Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage 6 of the Critérium du Dauphiné. It's another big day in the mountains.
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Hello and welcome to our full live coverage of stage 6 of the Dauphine.
Toda's stage is short at just 110km but packed with serious climbs and a mountain finish in La Rosière.
It is very similar to what we can expect at the Tour de France, when the riders race for just 65km in the Pyrenees.
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).
Everyone faces an intense day in the saddle, with most hitting the rollers before the stage for the expected fast and aggressive start.
The stage will no doubt start with bang, as riders attack on the first climb out of Frontenex.
It is followed by the longer Montée de Bisanne (HC - 12.4km at 8.1%) after just 27km.
The flag has dropped and the 110km stage is underway.
Who will be the first to attack?
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
Dylan Teuns is the first to attack but the peloton close him down.
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
However Lukas Pöstleberger (Bora), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) have gone clear. We're seeing the start of a solid breakaway if the peloton lets them go.
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
up front are: Bilbao, Houle, Gougeard, De Gendt, Herrada, Carretero, Serry, Molard, Power, Verona, Barguil, Hardy, Moinard, Craddock and Degand.
There are thensSix chasers: Cataldo, Kozhatayev, Pöstleberger, Domont, Powless and Courteille.
With four others behind desperate to be in the move of the day: Conti, Bookwalter, Boswell, Kotchekov.
The peloton at 1:30.
It's full gas out there.
88km remaining from 110km
There is now a total of 25 riders up front, with two chasers and the peloton at 1:20.
These are the riders in the front group:
Pello Bilbao, Dario Cataldo, Bakthyar Kozhatayev and Hugo Houle (Astana), Valerio Conti (UAE Team Emirates), Axel Domont and Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), Brent Bookwalter (BMC), Lukas Pöstleberger (Bora-Hansgrohe),Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), Hector Carretero (Movistar), Pieter Serry (Quick Step), Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), Ian Boswell and Pavel Kotchekov (Katusha-Alpecin), Robert Power and Carlos Verona (Mitchelton-Scott), Warren Barguil, Romain Hardy and Amaël Moinard (Fortuneo-Samsic), Lawson Craddock (EF), Thomas Degand (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Neilson Powless (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Arnaud Courteille (Vital Concept).
Tsgabu Grmay (Trek) and Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) are chasing the 25 leaders and are just 15 seconds back.
Team sky is leading the peloton at 1:40.
Grmay and Pauwels are on, making for a 27-attack.
Only Sky, Bahrain-Merida and Sunweb have missed the break. Sky has Thomas in yellow but will the others chase? Have they got the firepower and desire to pull back a 27-rider attack? Probably not.
After such a fast start, the riders are near the summit of the Montée de Bisanne.
Watch for Cataldo to take maximum points.
83km remaining from 110km
The peloton is at 1:50.
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.
With such a short stage, riders will have to carefully calculate the time cut and ride hard to make sure they survive.
74km remaining from 110km
Despite the mountainous start, the riders have covered 26.1km in the first hour of racing. That's why legs are hurting in the front group and the peloton.
72km remaining from 110km
Cataldo kicks clear with 500m to go to the summit.
Cataldo is first to the summit and so takes maximum points (15) on the Hors Category climb.
With a total of 45 points up for grab today, he is on his way to securing overall victory in the climber's competition.
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.
Hardy and Moinard were off the back of the group.
This shot from Roberto Bettini shows Cataldo in the blue polka-dot jersey.
73km remaining from 110km
We now have 25 riders in the break, with two stragglers and the peloton at 2:50, with Team Sky still leading the chase to protect Geraint Thomas' yellow jersey.
Team Sky cannot let the break go away because it includes Valerio Conti of UAE who is 23rd at just 4:42.
Others possible dangers in the 25-rider group include Tsgabu Gramay, who is 24th at 4:50, Pello Bilbao 25th at 5:52 and even Warren Barguil who is 27th at 6:56.
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
The climb quickly hurts, with the USA's Neilson Powless (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Hugo Houle (Astana) distanced.
63km remaining from 110km
The peloton has closed the gap on the break to 2:30. There is no respite, the short but mountainous stage is on fire.
The Col du Pré is part of a double whammy of climbs, with the Cormet de Roselend coming soon after and altitude.
The The Col du Pré is 12.6km long at 7.6%, while the Cormet de Roselend comes after a short and steep descent and is 5.7km at 6.4%.
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 peloton is at 1:50.
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.
Tony Gallopin has done a huge turn, causing Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky), David Gaudu (Groupama) and Michael Valgren (Astana) to be dropped.
The peloton is only 1:40 down on the break, with only 40 riders left in the peloton.
Team Sky continue to ride but must feel under pressure.
