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Criterium du Dauphine 2019: Stage 3

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It's day three of the Criterium du Dauphine and after two lumpy stages, today's 177km ride should give the pure sprinters a chance to take home a stage win.

Dylan Teuns is the new race leader after he took the stage win yesterday. This is how the standings look ahead of the start in just under 20 minutes. 1 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 7:37:03
2 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert 0:00:03
3 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:20
4 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:00:21
5 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:24
6 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First
7 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Ineos
8 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Ineos
9 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott
 

 

The weather has been pretty poor over the last couple of days, considering the time of year. It's a little bit better today with some small patches of blue sky behind the clouds and it is currently dry.

Jakob Fuglsang was one of the aggressors in yesterday's stage and even nabbed himself some bonus seconds at the finish. He believes that he's close to his 2017 form, the year that he won the Criterium du Dauphine. Read what he had to say here.

A total of 145 riders have rolled out of town this morning for the 2.5k neutral start. So it won't be long before racing begins proper.

Yesterday was a pretty attritional day for the peloton with nine riders calling a day. Nacer Bouhanni was one of those, along with his leadout man Geoffrey Soupe. Not good news for his hopes of a Tour de France start.

The race is underway.

 

There has been a crash in the bunch with Keukeleire and Rouw going down. Meanwhile, a two-man breakaway has gone up the road and now have some 55 seconds on the peloton.

The two leaders are Natnael Berhane (Cofidis) and Quentin Pacher (Vital Concept). They went pretty soon after the flag dropped and the peloton appears more than happy to let them go with little contest.

After five kilometres, the gap has grown to almost two minutes - 1:49 - and it looks like this is going to be the day's breakaway.

It's not really that surprising that the breakaway has been let go so easily. The first couple of days have been pretty quick with the terrain making for a tricky start to the race. Yesterday, in particular, was hard with the Alaphilippe and Dumoulin making it into the breakaway. Today's likely to end in a bunch sprint so the bunch is looking to save the legs for another day.

Keukeleire is back in the bunch after that earlier crash. Roux is still working his way back.

There are four climbs today, but they are all fourth category so neither of the two escapees will be able overhaul Casper Pedersen in the mountains classification. This is how the standings looks at the moment.

 

1 Casper Pedersen (Den) Team Sunweb 18 pts
2 Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana Pro Team 13
3 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 12
4 Fabien Doubey (Fra) Wanty-Gobert 10
5 Gorka Izagirre Insausti (Spa) Astana Pro Team 7
6 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert 5
7 Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal 5
8 Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 5
9 Niklas Eg (Den) Trek-Segafredo 4
10 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 3
 

153km remaining from 172km

The gap to the two escapees continues to grow out. They now hold a three-minute advantage over the peloton.

So, maybe I spoke too soon about the rain. It has started to rain out on course.

The leaders crest the Cote d'Allegre and their lead is now 3:35. There will be a long run from here until they reach the next climbs, which come in quick succession shortly after the halfway point.

Bahrain-Merida have been doing a large portion of the work at the front of the peloton, with some help from Arkea-Samsic and Bora-Hansgrohe.

As well as having the race leader in their line-up, Bahrain-Merida also have Sonny Colbrelli, who they hope will be able to take the win if things come down to a bunch sprint.

Results in from the first climb, with Berhane taking the lone point available. The gap has steadied around the 3:40 mark.

Bora-Hansgrohe will be happy that Bahrain-Merida have taken up the main responsibility of pacing the peloton today. Bora-Hangrohe did a lot of work on the front during Sunday's stage, but it didn't quite come off with Sam Bennett getting dropped on the final climb. Bennett will be a serious threat in the finale today.

Arkea-Samsic, the other team helping with the pace-setting, have Andre Greipel as a potential contender. Greipel hasn't yet found his rhythm with his new team and a win here would be a major boost for him. It would also be a boost for the team with Warren Barguil struggling on the climbs during yesterday's stage.

As we mentioned earlier, Nacer Bouhanni abandoned during yesterday's stage so he will not be in contention at the finish. Bouhanni looked out of sorts even on Sunday when he was one of the first pure sprinters to get dropped in the fast finale.

