Wout van Aert defends yellow and green jersey in the mountainous final weekend
Valentin Ferron takes the win in Gap from the break on stage 6
Can anyone take on Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard?
Bonjour and welcome to our live coverage of stage 7 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.
It's, finally, time to climb into the high Alps.
Ready for one of the toughest stages of the year.#Dauphine pic.twitter.com/K8rLalpEyQJune 11, 2022
As the Cyclingnews blimp takes height, the riders are lined up in the sun for the start of the stage.
It's going to a short but very hard stage and that is why most riders were warming up on the rollers.
The riders roll out for 4km of neutralised riding.
🚩 C’est parti pour l’étape 7 du #Dauphiné !🚩 Stage 7 is underway! pic.twitter.com/hXuBh025W6June 11, 2022
It's a big day for Wout van Aert and Jumbo-Visma.
🇫🇷 #DauphinéThe penultimate stage is about to start. 😎 pic.twitter.com/srKgdcjkjIJune 11, 2022
Until now, we’ve had a Dauphine in which all six stages could feasibly have been won by Wout van Aert. He has taken two, and come agonisingly close to winning three more for Jumbo-Visma.
It’s difficult to design a route for any race that limits Van Aert’s chances, and his victory over Mont Ventoux at last year’s Tour makes overall victory a possible scenario. His place at the top of the standings with a lead of over a minute only adds to speculation of a GC bid.
138 riders started stage 7. There were three non-starters: Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe), Chris Froome (Israel Premier Tech) and Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco).
Click below to read the full story on Chris Froome's decision to abandon the race.
Today's stage starts from Saint-Chaffrey and immediately scales the Col du Galibier.
This is the ‘easier’ side of the Alpine giant, and while it’s only 5.1%, it’s 23km long and rises to 2642 metres, where the oxygen is hard to come by.
The early part of the stage is a gradual climb up the Col du Lautaret before the right turn onto to the steeper slopes of the Galibier.
There are already attacks as riders try to form the break of the day.
Riders from QuickStep-AlphaVinyl, EF Education-EasyPost, TotalEnergies, Trek-Segafredo and Groupama-FDJ are all active.
This is an aggressive start to the stage.
The cruelly placed intermediate sprint after just 5km also inspired attacks and hard racing. Ethan Hayter won it ahead of Luis Leon Sanchez and Toms Skujins who were looking to attack, not just core points.
This is what the riders face very soon.
One of cycling’s greatest climbs 😍#Dauphine pic.twitter.com/mnSj6gFCmSJune 11, 2022
125km to go
The first attack of 12 riders has been caught but more attacks are coming.
Now Ineos Grenadiers send 2 riders up the road but Jumbo quickly follow them.
Gruppo compatto. Nothing can get away for now, as riders and teams chase each other.
This shot from the race director's car by race radio Seb Piquet shows how the peloton is lined out.
Bonjour monsieur Galibier @dauphine #Dauphiné pic.twitter.com/zF0AWmRF4UJune 11, 2022
We're seeing attacks for the stage and the GC, or kind of both. Even Wout van Aert is on the move!
Van Aert is part of a group of some 29 riders, who have opened a 10-second gap.
As the Dauphine climbs in the mountains, riders are switching bikes and testing new equipment for the rapidly approaching Tour de France.
Patrick Fletcher is on the ground in France for Cyclingnews and spotted Enric Mas' news Canyon Ultimate climbing bike.
Click below for all the details and a photo gallery.
As the riders prepare to wing right and not the steeper slopes of the Galibier, Pierre Rolland has gone clear alone.
Other riders from the group of 29 are trying to chase him but so is the peloton.
115km to go
Rolland now faces a harder climb of 7.5km to the legendary Galbier summit.
Laurens De Plus (Ineos Grenadiers), Matteo Fabbro (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) have joined Rolland.
Other riders are trying to go across as the gradient steepens.
Meanwhile other riders are suffering out the back of the peloton.
This is a short, intense and painful stage for a bad day.
Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM) goes again. The French veteran is keen to take the KOM points atop the Galibier.
These were the early attacks.
💪 #Dauphiné pic.twitter.com/oFFoZ6HXI6June 11, 2022
A group of two riders and then some chasers has formed as the road climbs and the views down the valley emerge with every metre of road climbed.
The Galibier is a real giant in the Alps and goes up to 2642m.
The climb is officially 22.8km long and his written some legendary pages in the history of the sport.
Matteo Fabbro (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM) lead by 20 seconds, there is a nine-rider chase group and then Ineos Grenadiers lead the bunch at 30 seconds.
110km to go
The riders are just 2km from the summit now.
They are near the Monumen Henri Desgrange, that remembers the first organiser of the Tour de France, and then the final hairpins of the climb.
They're climbing into thin air.
