find our report, results and photos from today right here


Romain Bardet was fairly disappointed at the finish today. Stage 6 was supposed to be one well suited to his style of racing. We'll have reaction from him later this evening but, for now, here's a picture. 



Arnaud Demare finished well back today but he still has a grip on the points classification. He leads Phil Bauhaus by 12 points. With points only available at the finishes, Demare only has to complete the race to win the jersey. I say only, it's still two tough days in the mountains over the weekend. 


Froome said after the stage that he made a mistake in the sprint, working too hard in the chase and then going too early in the sprint. 


"I’d be lying if I said that I was happy with third there. I was hoping to try and get the stage win but I was a bit too eager and doing a bit too much chasing in the last kilometre chasing Jakob Fuglsang and then starting the sprint a little too far out," he explained. 


"All in all I’m pretty happy with how it went. It could have gone a lot worse. At least I was up front and the legs were pretty good. I’m happy to be up there with Ritchie at the moment who is definitely in amazing form.


"Mentally it was a bit of an unknown for me. I’ve never done that before and I’ve never really seen it. So much has been made of that descent and how dangerous it is and everything but when I went for it on the descent I thought that it could go one of two ways here but too be honest it was quite good fun. It was like playing a computer game going around all the corners. It was good fun really."


A solemn Contador talks to the media from the steps of the team bus. 


Hearing that Contador is not as disappointed as one might expect. The Spaniard told the press after the stage that he didn't want to blow up on the climb so he slowed up and rode with Valverde. He went on to say that his Tour de France preparation is going well in his eyes. 


Tomorrow's stage will be a big one with six classified climbs. The day will finish on he Alpe d'Huez but it will be a different to usual route up to the top with the riders using the Col de Sarenne to get there. TYou might remember the Col de Sarenne from the 2013 Tour de France. 


That is it from our live coverage today. Remember to head over here for a recount of today's action and you can find the profile for today's stage here


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