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Criterium du Dauphine 2018: Stage 6

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Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 6 of the Critérium du Dauphiné. It's another big day in the mountains.

 

Hello and welcome to our full live coverage of stage 6 of the Dauphine. 

As we fire up the Cyclingnews blimp, 138 riders have rolled out from Frontenex for the neutral section. There is one non-starter: Odd Christian Eiking (Wanty-Groupe Gobert).

The stage will no doubt start with  bang, as riders attack on the first climb out of Frontenex. 

They're off! 

The flag has dropped and the 110km stage is underway.

This was the roll out during the neutralised sector. 

The riders are enjoying early summer temperatures of 23C with a slight tailwind.

104km remaining from 110km

Things are getting serious as the first big climb looms. Current mountains competition leader Dario Cataldo of Astana is marking the moves to protect his blue polka-dot jersey.

101km remaining from 110km

Allez Barguil! After the trio are quickly caught, Warren Barguil tries to go solo. 

Six other brave souls are chasing him. The race is on! 

Barguil and the other attacks have come together. There are now 15 riders up front, with a gap of 20 seconds or so.

The pace has proved too much for Pete Kennaugh (Bora) who has abandoned the race. 

The riders are on the lower slopes of the Montée de Bisanne climb. It is a brute at 12.4km long and an average gradient of 8.1%. 

The early action on mountain stages is often the most intense. This is a shot of before Barguil attacked. There are riders everywhere, trying their luck and riding to protect different team interests. 

It seems the peloton has eased, the break has been given some freedom. 

93km remaining from 110km

It's full gas out there. 

88km remaining from 110km

These are the riders in the front group: 

Tsgabu Grmay (Trek) and Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) are chasing the 25 leaders and are just 15 seconds back.

Grmay and Pauwels are on, making for a 27-attack. 

After such a fast start, the riders are near the summit of the Montée de Bisanne.

83km remaining from 110km

Alexis Gougeard is struggling in the break, while Bryan Coquard and other sprinters are being spat out of the peloton due to the high-speed and aggressive start. 

74km remaining from 110km

72km remaining from 110km

Cataldo is first to the summit and so takes maximum points (15) on the Hors Category climb. 

Hardy and Moinard take 2nd and 3rd, about 40 seconds down on the Italian. 

Cataldo now has 38 points, with Dan Martin a distant 2nd on 18 points.

This is the view from the race director's car thanks to the voice of race radio Sep Piquet.

The peloton reaches the summit of the Montée de Bisanne some 3:00 back on Cataldo and the break.

We stand corrected on the KOM points Cataldo is confirmed as first over the top, with Warren Barguil 2nd and Pello Bilbao 3rd. 

This shot from Roberto Bettini shows Cataldo in the blue polka-dot jersey. 

73km remaining from 110km

Team Sky cannot let the break go away because it includes Valerio Conti of UAE who is 23rd at just 4:42.

After the fast descent, the break hits the Col du Pré. It is another HC climb, 12.6km at 7.6%. 

60km remaining from 110km

63km remaining from 110km

The Col du Pré is part of a double whammy of climbs, with the Cormet de Roselend coming soon after and altitude. 

This graphic by the race organisers show how the riders face a tough 38km of racing. 

As the riders dig in on the Col du Pré, some of the breakaways are suffering, the move is down to just 17 riders.

The speed of the peloton is hurting too. Nibali and Moscon have been dropped. 

AG2R are trying to split the peloton to set up Bardet.

The peloton is only 1:40 down on the break, with only 40 riders left in the peloton. 

Oufff! 

Our race photographer Tim De Waele has sent us some great images from the Alps. 

52km remaining from 110km

The riders can almost touch the sky today.

There are ten or so rider in the peloton as they approach the summit of the Col du Pre'.

Domont and Latour are setting the pace for AG2R and Bardet. Also in the peloton are Geoghegan Hart, Thomas, Dan Martin, Buchmann, Zakarin, Soler, Adam Yates, Alaphilippe, Tolhoek, Bookwalter and Caruso, Navarro, Ravasi.

Dario Cataldo crests the col du Pré in first position and so he has won all three hors-category KOM of this year's Critérium du Dauphiné. 

It will be fascinating to see if a similar scenario unfolds in a few weeks time when the Tour de France crosses a similar stage route. 

42km remaining from 110km

From the CN blimp we can see that Thomas has two riders with him in the peloton.

There are 20 or so riders in the peloton now. 

The riders face close to 4000m of climbing in just 110km of racing.

