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Criterium du Dauphine 2019: Stage 6


The peloton is currently in the neutralised zone in Saint-Vulbas and is scheduled to hit kilometre zero at 10.30am local time. The 229km stage features no fewer than eight classified climbs, including the category 2 Col de Beaune, which comes just before a rapid descent to the finish in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne. 

The general classification picture is as follows ahead of stage 6:

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Rain is falling steadily over the peloton through these fast opening kilometres. It's been a rapid start to the stage but as yet no breakaway has gone clear.

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Alaphilippe is the best-placed of the escapees on GC, albeit more than 16 minutes down on yellow jersey Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). 

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Having missed the break, Sunweb are working at the head of the peloton. Their best rider on GC is Tom Dumoulin, who is 42nd overall at 8:52 and who said he had no ambitions for today's stage. The Dutchman is building towards the Tour de France after his crash in Frascati forced him out of the Giro d'Italia last month. "Today I will take it as easy as possible and yesterday I felt some problems with the knee so I will take it easy today and hopefully work on my shape again on the weekend," Dumoulin said. "The GC riders will have a big fight, especially in the rain with the last downhill it’s pretty tricky. It’s a good day for me not to be in the race."

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Sunweb have desisted their chase of the three leaders and the break's advantage is rising accordingly.

Mitchelton-Scott have taken over at the head of the peloton but only after allowing Alaphilippe and company extend their lead out beyond the three-minute mark.

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Chris Froome has dominated the news cycle these past 48 hours. His crash while reconnoitring Wednesday's time trial left him with a broken femur and has ruled him out of the Tour de France. While still in intensive care on Thursday, Froome learned that he might yet inherit the 2011 Vuelta a Espana title after it emerged that Juan José Cobo had been found guilty of a doping violation due to anomalies detected in his biological passport between 2009 and 2011. Froome's palmares won't be amended just yet, mind. Cobo may appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport within one month, and a decision the winner of the 2011 Vuelta will only be taken after the case is completed. Read more here.

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In Chris Froome's absence, Wout Poels is the best-placed Ineos rider on GC, in 11th place at 40 seconds. "Normally Chris would have been the protected rider but now it's Wout," said Ineos directeur sportif Servais Knaven. "The others might have more freedom in certain moments but of course, it's shit what happened. Wout is going well and he proved that on stage 2 and for him this is a really nice opportunity. We're still here to prepare for the Tour and we'll see how things are in the mountains." Read more here.

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The escapees are still extending their advantage on the climb. Their lead is in excess of nine minutes as they approach the summit of the Chambotte.

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Luka Mezgec sets the tempo in the peloton, now ten minutes down on the leaders. The next climb on the agenda is the category 4 Côte de Lachat (2.9km at 4.7%). 

Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) currently lies 13th place overall, 1:13 down on Yates. He suggested that today's stage would be one for the escapees before the GC is decided on two final days in the Alps. "I don't think it’ll be much of a GC test. I think everyone is expecting the break to go to the finish. There will be a lot of attacking at the start and I think it'll be a really hard stage but normally the GC battle will looking towards the weekend," said Martin. Read more here.

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Alaphilippe leads the break over the Côte de Lachat, which puts him level with Casper Pedersen (Sunweb) atop the king of the mountains classification.

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Mühlberger led the break through the intermediate sprint at Le Châtelard, where their buffer over the bunch had yawned out to 12:15.

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The leading trio's buffer nudges out to 13:30. Even with more than 90km still to race, they will surely fancy their chances of going the distance here.

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Today's finale sees the climb of the Col de Beaune followed by a sharp descent, and it seems tailored to Julian Alaphilippe. "Today is a good stage. I like this type of profile. I will do my best and we’ll see how I feel," Alaphilippe said this morning. "Before the descent at the final you have the climbs, and the race is long today. We have to do good race today before we think about the victory.”

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There are three climbs remaining on the menu today. First up is the category 2 Côte de Saint-Georges-d’Hurtières (4.9km at 5.9%), the summit of which comes with 64km to go. The category 3 Côte du Bochet (1.6km at 7.4%) comes 25.5km from the finish before the day’s stiffest test, the category 2 Col de Beaune (8.1km at 6%). A rapid 7.5km descent separates the summit from the finish in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne.

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José Gonçalves (Katusha-Alpecin) attacked from the peloton on the Côte de Saint-Georges-d’Hurtières to crest the summit 12:45 down on the break and around 30 seconds clear of the bunch.

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Nick Schultz (Mitchelton-Scott) crashed on the descent of Saint-Georges-d’Hurtières but both riders have since remounted and rejoined the peloton.

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After a miserable start to proceedings, the rain has abated and the leaders are now on dry roads and bathed in pleasant sunshine.

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The technical descent of the Col de Beaune might well cause some frissons in the yellow jersey group and we can also expect some accelerations on the climb itself, even Adam Yates believes the main GC showdown will not come until Saturday and Sunday. ""The downhill at the end could be decisive but it’s not worth risking your life for gaining ten seconds,” Yates said. “Any stage from now on is pretty hard, the last two are quite short and selective but as I said yesterday, I’m feeling good. The sensations are good.”

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The three leaders are on the approach to the category 3 Côte du Bochet (1.6km at 7.4%). Daryl Impey sets the pace in the peloton for Mitchelton-Scott.

