Jakob Fuglsang wins Dauphine after thrilling stage
Jun 11 2017 09:04 pm CET

Jakob Fuglsang wins Dauphine after thrilling stage

Jakob Fuglsang of Astana has won the 2017 Criterium du Dauphine after winning the final stage of the French WorldTour race. Richie Porte lost out by ten seconds.

The final stage of the French race was just 115 kilometers long from Albertville to Plateau de Solaison and included four categorized climb. The day started with the 1st-category Col des Saisies, followed by the Col des Aravis of the 2nd category, the famous 1st-category Col de la Colombiere and finished with the Hors Category Plateau de Solaison.

The breakaway of the day, which included Lotto-Soudal's Tony Gallopin, was doomed to fail from the beginning as those fighting for the general classification had very different plans. Second-placed Chris Froome attacked several times on the Colombiere to make sure that the teammates of race leader Richie Porte would struggle to keep up.

The Briton's efforts paid off as Porte soon found himself isolated and things truly exploded when Alejandro Valverde attacked and was later joined by Fabio Aru. Another split occurred some time later as Romain Bardet, Jakob Fuglsang and Daniel Martin rode away from the Porte/Froome/Contador group and quickly gained space on their rivals.

Alberto Contador was next in line to launch an attack and was followed by riders like Louis Meintjes, White Jersey holder Emanuel Buchmann and Simon Yates. At the top of the Colombiere, Valverde and Aru were about 1'20" ahead of Froome and Porte with the other GC riders somewhere in between.

Froome attacked again near the summit and saw that Porte failed to keep up. The Team Sky leader went on to bridge the gap with the Contador group where, once he had arrived, he seemingly tried to create partnerships with his new companions.

At the start of the final climb of the race, Valverde and Aru were still in the lead but saw the Froome group getting closer at a steady pace. Behind them, Porte still tried to limit the damage but had already lost his advantage over Froome in the virtual standings with the climb yet to start.

Froome and his companions caught Aru and Valverde at the 10km mark. This new situation meant that Fuglsang became Froome's new principal rival as the Dane trailed the Briton by only 13 seconds in the overall standings. Valverde was dropped shortly after as a result of his earlier efforts.

A thrilling fight followed with Porte, all by himself, managed to reduce the gap from 1'10" to just 47 seconds with 7.5 kilometers to go. Martin picked this moment to attack from the lead group and was joined by Fuglsang. This move appeared to be very effective as none of the others had the energy to bridge the gap.

Froome continued to do all the work in the attempt to chase down the two new leaders while at the same time staying ahead of Porte, and seemingly had no one else to rely on as the other riders in the group were happy to remain in the Sky rider's wheel.

Fuglsang left Martin behind with just over five kilometers to go, as the Danish rider slowly edged closer to Porte in the general standings. At this point, the Froome group appeared to have no energy left and Porte swiftly continued to close the gap.

The gap between Fuglsang and Porte was 1'14" at three kilometers from the finish, which including the bonification seconds at the finish was enough for the Scandinavian, who trailed Porte by 1'15" in the standings, to win the overall classification.

Behind him, Porte joined Froome and immediately left his old team leader behind in a desperate effort to gain more seconds on the man in the lead.

The gap remained extremely stable, reaching 1'16" at the banner for the last kilometer. Porte, to be certain of victory, needed this gap to go below 1'04" with Fuglsang set to take 10 bonification seconds at the finish.

Fuglsang indeed took the stage victory ahead of Martin, Meintjes and Buchmann who did well to defend his White Jersey.

Porte crossed the line at 1'15" from Fuglsang and as such lost the Dauphine by 10 seconds with the Astana rider taking an impressive overall victory in addition to his second stage win.
Photo of Jakob Fuglsang (cropped) by Astana Pro Team




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