Filippo Ganna wins Criterium du Dauphine time trial as Wout van Aert tightens grip on leader’s jersey

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Filippo Ganna - Filippo Ganna wins Criterium du Dauphine time trial as Wout van Aert extends overall lead - GETTY IMAGES

Filippo Ganna – Filippo Ganna wins Criterium du Dauphine time trial as Wout van Aert extends overall lead – GETTY IMAGES

Filippo Ganna held on to narrowly beat Wout van Aert in the stage four time trial at the Critérium du Dauphiné on Wednesday, while the vanquished Belgian extended his lead on general classification.

Having set a benchmark time of 35min 32sec for the 31.9-kilometre time trial from Montbrison to La Bâtie d’Urfé, the Italian sat in the hotseat as he watched the general classification contenders tackle the relatively flat course.

After Ineos Grenadiers team-mate Ethan Hayter went closest at 17sec, the world time trial champion’s focus switched to Van Aert, with the Jumbo-Visma rider going slightly faster at the first time check. The Belgian, however, faded before completing the course 2sec slower than the Italian.

Van Aert extended his overall lead and will take a 53sec advantage over Mattia Cattaneo (Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl) into stage five, with team-mate Primoz Roglic a further 3sec down on general classification.

Britain’s Hayter moved up to fifth overall – on the same time as forth-placed Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) – while Ineos Grenadiers team-mate and compatriot Tao Geoghegan Hart climbed to seventh at 1min 45sec.

The Critérium du Dauphiné continues on Thursday with the 162.3km fifth stage from Thizy-les-Bourgs to Chaintré and concludes on Sunday.

Stage three: Gaudu benefits from Van Aert’s ‘rookie mistake’

Tuesday June 7 – Saint-Paulien to Chastreix-Sancy, 169km

David Gaudu and Wout van Aert – David Gaudu steals stage win from under the nose of Wout van Aert at Criterium du Dauphine - GETTY IMAGESDavid Gaudu and Wout van Aert – David Gaudu steals stage win from under the nose of Wout van Aert at Criterium du Dauphine - GETTY IMAGES

David Gaudu and Wout van Aert – David Gaudu steals stage win from under the nose of Wout van Aert at Criterium du Dauphine – GETTY IMAGES

David Gaudu timed his late attack to perfection as the Groupama-FDJ rider beat Wout van Aert at the line to win stage three at the Critérium du Dauphiné on Tuesday.

On what was the first uphill finish in the eight-day race that many are using as a final warm-up ahead of next month’s Tour de France, a strong group of riders came to the fore on the Montée de Chastreix-Sancy before Van Aert surged towards the line and almost certain victory. The Jumbo-Visma rider was denied, however, after a determined Gaudu beat a celebrating Van Aert to land a fifth WorldTour race of his career.

“You have to watch the replay,” Van Aert said. “I raised the arms a bit too early and I’m actually really ashamed to lose it like that, just a big disappointment to not finish off our work today, and being so close.

“I had it in my hands. I just had it… it’s even something when you see it with someone else you question how it’s possible – but now I understand the feeling.

“This is a rookie mistake. I can’t describe it in any other way”, Van Aert continued. “The team worked hard all day with one goal in mind. We desperately wanted to win a stage again. Therefore it is all the more painful that I let it slip out of my hands in such a way. Something like that has never happened to me before. I could kick myself. I was so close, but I gave it away.

“When I passed the Cofidis rider on my left, I thought I would push my wheel over the line first. On a finish like this, you lose pure speed very quickly. David passed me very quickly and I realised I had made a mistake.”

Explaining the finale, Gaudu said: “When they launched the sprint, I was a little boxed in and a bit far, and I thought it was over. But I felt I had some power, so I gave it all. Wout was still up there but I saw him losing a few places in the climb before. When I realised that I could come back to him, I thought about that. I told myself that he was maybe tired, that I could perhaps get him… I came back with drafting, and I told myself: ‘I’m gonna get him’. And that’s what I did!”

Despite missing out on a second stage win of the week, Van Aert regained the leader’s yellow jersey – he also leads the points classification – and now leads Gaudu by 6sec on general classification, while Victor Lafay (Cofidis) moved up to third at 12sec.

“Tomorrow I will do everything I can to defend my yellow jersey,” added Van Aert. “Hopefully I can also compete for the stage win again. I have some making up to do.”