🇫🇷 @dauphine 😍 @auvergnerhalpes 😍#AG2RCITROËNTEAM #RoulonsAutrement @auvergnerhalpes - © KBLB pic.twitter.com/nfeNEGNcftJune 11, 2022
105km to go
There are several chase groups spread down the road as the summit nears.
Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Andres Ardila (UAE Team Emirates), Victor Lafay (Cofidis) and Laurens Huys (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux) trail by 20 seconds.
Andrey Amador (Ineos Grenadiers), Carlos Verona (Movistar), Omer Goldstein (Israel Premier Tech), Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Toms Skujins and Kevin Vermaerke (Team DSM) are 10' seconds further behind.
The peloton is at 50 seconds as they let the breakaway riders try to take control.
They go over the top and start the long, long descent back to the valley road.
A fast near 20km descent takes them to Valloire, then the descent of the twisting col du Telegraaf, drops to the valley in Saint Martin de Maurienne.
As we expected, Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM) was first over the Galibier, scoring 15 points for his efforts.
We can count six different groups as the riders dive down the descent, passing the monument to Marco Pantani, that recalls his solo attack in the rain over the Galibier from this side in 1998.
Long descents always help the best descenders close gaps and so Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo), Andres Ardila (UAE Team Emirates) and Andrey Amador (Ineos Grenadiers) have joined Matteo Fabbro (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM) at the head of the race.
Indeed, Amador is going away alone as he takes speed.
Luis Leon Sanchez (Bahrain Victorious), Gregor Muhlberger, Carlos Verona (Movistar), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Omer Goldstein (Israel Premier Tech), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Victor Lafay (Cofidis) will soon join the front attack to make it 18 riders at the front.
The riders pass through Valloire but have no time to stop for a coffee as so many riders do when climbing the Galibier.
85km to go
Jumbo-Visma leads the peloton at 2:00.
As the valley nears, the break has returned together.
There are 18 riders up front, with the peloton at 2:20.
We perhaps now have two clear races: for the stage victory and for the yellow jersey.
The young @huys_laurens escaped on the Col de Gabilier & leads the race in a breakaway of 18🏁 100 km#Dauphiné pic.twitter.com/IbWjhqwQMFJune 11, 2022
These are the 18 riders up front:
Andrey Amador (Ineos Grenadiers), Matteo Fabbro (Bora-Hansgrohe), Luis Leon Sanchez (Bahrain Victorious), Gregor Muhlberger, Carlos Verona (Movistar), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Omer Goldstein (Israel Premier Tech), Dries Devenyns (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Andres Ardila (UAE Team Emirates), Kenny Elissonde, Toms Skujins, Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Victor Lafay (Cofidis), Simon Guglielmi (Arkea-Samsic), Laurens Huys (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux), Mark Donovan, Kevin Vermaerke (Team DSM), Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM).
They have a lead of 2:00 on the peloton in the valley road.
As the stage profile shows, they now face a short ride along the valley and then climb high again.
The Col de la Croix de Fer rises at an irregular average gradient of 5.2% over 29km and breaks the 2000-metre barrier once more.
🏁 65km1️⃣8️⃣🚴🏻♂️ < 1'45'' < 🚴🏻♂️🚴🏻♂️🚴🏻♂️🚴🏻♂️💛🚗⏱ L'écart entre les échappés et le peloton descend sous les 2 minutes. ⏱ The gap between the breakaway and the peloton drops below 2 minutes. #Dauphiné pic.twitter.com/bgyS1wvDhzJune 11, 2022
The valley road is giving everyone in the race a chance to take on new bidons and food before the next climb.
They will need it later for the final two hours of racing and the 29km long Col de la Croix de Fer.
This tweet from Movistar shows off the spectacular terrain thew riders have raced through so far today.
😻🤤 Los Alpes en todo su esplendor en 🇫🇷 #Dauphiné (📸 ASO / Aurélien Vialatte).@Carlos_Verona y @muehlberger_94, en fuga camino de la Croix-de-Fer. #RodamosJuntos pic.twitter.com/X5RkiVx8EhJune 11, 2022
Here we go!
The breakaway starts the Col de la Croix de Fer.
Mark Donovan (Team DSM) as surged away to try to open an advantage.
Behind Jumbo-Visma are riding on the front of the peloton, many in the peloton taking on bidons to rehydrate and to stay cool.
This was the view at the start and the sun is still shining as the Col de la Croix de Fer begins to hurt.
50km to go
The pace is hurting the 18 riders in the break and those in the peloton.
Stage 6 winner Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergues) is also suffering after his big day on Friday.
Mark Padun (EF Education-EasyPost) is also suffering, perhaps he is unwell.
This is Pierre Rolland soon after he went on the attack.
Rolland attacked with Fabbro.
