Critérium du Dauphiné
Stage 5) Saint-Chamond – Saint-Vallier
France Thursday 03 June 2021 175.4 km
Deceuninck – Quick-Step celebrate World Bicycle Day in Dauphiné breakaway
Ronde van Vlaanderen champion Kasper Asgreen took the peloton by surprise in the opening kilometers of stage 5, when he went up the road together with four other riders, establishing a two-minute gap over a peloton who needed time to react once they noticed the Dane – third in the standings before the start – attacked. Although once the GC teams posted a man each at the front of the bunch to control the margin the escapees’ chances of making it became slim, the powerful Dane kept pushing and even won the intermediate sprint in Saint-Appolinard.
Several kilometers later, a three-man group featuring Josef Cerny got away from the field and joined the quintet. The Czech National ITT Champion put in the big watts, trying to help the Kasper stay away on the hilly course to Saint-Vallier, but sensing the danger, the bunch pulled hard and annihilated the breakaway with 40 kilometers to go.
Nothing of significance happened on the last climb of the day, and it looked like the race would be heading again to a reduced bunch sprint, only for a late attack of Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) to spoil the fast men’s party. Kasper Asgreen finished again as the best placed Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider and retained his third place in the general classification.
“I gave it a go today, as it was the last proper chance to do something. It didn’t work out, because the other riders in the break weren’t that willing to pull, understandably, as they thought the peloton would chase us hard in order to bring me back. If the whole group would have worked well, maybe we could have had a chance, but it is as it is. It’s been a decent week so far, I’ve been there every day and fought hard, and it would have been nice to get a win, but that’s cycling”, the Dane said after the finish.
Photo credit: ©Bas Czerwinski / Getty Images