As the break nears the summit of the Col du Pre' the race cars go by because the gap is down to 40 seconds. 

The break has split with 4 riders coming clear. Amongst them are Barguil and an on form Ian Boswell (Katusha).

39km remaining from 110km

Bilbao is first over the top, protecting Cataldo's lead in the mountain's competition. 

The riders can now enjoy 18km of descending before the climb up to the finish.

It's knees out and high speed time on the descent as riders dive through the sweeping hairpins.

The speed and mountains is hurting, with Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) the latest to abandon. 

31km remaining from 110km

27km remaining from 110km

The Frenchman opens a gap and tries to gain time by sprinting out of every corner.

Bardet is trying to chase the race moto as he judges his line.

The Cormet de Roselend is a very technical descent and several riders crashed there in the Tour de France years ago.

Bardet has gained 20 seconds or so but the peloton can almost see him.

Bardet looks back as Alaphilippe and Benoot cross the gap. Thomas is close too. 

21km remaining from 110km

The climb up to La Rosière - 7.6km at 5.8%, will decide the stage winner and perhaps see other attacks on Thomas. 

The remains of the break lead by 30 seconds but the peloton of GC leaders is closing the gap.

Thomas has help from Jonathan Castroviejo and Tao Geoghegan Hart. 

They are setting the pace but other riders will surely attack Thomas on the climb to win the stage and to try to pull back time on the Welshman. 

14km remaining from 110km

12km remaining from 110km

There are 26 riders with Geraint Thomas, some 30 behind the leading 9 in the break. 

11km remaining from 110km

10km remaining from 110km

9km remaining from 110km

Soler (Movistar) is the first to cross to the break but Boswell is still up front, pushing a big gear.  

Riders are being spat out of the Thomas group as Geoghegan Hart rides a leg-hurting tempo.

8km remaining from 110km

This section is close to 9%. 

Pello Bilbao finished sixth overall at the Giro d'Italia and clearly has something left.  

7km remaining from 110km

Thomas goes on his wheel with ease, as does Bardet.

Yates, Bardet snd Thomas join Martin, Conti and Buchmann, who were just ahead.  

5km remaining from 110km

Buchmann and Yates are almost back with Thomas as Bilbao leads by 12 seconds.

Bilbao is struggling but for now he is managing to hold off Bardet, Msrtin snd Thomas.

Yates has made it across but Buchmann is still behind.

Yates is set to move up to second overall after other riders have been distanced.

3km remaining from 110km

All the four have emptied their pockets and bidons to save weight. 

The final kilometres are only at 5%, helping Bilbao hold off the chasers.

2km remaining from 110km

Bilbao is inside the final kilometre.

Behind Thomas goes! 

He puts in a huge gear and tries to drop his rivals.

Bilbao has time to celebrate his solo win but Thomas' solo effort helped him take second and so six bonus seconds. 

Dan Martin was third just a few seconds back but Thomas showed he is in charge of the leader's yellow jersey. 

Yates moved up to second overall at 1:29, with Bardet now third at 2:01.

Bardet made an attack on the long descent of the Cormet de Roselend and sent teammate Latour up the road. However the strength of Team Sky, Thomas and young teammate Geoghegan Hart made his aggression useless. 

This is the first shot we have of Bilbao celebrating his stage win.

Bilbao took it well, holding off the chasers after being in the break of the day.

The Spanish climber has been at full gas since April. He impressed at the Vuelta a Pais Vasco, won a stage at the Tour of the Alps and finished sixth overall at the Giro d'Italia. 

This is the top ten for today's stage: 

And this is the new top ten in the GC: 

There have been quite a few changes after that intense, mountainous stage. 

Despite another selfless performance, Tao Geoghegan Hart dug in to finish tenth on the stage and is now up to 15th overall. 

Team Sky published this photo of Geraint Thomas looking happy in yellow as he warmed-down post-stage.

We're not sure who the fella in the background is. Perhaps he is a relation of Romain Bardet. 

Thomas and Team Sky just need to defend the yellow jersey during Sunday's final stage from Moûtiers to Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc. 

As you are probably aware, today is a double header race day, with the Tour de Suisse beginning with a team time trial.

If you're looking for a special way to savour and look back at the Giro d'Italia, don't forget to check-out our special film on the final week. 

Every great film has a special poster and this is one we created for Crescendo. 

This is the moment Thomas crossed the finish lone after his late attack. 

For our full stage report and growing photo gallery of all the action, click here.

Join us for full live coverage of stage 7 of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Sunday to see if Geraint Thomas can secure overall victory. 

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