This was the view across the Galibier and the Col de la Croix de Fer is in the next valley.
The Col de la Croix de Fer is 2067m and so near to the snow that is slowly melting.
20km to the summit
Seeing a sign that says '20km to the summit' must be hard to take after six days of hard racing.
Making the break 👊@Andrey_Amador escaped the bunch and is part of a large group chasing solo leader Mark Donovan (DSM) . His group are around 3'00 ahead of the peloton with 50km to go #Dauphine 📸A.S.O./Aurélien Vialatte pic.twitter.com/mCmC5JxOm7June 11, 2022
Jumbo-Visma is riding on the front of the peloton.
Laporte is using his power to ride tempo on the front, helping his teammates save their strength for later.
The Col de la Croix de Fer dips and rolls along the riders are now in a plateau but the hardest, steepest part of the climb will begin soon.
The riders are at 1300m and will soon go much higher.
The riders in the break have their their jersey's open but are riding a steady race, knowing the battle for the victory will shake out in the next 30 minutes and then on the climb to the finish.
40km to go
This is interesting.
Uno-X have now taken over at the front of the peloton.
What are they riding for? Or are have they just become 'friends' of Jumbo-Visma?
The Uno-X pacing has helped the peloton close the gap on the break to 3:20.
Meanwhile some hard work by Jasper Stuyven is riding on the front of her break to chase lone attacker Mark Donovan (Team DSM). The Belgian is riding for teammates Kenny Elissonde and Toms Skujins.
6.5km to the summit of the Col de la Croix de Fer
Uno-X are doing a strong ride here as the road steepens.
35km to go
Kenny Elissonde dances away in pursuit of Gregor Muhlberger (Movistar).
Britain's Mark Donovan (Team DSM) was caught and passed just before due to Stuyvens' huge effort.
The final 5km of the Col de la Croix de Fer are shaking out the break.
The 18 riders are spread down the road, depending on their climbing ability.
The road zig-zags up the side of the mountain in the final kilometres. The roads are spectacular but hurt.
The presence of the Movistar riders in the break confirm that Enric Mas is not at his best after his crash two days ago.
Indeed, Mas is suffering nad going off the back of the GC group.
Wout van Aert is also suffering as the GC group is down to just 20 or so riders.
Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) keeps attacking to join other riders. Her clearly wants to win the stage but lacks the ability to go alone and is being caught-up in team tactics.
Van Aert had said he would be dropped and he's proven himself right.
The race leader eases up and is riding solo. His GC hopes are done. Now it is up to Roglic and Vingegaard to lead Jumbo-Visma.
Suddenly everything is up for grabs at the Dauphine.
As the summit of the Col de la Croix de Fer nears, Bahrain lead the peloton at 2:00 from the five attackers.
30km to go
The attackers are on the descent as Caruso surges away to join LL Sanchez.
They will perhaps try to attack on the long descent.
Over to Roglic, Vingegaard and the rest.
The rolling descent has split the five up front.
Elissonde and Carlos Verona are clear but again the Frenchman is not happy with the speed and workload.
20km to go
The two lead the chasers by 25 seconds, with the peloton at 1:45.
Elissonde knows they have to give it their all on the descent near the Lac de Grand Maison.
Behind there are 20 riders in the GC peloton, as LL Sanchez leads the chase.
Sanchez is riding for Caruso, while the other GC contenders wait for the final climb up to the finish in Vaujany.
A staggered descent takes them to the foot of the final climb to Vaujany. The climb is a typical ski resort-bound switchback climb, which averages 7.2% but only lasts for 5.7km, hence its category-2 status.
It may pale in comparison to the mountains already climbed but after such a wearing-down process it will provide a punchy and explosive finale.
The views are stunning across Lac de Grand Maison but the riders have no time to enjoy them.
This road is often used in the Tour de France and always hurts. Long descents include sharp, steep rises and it's shaking up the attackers and the GC peloton.
10km to go
Elissonde and Verona continue to squabble and so the Spaniard goes clear after Kenny gives him an earful about not working smoothly.
For the attackers are holding off the GC chasers.
Elissonde is back with Verona as they near the foot of the final climb.
5km to go
The climb starts and Verona accelerates again. Vamos!
Elissonde gets the local cheers but Verona seems stronger.
Meanwhile the GC riders are only 1:40 back as AG2R lead the line.
Can they catch the attackers? They have 5km to do it.
Groupama are also up front, riding for a stage win for David Gaudu.
Elissonde is suffering on the 9% gradient.
The climb is also hurting the GC riders.
Incredibly Ethan Hayter is only dropped now. He survived far longer than van Aart and many others.
Jumbo-Visma have been quiet so far as Kruijswijk is dropped.
