Alaphilippe, the great rebound

June 5 th 2023 - 16:51

Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) took a significant stage win on day 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, outsprinting a reduced bunch in La Chaise-Dieu. "I’m tired of speaking of bad luck", the French star said ahead of the Critérium du Dauphiné. And indeed, he sent a very different message with his legs as he edged the Olympic Champion Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) to take his second victory of the year and the first in the UCI WorldTour since a stage of the Itzulia Basque Country in 2022. Natnael Tesfatsion (Trek Segafredo) rounds out of the podium of the day, just ahead of Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), who retains the yellow and blue jersey ahead of stage 3, leading to Le Coteau. This is the third stage win for Julian Alaphilippe in the Critérium du Dauphiné, after previous successes in 2018 and 2019. Each of them was followed by stellar performances in the Tour de France.

Highlights- Stage 2 - #Dauphiné 2023

After the showers from day 1, the sun accompanies the 144 riders at the start of stage 2, in Brassac-les-Mines. The first kilometres are nonetheless eventful, with many attacks and a significant crash at km 8. Three riders are forced to withdraw: Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), Staff Cras (Total Energies) and Romain Combaud (Team DSM).
The first baroudeurs to open differences set off at km 6.5: Andrea Piccolo (EF Education-EasyPost), Jonas Gregaard (Uno-X), Victor Campeanaerts (Lotto Soudal) and Donavan Grondin (Arkéa Samsic).
Attacks keep flying and three more riders make it a 7-man breakaway: Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën) bridges the gap at km 21, Pierre Latour (Total Energies) and Kenny Elissonde (Trek Segafredo) do it at km 23.

Grondin's delight

After an intense battle, the peloton let the attackers go. But Jumbo-Visma quickly control the gap at under 2 minutes.
With the polka-dot jersey on his shoulders after his previous breakaway in stage 1, Donavan Grondin makes the most of the cat-3 ascents of the Col de Toutée (summit at km 46.7) and Col des Fourches (km 53.8) to consolidate his lead in the KOM standings
The attackers head to the final circuit with the peloton coming hot on their heels. Grondin lets his companions go 5 kilometres before they cross the line for the first time and take on a 35.1km circuit featuring the cat-4 climb of Côte des Guêtes (1km at 8%, to be summited 9.7km away from the finish).

Grondin's strggle

Into the last 50km, Soudal Quick-Step and Jumbo-Visma control the gap between 35 and 55’’. The intensity is too high for Grondin, who needs to stop on the side of the road as he visibly suffers from his left thigh. The Frenchman gets back on his bike to try and complete the stage, with another polka-dot jersey to claim on the podium.
Latour goes first atop the first ascent of the Côte des Guêtes but his legs abandon him a few kilometres later and he drops back to the bunch with 39km to go. Peters,  Piccolo, Elissonde, Gregaard, Victor Campeanaerts are 35’’ ahead of the bunch as they enter the final lap. Grondin trails by 9’30’’.

Another thrilling finale
The peloton up the ante in the final lap and the gap is down to 15’’ when Campenaerts attacks, with 28 km to go. Only Elissonde follows him. And the two of them manage to bring their lead back up to 30’’ ahead of the final ascent of the Côte des Guêtes. But they’re caught halfway through the climb.
Tobias Bayer (Alpecin Deceuninck) immediately counter-attacks and opens a gap of 13’’ at the summit, with 10km to go. He is caught after 6km at the front. Harrison Sweeny (Lotto Dstny) also attacks but Andrea Bagioli (Soudal Quick-Step) reels him in. And Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) himself pulls in the last kilometre, like he did on the day before.
But this time, Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) opens up the sprint. Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) follows him and pounces to victory. Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) retains the yellow and blue jersey but settles for the fourth position on the day, behind Natnael Tesfatsion (Trek-Segafredo).
As the winners of the day collected their prizes, Grondin finished the stage 22'48'' after the leaders, just inside the time-cut of 23'30''.


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