The Frenchman joined the break on the penultimate day and cemented his position in the best climber’s standings.
One of the most active riders at this week’s race, Julian Alaphilippe attacked from the gun on the opening rolling roads of stage 7 of the Critérium du Dauphiné (Saint-Genix-les-Villages – Pipay), keen on adding more points to his already impressive haul following Friday’s successful raid. Part of a 22-man group which featured also Paris-Roubaix victor Philippe Gilbert, Alaphilippe swept up maximum points on the first two ascents of the day – Col de l’Épine and Col du Granier – before easing up on the Col de Marcieu, as the weather turned horrendous, with torrential rain and thick fog for the last part of the day.
Winner of the prestigious polka-dot jersey at the 2018 Tour de France – when he became the first rider in history to claim four HC ascents – Julian is on the verge of repeating this feat at the week-long race, thanks to his consistent showing in the mountains, which has landed him so far twelve KOM prizes; this remarkable exploit has helped the most successful rider of the year distance himself from the nearest opponents in the classification with one day and seven ranked climbs left.
“The stage was crazy, full gas from the start. I wanted to be in the front again to take some more points in the mountain classification, and with Phil there, it worked out really well for us. I’m happy to have the jersey before the final stage and I hope to wrap it up on Sunday, although we knew it’s going to be another tough day in the saddle.”
If he will retain the lead after Sunday’s final stage, Julian Alaphilippe will become the first rider in 23 years to simultaneously hold the KOM titles at both the Tour de France and the Critérium du Dauphiné.
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