Julian Alaphilippe, as expected

June 14 th 2019 - 16:43

Hot favourite Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) took the highly expected stage win at Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne but it was a very tight finish with his breakaway companion Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) while the third man Alessandro De Marchi (CCC) finished a few meters behind. Adam Yates retained the overall lead.

Alaphilippe first in action

139 riders took the start of stage 6 in Saint-Vulbas-Plaine de l’Ain under the pouring rain. After a very fast start, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) was first to ride away from the peloton. He took Gregor Mühlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Alessandro De Marchi (CCC) with him. As some riders tried to go across, the peloton split in two parts with race leader Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) in the first group. Team Sunweb considered to bring the breakaway back as it was Casper Pedersen’s intention to go for the King of the Mountains competition but they surrendered and Mitchelton-Scott returned to the front of the peloton, albeit with no interest to chase the leading trio down. The time gap went up to 10’40’’ at km 85 between the first two of the eight climbs of the day, after which Alaphilippe had already accumulated just as many KOM points as Pedersen.

Alaphilippe first atop all the climbs… except for the last one

At col du Frêne (km 131.5), Alaphilippe became the virtual lone leader of the KOM competition meanwhile the peloton had a deficit of 13’50’’ but his position on GC, 16’04’’ adrift, wasn’t a big concern for the Mitchelton-Scott squad that controlled the pack for most of the race despite the crash of Nic Schultz along with Jakob Fulgsang (Astana), the winner of the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné whose right elbow was injured in that incident. The Frenchman was also first at côte de Châteauneuf (km 144.5), côte d’Aiton (km 154.5), côte de Saint-Georges-d’Hurtières (km 165) and côte du Bocher (km 203.5) before the leading trio tackled the final loop including the second category col de Beaune after passing the finishing line in Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne 16.5km before the end with an advantage of 9’35’’. Mühlberger was ahead of Alaphilippe atop the last climb while De Marchi was in difficulty.

Alaphilippe by the smallest margin

Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) attacked from the group of the favourites led by Team Ineos up the hill. He was brought back before the top. Mühlberger gave a hard time to Alaphilippe till the very end even though the Frenchman managed to get him launch the sprint. The current world’s number 1 did his best to overhaul him but had to throw his bike on the line to be declared the winner by the photo-finish. This is his second stage win at the Critérium du Dauphiné after stage 4 to Lans-en-Vercors last year. It’s also his tenth win this season. He tops the tally of international pro cycling. Now the King of the Mountains of the Dauphiné, he is on the track for doing just as well as last year at the Tour de France.

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