There are only 15 or so riders in the group as Ruben Guerreiro of EF makes a surge.
He surges past the remains of the break but is it too little too late.
The gap is down to 1:15.
Jumbo light-up the race.
Vingegaard is on the front and splits the group.
Roglic is there too.
Ben O'Connor is there and looking good.
but Caruso is further back.
2km to go
Vingegaard is trying to smash open the GC gap and bring back the final attackers.
Geogheghan Hart is also behind the Vingegaard group with Caruso and others.
The GC rider sweep up Elissonde, leaving just Verona up front.
He's fortunate that the road soon descends to the finish.
Roglic is in the drops and putting out his huge power.
He is just 15 seconds down on Verona.
Verona is on the descent. Can he hold on and win?
Roglic can't yet see Verona.
Verona holds and can win it!
Verona wins the stage!
Roglic finishes 15 or so seconds back but will take the race lead.
His teammate Vingegaard finishes third.
That's a big win for Movistar. They needed a win after a dire spring.
Behind everyone else finishes alone and tired.
That is Carlos Verona's first career victory.
What a way to do it!
Here's a happy Verona.
It's always good when a domestique gets their big day and a big win.
Thanks to his second place on the stage, Roglic leads the race by 44 seconds ahead of teammate Vingegaard.
Verona rightly celebrated his first pro win.
Va por Esther. Por Berta, Leo y Nina.Y por todos los que creemos en tu trabajo y tus valores.¡Grande, @Carlos_Verona! #Dauphiné #RodamosJuntos | @Telefonica pic.twitter.com/V0GT92dq4MJune 11, 2022
That was a contrasting day for Jumbo. Wout van Aert cracked on the Col de la Croix de Fer but Roglic was able to step up, make his trademark later power attack and so take and extend his race lead.
He and Jumbo-Visma have just now day left to race and seem in control.
Of course, we've said that before about Roglic.
Van Aert finishes in a small group at 14:00.
Carlos Verona celebrates on the podium.
He is the third breakaway to win a stage. What is happening in stage racing?
Are the GC teams not as strong and controlling as they once were.
Verona will rightly frame this shot and put it on his wall.
He's worked hard recently.
"It's been many months at altitude, working away from the family, and successes like this take a huge weight off your shoulders," Verona said.
"Having this photo for me is nice, and a motivation not to settle and keep growing."
Now Roglic is on the podium and in yellow.
He will be hoping to also wear yellow in a few weeks time.
The clock ticks by and is now 17 minutes after the finish.
The time cut is 35:03.
Uno-X have been rewarded for their riding. Tobias Halland Johannessen is now in the best young rider's white jersey.
Van Aert keeps the green points jersey.
Roglic was happy to be in the leader’s yellow jersey.
“I'm more yellow but I’m used to it,” he said, referring to his usual yellow and black Jumbo-Vista colours.
“Carlos Verona was quite strong and deserved to win the stage. We were not really going for the stage win. We came here to search a bit for the good feelings. I felt good today and that’s why I could go at the end.
“I’m super happy. I came here from a training camp and I didn’t do much intensity. This race has helped me to come back. With the way it’s going, I'm improving and getting my legs back.”
Roglic was cautious about his overall ambitions.
“I’ll go all out. It’s still training for me, I don’t care if I win or lose. If we win as a team it’s even better. So we have to be optimistic. With all the guys with what we showed, we’ll go for it,” he said.
“I always say that the stronger we are, the stronger is the team. We have to help each other and do our best. We know that tomorrow is the Queen stage, the final one and we have to be there and do our best.”
Carlos Verona was emotional to win his first pro race.
“It’s an incredible and very special day after all my years as a professional rider. This is right up there with the best moments and now it’s great to have a win on my palmares,” he said.
“This win is for my team. We haven’t had the best moment but we will come back, stronger than ever. It’s also for my family, my wife and my kids, we’re also a team. I race here and they support me too.
“It doesn’t happen very often when you work hard for others in the team but sometimes you get a chance. This was my day and I won. I’m so grateful to the team.”
Verona talked about his race in detail.
“It was about having the confidence to be up there and go for it on a tough day and riding smart,” he said.
“There was a headwind on the Galibier but we got away. Afterwards I knew I just had to go for it because Kenny Elissonde was strong. We were chasing each other all day and it was fast on the descent.
“On the last climb I knew I had to go from the bottom because the bunch was near us too. Near the finish I didn’t have anything left and just went for it, not looking back and ready to accept being caught. I knew that they were there and so had to suffer to my very limits. It all worked out.”
To read our stage report and see our growing photo gallery of all the action, click below.
This is a sight Roglic will hope to see in July.
Thanks for joining our full live coverage of stage 7 of the Criterium du Dauphine.
We'll be back on Sunday will full live coverage of the final stage.
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