The former capital of the Auvergne region hosted a stage finish for the first time in over seven decades.
A flat and uneventful day was in store for the riders who set out from Le-Puy-en-Velay Tuesday morning and for that very reason not many found an incentive to go into the break, which ended by comprising just two riders. Their buffer was controlled by delegates from several teams, including Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Rémi Cavagna – a native of the Auvergne region – who made sure of bringing back the duo after the intermediate sprint in Entraigues.
Birthday boy Julian Alaphilippe – who turned 27 today – then powered to the front of the bunch with two kilometers to go, followed by Zdenek Stybar and Alvaro Hodeg. The Colombian had experienced a puncture inside the final 20 kilometers, but thanks to his excellent teammates’ superb work he returned in the pack and was looking to get in the fight for a good result.
Unfortunately, due to the chaotic nature of the mass sprint, the 22-year-old – a stage winner this season at the Tour Colombia and Tour of Norway – couldn’t kick out at the right moment and finished seventh on the stage won by Sam Bennett (Bora-hansgrohe).
The calendar’s 25th World Tour appointment, the Critérium du Dauphiné continues on Wednesday with a 26.1km stage against the clock starting and finishing in Roanne; it will be the race’s longest individual time trial in six years and with things still pretty tight at the top, it should result in some significant gaps between the general classification contenders.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele/ Getty Images