Stage two: Vuillermoz leads after winning from breakaway

Monday June 6 – Saint-Péray to Brives-Charensac, 169.8km

Alexis Vuillermoz - Alexis Vuillermoz wins from breakaway to take leader's jersey off shoulders of Wout van Aert at Criterium du Dauphine - GETTY IMAGESAlexis Vuillermoz - Alexis Vuillermoz wins from breakaway to take leader's jersey off shoulders of Wout van Aert at Criterium du Dauphine - GETTY IMAGES

Alexis Vuillermoz – Alexis Vuillermoz wins from breakaway to take leader’s jersey off shoulders of Wout van Aert at Criterium du Dauphine – GETTY IMAGES

Alexis Vuillermoz held on to land his biggest win for almost seven years when the TotalEnergies rider won stage two at the Critérium du Dauphiné and take hold of the leader’s yellow jersey on Monday.

Vuillermoz, a stage winner at the Tour de France in 2015, may have been the last rider to join the day’s breakaway, but the 34-year-old had enough left in the tank at the end of the 169.8-kilometre stage from Saint-Péray to Brives-Charensac to overhaul Anders Skaarseth (Uno-X) and Olivier Le Gac (Groupama-FDJ).

For the second stage running Dutch sprinter Dylan Groenewegen (BikeExchange-Jayco) struggled on the climbs, though unlike the previous day the peloton was unable to rein the escapees back in ahead of what they had expected would be a bunch gallop finish.

After building a lead of almost five minutes, breakaway riders Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa-Samsic), Le Gac, Skaarseth, Kevin Vermaerke (DSM) and Vuillermoz worked well together, although Belgian neo-pro Xandres Vervloesem (Lotto-Soudal) lost contact. Despite the efforts of the peloton, the five-man breakaway went all the way to the finishing straight where, with around 300 metres to go, Le Gac surged off the the front before he was overhauled by Vuillermoz and Skaarseth. Overnight leader Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) led the peloton over the line 5sec later, the Belgian losing his leader’s yellow jersey to Vuillermoz in the process.

Stage one: Van Aert pounces to deny Hayter and take early lead

Sunday June 5 – La Voulte-sur-Rhône to Beauchastel, 191.8km

Wout van Aert - Wout van Aert pounces to deny Ethan Hayter and take early lead at Criterium du Dauphine - GETTY IMAGESWout van Aert - Wout van Aert pounces to deny Ethan Hayter and take early lead at Criterium du Dauphine - GETTY IMAGES

Wout van Aert – Wout van Aert pounces to deny Ethan Hayter and take early lead at Criterium du Dauphine – GETTY IMAGES

Wout van Aert proved once again why he is one of the favourites to win the green jersey at this year’s Tour de France when the Jumbo-Visma rider pounced at the last to deny Ethan Hayter a fifth win of 2022 in the opening stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

On what was a tough 191.8-kilometre stage from La Voulte-sur-Rhône to Beauchastel, a number of the pure sprinters were dropped on the final climb, unable to then regain contact before the anticipated sprint finish due largely to the pace being set by south London rider Hayter’s Ineos Grenadiers team-mates.

Having been guided towards the head of the field by Michal Kwiatkowski, Hayter was given a textbook lead-out with two-time world time trial champion Filippo Ganna pulling hard on the front. Unfortunately for Hayter, though, Belgian national champion Van Aert positioned himself perfectly at fourth wheel before opening up his sprint around 150 metres from the line. Van Aert, who is targeting the points jersey at next month’s Tour de France, was able to hold off Hayter, while Sean Quinn (EF Education-EasyPost) took third.

“A lot of teams were interested in dropping a few sprinters,” said Van Aert. “I could hang on and felt good for the sprint. It was really nice. On the climbs I felt quite comfortable, and a hard stage suits me when it’s like this but then in the sprint there were guys like Hayter, and you have to beat them. He’s doing great this season, so it was tough to pass him, but in the end it happened so I’m happy.

Van Aert later said he would try to defend the leader’s yellow jersey, or keep it in the team that includes Primoz Roglic. The latter is also using the Critérium du Dauphiné as a warm-up race to next month’s Tour de France. “Why not? We’re here with a strong team,” Van Aert said.

“I think that the coming stages suit me quite well so I’ll try and defend the lead if that’s possible. Then at the weekend I can hopefully hand it over to Primoz. But there are a lot of tough stages coming up first.”