Tour de Hongrie winner Damien Howson finished in a reduced chasing group on stage two of the Criterium du Dauphinetoday, as a solo breakaway rider stayed away for the second day in-a-row.
Five riders jumped away in the early kilometres, with the peloton allowing the escapees a maximum advantage of four minutes. The time gap eventually started to fall with around 50km to go, but with no concerted chase in the bunch, the gap remained at three minutes with 30km left to race.
Out front, Lukas Pöstlberger went solo from the breakaway while the peloton was thinning out over the remaining climbs behind. As the kilometres ticked down it was clear that the bunch had miscalculated the catch once again, with Pöstlberger holding on to win by 11 seconds while Howson rolled home in a reduced chase group alongside teammate Tsgabu Grmay.
“It is pretty unusual racing, having the breakaway stay away on the first two days and especially as it was only one survivor but congrats to them.
On the final climb, there was a bit of wind coming from the left and I think for Bahrain, it was a last attempt for them to try there to bring the breakaway back so with the wind and the pace, I think that is why it all split there.
I feel pretty good, I felt pretty comfortable in the select group at the finish, it was still a relatively sizeable group, but I think that was to be expected with a few of the sprinters that can climb where thinking they were in for a chance for a result today.
It was a hard day but the boys helped me all day so I could remain calm, and we look to tomorrow now.”
2021 Criterium du Dauphine stage 2 results:
1. Lukas Pöstlberger 4:25:20
2. Sonny Colbrelli +0:11
3. Alejandro Valverde ST
25. Damien Howson (Team BikeExchange) ST
2021 Criterium du Dauphine GC:
1. Lukas Pöstlberger 8:38:32
2. Sonny Colbrelli +0:12
3. Alejandro Valverde +0:20
26. Damien Howson (Team BikeExchange) +0:24
Photo courtesy of Getty Sport