DauphinÃ© Stage Six: Jens Keukeleire Rides the Break, Adam Yates Finishes in BunchFri 13 Jun 2014
The winner of the sixth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné emerged from the early escape group from the third consecutive day of the French tour. Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma – Quick-Step) outkicked Lieuwe Westra (Astana) to the finish line in Posiy to snare his first victory of the season. The duo broke away from a large breakaway with Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Belisol), dropping the Dutchman before the finish.
Jens Keukeleire represented ORICA-GreenEDGE in the 16 rider breakaway. The move took nearly an hour to establish with several early attempts shut down by the peloton. The group gained a maximum advantage of four minutes as Team Sky rode on the front to kept the break’s gap at a manageable distance
Keukeleire had anticipated several attacks to come from the breakaway in the finale and thought best of bidding his time before covering moves. He was surprised that the first attack from Ligthart on the penultimate climb proved decisive. Westra and Bakelants were able to bridge across to Ligthart. Keuekeleire settled into the first chase group, which overtook Ligthart, the man that sparked the race winning move, the run-in to the finish and sprinted for third place. Keukeleire managed third from his group for fifth place on the stage.
Adam Yates started and finished the stage in ninth place overall, 1’24 behind Froome. He enjoyed strong support from his teammates who kept him well-placed at the front of the peloton in the technical finale. When Froome crashed inside the final ten kilometres, the group slowed while the yellow jersey changed bikes and chased back onto the bunch.
COMMENTS FROM SPORT DIRECTOR MATT WILSON
Our plan today was for Impey. We had wanted to keep things together for him in the sprint. With that said, we also were very well aware that it would be hard to do that. There weren’t many other teams that would want to chase, and many would be happy with a breakaway. We realised that we lacked allies in bringing back moves, so it was a gamble to put our eggs into Impey’s basket.
Knowing that, we also had a plan in place to cover the early moves. Jens Keukeleire was one of the guys with that responsibility today. In doing his job, he found himself in the day’s break. Because the move was so big and most of the teams were represented, we were pretty certain the break would stay away – which meant we decided not to chase. It would have been a big ask for one team to bring back a break like that.
Jens treated the stage like a one day race. He was racing his breakmates to the line and giving it all today. He rode well to put himself in the right move – and then he waited to jump on the attacks that came at the end. When Ligthart attacked, Jens sat back, thinking it was just the start of the attacking. In the end, it was the winning move. I know Jens was disappointed he didn’t go with it.
When the team was shown on the front at the finish, that was all about Adam. We knew the final five kilometres today would be very, very dangerous. We talked about keeping Adam right at the front in the finish, and that’s exactly what the team did.
We had a couple fans asking about the etiquette around waiting for Chris Froome when he crashed. As the break was up the road with a large gap, the stage win was done at that point. There was no chance that the winner would come from the main field. This meant that the only riders “racing” in the main field were the overall contenders. As soon as Froomey crashed, everyone sat up to wait for him. It would have been very bad form to make an attack with the goal of moving up the general classification given the reason why Froome was not with the group. Had the peloton been racing for the stage win, it might have been different.
We’re looking at Adam’s first ever test in the high mountains tomorrow – with us anyway – and I know we’re all very excited to see how he goes. Adam’s obviously gone very well so far, and the team is all in for him this weekend.