The former World Champion recorded the team’s 64th top 3 finish of the season.
The Critérium du Dauphiné kicked off the second part of the season for many riders, including Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert, who were protagonists in the hectic and tense finale of stage 1. Travelling from Aurillac to Jussac, the 142km opening leg took the peloton over five climbs, amounting to over 2500 vertical meters, and it was on this final ascent that our team put the hammer down, making significant damages in the bunch.
Once Tim Declercq peeled off, Zdenek Stybar took over the reins at the front, upping the pace and seriously stretching the already reduced bunch, which mercilessly spat out riders at the back on the steep gradients of Côte de Roquenatou. Up the road, two riders from the original breakaway possessed a 20-second advantage which they extended over the top of the climb, after being joined by a man who attacked from the field.
A mad chase ensued on the twisting downhill to Jussac, with the gap coming down only inside the final three kilometers, once the road flattened. As soon as the catch was made, Deceuninck – Quick-Step emerged on a left-hand bend with Philippe Gilbert on Julian’s wheel, who winded up the pace and launched the Paris-Roubaix champion going into the last corner.
Gilbert, one of the sixteen Dauphiné stage winners at the start, put in strong sprint which netted him runner-up behind Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) and the green jersey, which he’ll sport on loan during Monday’s stage from Mauriac to Craponne-sur-Azon.
Photo credit: ©Nico Vereecken/ Getty Images