The riders have been racing for a little over an hour now and the average speed in the first 60 minutes of action was 37kph. Not overly quick for a first hour, given how early the break was let go.

Another potential contender if it comes down to a sprint finish is Deceuninck-QuickStep's Alvaro Hodeg. The 22-year-old has three wins to his name this year, but if he could take the sprint here it would be a huge victory for him.

Of course, stage 1 winner Edvald Boasson Hagen has to be among the potential contenders. He does better with a harder finale, but he showed on Sunday that he is in fine form. He also showed that he can do it without a team around him, which is good because they have been non-existent in the finales so far.

The points classification is up for grabs at the finish today. Alexey Lutsenko leads the competition at the moment.

 

1 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 34 pts
2 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 29
3 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert 28
4 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 25
5 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 22
6 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 20
7 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma 20
8 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 18
9 Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 18
10 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First 16
 

The points classification is up for grabs at the finish today. Alexey Lutsenko leads the competition at the moment.

 

1 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 34 pts
2 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 29
3 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert 28
4 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 25
5 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Deceuninck-QuickStep 22
6 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 20
7 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma 20
8 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 18
9 Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin 18
10 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First 16
 

The day's intermediate sprint comes close to the finish today. There will be points available for the third place, but it will be interesting to see if the sprint teams are interested in bringing back the break before that point, or if they think it's not worth it.

The gap to the escapees is beginning to come down now as we approach the 100km to go mark. It's still a reasonably sized 3:20 gap.

112km remaining from 172km

Here are the two escapees working together out front.

The feed zone is coming up and the gap continues to drop down. Three minutes now for our two adventurers. Despite the look of the sky in the previous photo, rain is still coming down.

Having a peruse through the start list while we wait for something to happen during this stage. I've named most of the major contenders for the win, but let's take a look at a few other potential challengers. Daryl Impey and Luka Mezgec are options for Mitchelton-Scott. Astana has fast finisher Magnus Cort and Trek-Segafredo has Edward Theuns,

If you haven't read it yet, our big story today is that several riders from the Health Mate-Cyclelive team have filed abuse complaints against their manager. Read the full story here.

The gap is now hovering at the three-minute mark. For now, the bunch feels like this is a manageable advantage.

89km remaining from 172km

The second hour of racing is a bit quicker than the first at 43.6kph. We can expect that to ramp up as we approach the final.

If you haven't done it yet, make sure to listen to the latest episode of the Cyclingnews Podcast. You can find it here.

The peloton has stepped things up somewhat and, as we approach the three categorised climbs, the breakaway's lead has dropped to just 1:55.

Like with the first, the next three climbs only offer one point apiece for the mountains classification. They're packed together, but they shouldn't provide too much of a challenge for the riders.

After yesterday's flurry of abandons, it looked like we might be ok today but there is news coming through that Nelson Oliveira has stepped off the bike.

Yesterday it was announced that Wout van Aert would be riding his first Grand Tour at the Tour de France, next month. It was a bit of surprise for the Belgian, but he said that it was impossible to say no when the offer came. Read the full story here.

71km remaining from 172km

We're onto this series of three climbs and the two leaders are maintaining an advantage of just under two minutes.

The rain continues to fall over the riders and that could make the finale much more challenging. The cold that the riders have endured will also be a factor when sprinting for the line. The riders that have kept themselves the warmest will likely do the best.

Pacher has decided that he is not afraid of the rain and he's taken his jacket off. The rain is actually running off his nose right now. Berhane is sticking firm with his additional layers and who could blame him.

Philippe Gilbert comes to the front for Deceuninck-QuickStep. He came second on the opening stage after he was outpaced by Boasson Hagen in the finale. He's playing the team game today.

Cesare Benedetti is now the lead rider in the bunch. He has been a very busy man over the last two months. He won a stage of the Giro d'Italia and helped his teammate Pascal Ackermann to two stages and the maglia ciclamino. Now, he is working for Sam Bennett. What a rider he is.

With most of the rain jackets being black, it is not easy to see who has riders to the front of the peloton. Though, I can see a rider from Arkea-Samsic, two from Bahrain-Merida, as well as Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck-QuickStep.  