Pierre Rolland (EF) and Bob Jungels (Quick Step) have also been dropped as Gallopin, Latour and Bardet lead the line for AG2R-La Mondiale.
Our race photographer Tim De Waele has sent us some great images from the Alps.
This was the scene in the peloton just before AG2R upped the pace.
52km remaining from 110km
There are only 16 riders left in the peloton lead by AG2R!
Geraint Thomas only has Tao Geoghegan Hart with him as the French squad try to break their dominance.
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.
Some of those have dropped back from the break but the peloton is now only 1:00 back from the attack.
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.
He's in control of the blue polka-dot jersey.
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.
Stage 11 from Albertville to La Rosiere, climbing the Montée de Bisanne, the Col du Pré (H.C.), the Cormet de Roselend and the road up to the finish at La Rosière.
42km remaining from 110km
Marc Soler needs a bike change after a gear problem but he is quickly back into the front peloton.
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.
However Latour (AG2R) has attacked alone. Is he trying to cross the gap or be there for a Bardet attack before the summit?
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 riders are about to reach the 1968m summit.
The break has split with 4 riders coming clear. Amongst them are Barguil and an on form Ian Boswell (Katusha).
39km remaining from 110km
Other riders have joined the attack as the summit approaches.
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.
The road has been cut through banks of snow.
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
The Thomas peloton is 1:10 down on the break, with Nibali a further 50 seconds back.
27km remaining from 110km
Allez! Bardet attacks on the descent.
The Frenchman opens a gap and tries to gain time by sprinting out of every corner.
He has 10 seconds for now.
Bardet is trying to chase the race moto as he judges his line.
However the road is testing, with sections in the shade and sections of wet surface.
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
As the peloton nears valley floor, the Thomas group is only 30 seconds down on the break.
There are only 11 rider left in the peloton there but others are closing the gap.
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
Team Sky has lined out the peloton, dissuading attacks for now.
12km remaining from 110km
Upfront Latour ups the speed. It's still not clear if he's riding for the stage or to help Bardet.
There are 26 riders with Geraint Thomas, some 30 behind the leading 9 in the break.
11km remaining from 110km
Up front Barguil is gapped from the break and is joined by Soler who went away from the peloton and is being helped by teammate Carretero who had was dropped from the breakaway.
10km remaining from 110km
The break is only one hairpin above the peloton now as Boswell kicks away from the break.
9km remaining from 110km
Geoghegan Hart is still setting the pace for Thomas as Buchmann (Bora) tries to go clear and across to the break,
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
Upfront Bilbao has caught and dropped Boswell as the road turns right and steepens.
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
Behind Adam Yates attacks. Race on!
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
Bilbao is still out front Thomas, Bardet and Martin are closing the gap.
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.
He's lucky that the gradient has now eased.
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
Martin kicks but the other three follow him.
Thomas is playing games with them, knowing they want to win the stage.
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 set to win as Martin, Yates and Bardet struggle to close the gap.
H's pushing the big ring on the final part of the climb. He leads by 20 seconds now.
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.
It was a good day for the Astana team with Dario Cataldo scoring a haul of points in the climber's competition to almost certainly wrap up victory.
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.
He admitted he was tired but was clearly happy to have won.
This is the top ten for today's stage:
1 Pello Bilbao (Spa) Astana Pro Team 03:34:11
2 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 00:00:21
3 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 00:00:23
4 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
5 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 00:00:26
6 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:01:02
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 00:01:20
8 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 00:01:40
9 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Team Sky 00:01:45
10 Valerio Conti (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
And this is the new top ten in the GC:
1 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 20:51:19
2 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott 00:01:29
3 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 00:02:01
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates 00:02:30
5 Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team 00:02:39
6 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 00:03:10
7 Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Katusha-Alpecin 00:03:29
8 Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar Team 00:03:40
9 Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 00:03:49
10 Pierre Rolland (Fra) EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 00:04:00
There have been quite a few changes after that intense, mountainous stage.
Damiano Caruso has dropped down to fifth overall, while Moscon has also faded.
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.
The 136km is far from easy with three major climbs but so far the British team seem able to respond to and control any attacks.
This year's Dauphine was arguably shaped massively by the opening prologue time trial and then the TTT. Thomas crashed hard in the prologue losing any advantage but Team Sky set up their success with a dominant ride in the TTT.
As you are probably aware, today is a double header race day, with the Tour de Suisse beginning with a team time trial.
Cyclingnews covers all the big races live and to follow the TTT, click here.
We'll have full blow by blow coverage of the fast and furious 18km TTT.
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.
Called Crescendo, it tells the inside story of several riders at the Corsa Rosa.
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.
It was a stunning day out in the Alps.
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.
For live coverage of the Tour de Suisse, click here.
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