Gaudu gets the best of Van Aert
June 7 th 2022 - 16:46
Wout van Aert and Jumbo-Visma thought they had done everything right to claim victory at the Chastreix-Sancy ski resort, as the Belgian star raised his arms to celebrate success atop the final climb… only to see David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) jump ahead of him right on the finish line of stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2022! The French climber bounces back to victory after his Spring ambitions were affected by crashes and illness.
Second ahead of Victor Lafay (Cofidis), Van Aert claims back the yellow and blue jersey he had lost on stage 2 to Alexis Vuillermoz (TotalEnergies), who couldn’t keep up in the final 2.5km of ascent. His teammates and Van Aert’s had done most of the work to reel in a strong team attack by Pierre Rolland’s B&B Hotels-KTM.
The 148 riders who finished stage 2 in Brives-Charensac are back in action for the start from Saint)Paulien at midday. Four attackers get on the move from the start: Omer Goldstein (Israel Premier Tech), Jonas Wilsly (Uno-X), Thomas Champion (Cofidis) and Sebastian Schönberger (B&B Hotels-KTM). Alexis Vuillermoz’s TotalEnergies quickly react and the gap is only up to 2’30’’ when Goldstein drops back to the bunch, after 20km of racing.
B&B Hotels-KTM give a new life to the battle for the breakaway with a team attack on the first ascent of the day, the cat-3 Côte de Saint-Vert. Pierre Rolland, leader of the KOM standings, attacks with Alexis Gougeard and Miguel Heidemann. At the summit (km 44.7), the trio trail by 3’, and the peloton are 1’30’’ further behind.
B&B Hotels-KTM vs TotalEnergies and Jumbo-Visma
An intense chase ensues, until Rolland, Gougeard and Heidemann join the front of the race at km 64. Behind them, the peloton also ride at a high pace, and the gap is stable around 2’30’’ on the valley leading to the final uphill challenges of the day.
As the race enters the last 50km and the road rises, Heidemann, Gougeard and Champion are dropped one by one. Schönberger sets the pace and Rolland goes first atop the cat-4 Côte de Besse-en-Chandesse (km 136.4).
Jumbo-Visma up the ante inside the last 30km, and the gap drops down to 1’15’’ into the last 20km. With 10km to go, the attackers only lead by 35’’. They are caught on the first slopes of the final ascent of the day, the climb to Chastreix-Sancy. Wilsly is the last attacker to be reeled in, inside the last 5km.
Gaudu edges Van Aert despite Roglic and Vingegaard’s work
Tsgabu Grmay (BikeExchange-Jayco) accelerates with 3.5km to go, Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) immediately counter-attacks, and Ben O’Connor (AG2R-Citroën) also has a go 1.5km away from the finish, but Jonas Vingegaard and Primoz Roglic control every move to try and lead Van Aert to a second stage win in three days, while Alexis Vuillermoz (TotalEnergies) can’t keep up with the high pace and is dropped with 2.5km to go.
The Belgian seems to be in a prime position to sprint to victory, despite struggling a bit around the 1km to go mark. He powers ahead of everyone, but he raises his arms just before the line… By his right side, Gaudu makes the most of the situation to take his first Critérium du Dauphiné stage win, ahead of Van Aert and Victor Lafay.
David Gaudu: “I told myself I was gonna get Van Aert”
"I was a bit far behind for the final stretch, I thought I couldn’t do it. Then Kevin Geniets arrived and I followed his wheel. I felt I had strength, I saw Van Aert was going well but I told myself I was gonna get him. And I did it. I’m moved because I had been waiting for a victory like that since the start of the year. I’ve left the doubts behind me, after all the struggles at the beginning of the year. The legs felt good on the climb, that’s good for what’s coming next, especially this week-end."