One rider that isn't in a black jacket today is Dylan Teuns, who is looking pretty comfortable in yellow - despite the conditions. As well as two riders right near the front, he has the rest of the team around him as he sits about 10th in the peloton.

56km remaining from 172km

Still one more of the categorised climbs to come for the riders. The gap has been bouncing up and down and currently sits at 1:38.

Berhane has mopped up all of the mountains points today, which is four in total. It might not make any changes to the top of the mountain standings today but it could prove important later in the race if he decides to go out and seek the mountains jersey.

Benedetti's work is going some damage to the advantage of the leaders. Bahrain-Merida then move to the front to slow things down briefly, allowing Teuns and many others to take a comfort break. It shows that they're feeling quite comfortable with how things are going at the moment.

Tom Dumoulin drops back to the car to leave some additional layers and pick up a gel. Dumoulin was on the attack yesterday, which is something we rarely see him do. It was an effort to see how his injured knee was doing and it appeared to pass the test.

Dumoulin is now doing battle with his gloves. He doesn't want the ones he has, but taking them off is proving a little harder than he might like.

44km remaining from 172km

We're into the final 50 kilometres and the gap has now dropped to 53 seconds. Anything can happen, particularly with weather like this, but it looks like this will come back together for a bunch sprint.

44km remaining from 172km

We're into the final 50 kilometres and the gap has now dropped to 53 seconds. Anything can happen, particularly with weather like this, but it looks like this will come back together for a bunch sprint.

A bit of a chat between Cavagna and Bendetti on the front of the bunch. Perhaps discussing when they would like to bring this breakaway back. If they're not interested in the intermediate sprint points, then they would be best leave the catch as late as possible to avoid the late attacks.

The peloton has been through a village called Chez Bardet. This is not the home town of the Frenchman, that is Brioud and the race went through that yesterday.

36km remaining from 172km

The rain is gone for now and a few riders are taking the opportunity to take a few layers off. Bardet is one of those who has removed his jacket.

Natnael Berhane is not taking his off just yet. He is well layered up at the moment. The two leaders have just 42 seconds on the bunch, which has slowed as riders drop back to leave clothes with the team car.

A mechanical problem for Adam Yates. He shouldn't have too many problems getting back to the bunch.

31km remaining from 172km

The intermediate sprint comes with 15.5km to go so it is still entirely possible that the breakaway will be caught before then. The gap is sticking around 45 seconds as Benedetti works on the front again.

Julian Alaphilippe is making his way through the pack after being back at the car. It is Alaphilippe's birthday today, what a way to celebrate. He is 27 today.

Arkea-Samsic come to the front for the first time in a while and turn up the pace a little bit to bring the gap down to just under 30 seconds. The dig doesn't last long and Benedetti moves up to the fore again.

Some more layers coming off as the sun tries to peak through the clouds and now even Berhane takes his jacket off and passes it to one of the race vehicles. Better than chucking it into a field, which I have seen a few do today.

Some more layers coming off as the sun tries to peak through the clouds and now even Berhane takes his jacket off and passes it to one of the race vehicles. Better than chucking it into a field, which I have seen a few do today.

23km remaining from 172km

With Bora-Hangrohe at the helm, the gap has gone out again to 52 seconds. The bunch do not want to bring this back too early.

Dumoulin at the back of the peloton. He had his hand up before and he's looking for the team car.

21km remaining from 172km

More teams now moving up towards the front of the peloton and that's a sign that we're arriving at the pointy end of this stage. It's Arkea-Samsic back on the front of the bunch again.

The Ineos team are right near the front at the moment. They're not particularly interested in the sprint, but they want to keep Chris Froome safe. Maybe they will look for the bonus second at the intermediate sprint. Who knows?

Inside four kilometres to the intermediate sprint and the gap is just 24 seconds. It doesn't look like the peloton will catch the two leaders before then, but it won't be too long now.

16km remaining from 172km

On some of the longer stretches of road you can see the peloton looming behind the breakaway. It looks like less than the 19 seconds we're being told is the gap, but it's hard to say from the angle.

Reports of a puncture for Hodeg and that's bad timing for the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider.

Just one kilometre until the sprint now and the two groups are just a few hundred metres apart.

Berhane leads through the sprint with Pacher second. Lutsenko and Teuns fight it out for the last bonus seconds and it is Lutsenko that takes it.