Jose Goncalves (Katusha-Alpecin) is about to be picked up by the peloton after his forlorn solo raid in pursuit of the escapees.

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Back in the bunch, a delegation from EF Education First has hit the front on the descent of the Bochet in support of Tejay van Garderen.

The speed in the peloton on the Bochet saw a number of non-climbers distanced, including Andre Greipel and Sonny Colbrelli.

The bunch is splitting further in the crosswinds between the Bochet and the final climb of the Col de Beaune, but it seems that all of the GC contenders are safely in the front part of the peloton, which is being led by EF.

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The bunch, meanwhile, has started the finishing lap some 9:20 down on the break.

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Back in the main peloton, Wout van Aert and Tim Dumoulin are among the many riders dropped as the gradient begins to bite on the Col de Beaune.

A rare 2019 sighting of Gianni Moscon on the front of the peloton, as the Ineos rider sets the tempo on the Col de Beaune.

Alaphilippe sits up and calls for a bidon from his team car, although we are inside the final 20km of the stage. His directeur sportif, mindful of the rules, waves a hand of refusal.

The Ineos pace-making has whittled down the yellow jersey group considerably. Moscon is still setting the tempo, 8 minutes behind the break.

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Now Muhlberger has a go. Alaphilippe follows the Austrian but this looks like the end for De Marchi, who loses contact with his breakaway companions.

De Marchi battles his way gamely back up to Muhlberger and Alaphilippe. As soon as he does so, Muhlberger kicks again. Rinse and repeat: Alaphilippe follows and De Marchi loses ground. 

Further down the climb, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Group Gobert) has attacked with purpose from the yellow jersey group. Moscon has finished his pace-making for the afternoon.

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Alaphilippe does so and immediately Muhlberger attacks again. The Austrian and De Marchi are taking it in turns to attack Alaphilippe...

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Muhlberger leads Alaphilippe on this sinuous descent, which features some 20 bends. 

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Down the road, Guillaume Martin is still clear of a yellow jersey group where Michal Kwiatkowski sets the pace.

Guillaume Martin has been brought back to heel by Kwiatkowski.

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Meanwhile, a 30-strong yellow jersey group led by Kwiatkowski approaches the summit of the Col de Beaune, 6:20 down on the leaders.

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Mühlberger leads off the descent and into the flat final 500 metres. This ought to be a formality for Alaphilippe, but who knows if that missed bidon will cost him.

Mühlberger opens his sprint from distance and Alaphilippe is struggling to make it around him...

Alaphilippe and Mühlberger were elbow to elbow as they crossed the line. It looks as though Alaphilippe took it but we await the photo finish image.

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) wins stage 6 of Critérium du Dauphiné.

Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) took second place, beaten by the width of a tyre. Alessandro De Marchi (CCC) came home alone in third.

That was Alaphilippe's 10th victory of the season and the sprint was anything but a formality for the Frenchman. Mühlberger pushed him all the way with a strong and canny sprint effort, having already put the Frenchman under pressure on the Col de Beaune.

The yellow jersey group, meanwhile, is navigating the sinuous descent with Kwiatkowski still on the front.

Into the final kilometre for the yellow jersey group, which has stretched to breaking point under Kwiatkowski's impetus. There shouldn't, however, be any gaps among the GC contenders at the finish.

Wout Poels (Ineos) wins the sprint for 4th place, 6:15 or so down on stage winner Julian Alaphilippe.


Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) retains the overall lead, 4 seconds ahead of Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) and 6 clear of Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First).

General classification after stage 6:

Julian Alaphilippe on his win: "I’m always hungry for success and every victory is important for me and the team. To win in the Dauphine in my first race in France is a really special feeling. I’m really happy after a hard day in the break, with only three guys. I know my mate from the breakaway, from Bora. He’s really strong and I know he’s explosive. I had to be careful but it was a headwind and so didn’t want to start my sprint early. In the end I passed him in the last moment, so I’m happy. My shape is good and I’ll continue to work until the Tour de France but I want to enjoy this win, it’s a really beautiful victory."

Yellow jersey Adam Yates speaks: "It wasn’t a full gas stage. That’s what you expect when it’s not a mountain top finish. The three guys away were quite far on GC, everyone else was happy with what we were doing. In the last climb, we expected the race to be a little harder."

Jakob Fuglsang showed few ill effects from his crash as he placed 6th on the stage to remain 4th overall. "He crashed but it’s just a small one," said Astana manager Dmitry Fofonov. "That happens in the bunch when one rider touches another. It was In the middle of the stage but it wasn’t at a strategic point in the race. One guy from Mitchelton crashed and then Jakob crashed with him. He has one wound on his right hip and one on the elbow. Tomorrow is the first mountain stage. All the favourites are there and we’ll see tomorrow where we are in GC. At the moment we’re in a good position and today the guys managed the last climb really well."

Fulgsang speaks about his crash: "I was at low speed. I think someone wanted to go left and I wanted to go right. I lost balance on his rear wheel. I almost saved it but I also ended up taking down a Mitchelton guy also. For me it’s nothing serious and I hope it’s the same for the Mitchelton guy as well. I got back up and used the same bike. It was nothing special.

Thanks for following our coverage of today's stage of the Dauphine. We'll be back with more from the final weekend but in the meantime, a full report, results and pictures are available here.

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