Roglic smashes the Ineos lock on the Col de Porte

August 13 th 2020 - 17:20

Team Ineos tried to control the race on the first major climbing showdown of the 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné but Egan Bernal couldn’t answer Primoz Roglic’s powerful attack inside the last kilometre. The Slovenian rider claimed his first victory on the roads of the Dauphiné and snatched the leader’s jersey from his Jumbo-Visma teammate Wout van Aert. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) finished second, ahead of Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe). The climbing battle is on and it won’t stop until the end of the week.

A pack of 156 riders start from Vienne without Mauri Vansevenant (Deceuninck-Quick Step) whose team reported he fell ill during the night. Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Jasha Sütterlin (Team Sunweb), Ben O’Connor (NTT Pro Cycling), Jérôme Cousin and Geoffrey Soupe (Total Direct Energie),  Michael Schär (CCC Team) and Fabien Doubey (Circus-Wanty Gobert) feel much better than the young Belgian: they go for the early breakaway from the start.

After 16km, Jumbo-Visma’s Tony Martin is already driving the bunch to control the gap around 3 minutes. Fabien Doubey takes 2 KOM points ahead of the Côte de Viriville (km 50), ahead of the Polka-dot jersey Michael Schär. The Swiss rider takes another point atop the cat-4 Côte de Roybon and the gap is at its highest in this climb: 3’30’’.

Van Aert, super-domestique

Tony Martin sets the pace all the way to the bottom of the first cat-1 ascent of the 2020 Critérium du Dauphiné: Côte Maillet (6.2km with an average gradient of 8%). The gap is down to 2’ at the bottom of the climb (km 92) and Wout van Aert takes over to drive the bunch uphill with his yellow and blue jersey.

Michael Schär leads the way to the summit to take 10 more KOM points. Only Bruno Armirail can keep up with his pace at the front of the race. Their lead to the bunch is down to 1’30’’ as they enter the last 30km of the race, en route to the final climb of the day: 17.5km, 6.2% and many slopes around 10%.

Armirail insists

Sergio Higuita (EF Pro Cycling) crashes in the valley with 24km to go and many riders are involved, including Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale). They get back on their bikes but the pack is out of reach for them.

Schär and Armirail  reach the bottom of the final climb with a lead down to 1’. The French rider drops his Swiss rival 16km away from the summit. The pack only trails by 30’’ and Wout van Aert is dropped. Team Ineos take over inside the last 12km with their seven riders leading a reduced bunch.

Ineos try to control the final climb…

Armirail is caught with 8.5km to go. Victor de la Parte (CCC Team) immediately goes for a counter-attack but he’s reeled in 1km further. About 30 riders remain in the bunch as Jonathan Castroviejo (Team Ineos) leads the way. The Spanish rider is done with his work with 6km to go. Michal Kwiatkowski takes over and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) is dropped.

Temperatures decrease as showers hit the race but the intensity keeps rising with Geraint Thomas pulling the GC group inside the last 4.5km while his Team Ineos partner Chris Froome is dropped. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) launches the first attack with 2km to go. Egan Bernal (Team Ineos) also tries to go. But Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) controls and nobody can answer Primoz Roglic’s powerful acceleration with 600m to go.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) leads the chasers, with an 8’’ gap on the line. The French climber is also 2nd overall (+12’’), ahead of Emanuel Buchmann (+14’’) and Egan Bernal (+16’’).

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