Pacher is not ready to give up and he's really pushing on, forcing Berhane to dig deep to stay with him. The peloton has slowed briefly and the gap has extended but it's still pretty close between the two groups at the moment.

Berhane and Pacher look at each other and it feels like a look of resignation. They've put in a decent effort today but it was always going to be a tough ask.

The catch is made. Meanwhile, Hodeg is reportedly back in the peloton.

Ineos has taken control on the front with Kiriyenka. He had to sit out part of this season with heart problems.

Ineos continue to pull as we go into the final 10 kilometres. Groupama-FDJ are up there too as they try to keep their leader Pinot out of trouble.

7km remaining from 172km

EF Education First now on the front with Team Sunweb doing a shift. A big mix of GC and sprint teams jostling at the front.  

There has been a crash in the bunch as Guerreiro wheels with a rider in front of him and goes down hard.

That would have got the heart rate up for the riders around the Katusha-Alpecin rider. Thankfully it was just Guerreiro that went down and he seems to be ok. He was on his feet quickly enough after the fall.

We're into the final five kilometres and the pace continues to rise. The peloton is not quite at full tilt yet.

At the moment, it is the GC teams that are dominating the front of the bunch. The sprint teams have been muscled out for now.

2km remaining from 172km

The GC teams are gone now and Katusha Alpecin and Arkea-Samsic are pushing hard on the front

Boasson Hagen is being moved up to the front. Can he make it two?

Under the flame rouge

Bennett now being moved up to the front

Theuns is on his wheel

Bennett leads the sprint out and takes the win with relative ease

A decent effort from Wout van Aert there and he manages second place, which will ensure he's in the young rider jersey for another day.

This is what the top 10 looks like

 

1 Sam Bennett (Irl) Bora-Hansgrohe 4:15:25
2 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Team Jumbo-Visma 4:15:25
3 Davide Ballerini (Ita) Astana Pro Team 4:15:25
4 Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 4:15:25
5 Edward Theuns (Bel) Trek-Segafredo 4:15:25
6 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension Data 4:15:25
7 Alvaro Hodeg (Col) Deceuninck-QuickStep 4:15:25
8 Jens Debusschere (Bel) Katusha-Alpecin 4:15:25
9 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott 4:15:25
10 Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto Soudal 4:15:25

It really was a faultless sprint from Bennett and he's really showing the team what their missing by not bringing him to either the Tour de France or the Giro d'Italia.

Some words from today's winner.

 

"It was a pretty chaotic final. I was a little worried about how my legs were after the last two days, and then it was so cold during the stage. You're always going to feel bad when it's that cold. But then the guys pulled back and waited a long time. It was kind of hard to stay together because everyone's trying to stay up for the GC and getting in with the sprinters, but at the last moment Shane said 'I'm still good, are you still on my wheel?', and he hit it and took me to 200m to go. I felt really good in the final. I have to thank the full team again, they rode really hard all day and then the guys did a great job in the final putting me in a good position.

"I'm trying to get a win in each stage race I go to. It's sometimes hard to keep that consistency all year. I've been doing pretty good in the stage races and just want to keep it going."

And this is the slightly re-jigged top 10 overall

 

1 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 11:52:28
2 Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty-Gobert 0:00:03
3 Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:00:20
4 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
5 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team 0:00:24
6 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
7 Michael Woods (Can) EF Education First
8 Chris Froome (GBr) Team Ineos
9 Wout Poels (Ned) Team Ineos
10 Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott

Dylan Teuns will hold the lead for another day, though he will have a fight on his hands in the time trial tomorrow. This is what he had to say following the stage.

 

"It went ok. I would have also liked to have more sun on this beautiful yellow jersey. It is what it is. I enjoyed it a bit except it was really cold. Looking forward now to a second day in the jersey. Tomorrow is a really important day for the GC. I will try to defend the jersey. I did already some good time trials and I have a little advantage, so I hope it is possible to keep it after tomorrow."

For a recap of today's action with pictures and results, then head to our race report, here.

That is it from today's live coverage of the Criterium du Dauphine, and it is also it from me at Cyclingnews. My colleagues will take you through the remainder of the race and the season. Goodbye.

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