ORICA-GreenEDGE misses out on bunch sprint in fourth stage Critérium du Dauphiné

Wed 10 Jun 2015

The fourth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné ended in a bunch sprint, won by Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), who proved to be the fastest after 228 kilometres.

Though ORICA-GreenEDGE positioned themselves well during the final five kilometres, the Australian outfit missed out on the sprint. Christian Meier was the fastest team member to pass the finish line in 35th position.

Two riders escaped three kilometres into the today’s race and were able to create a gap of seven and a half minutes. The peloton did not start chasing until the final 35 kilometres, after which the gap started decreasing rapidly with MTN-Qhubecka and Cofidis controlling in the front.

Though various attacks were placed on the final climb, none of them was able to take off and the teams prepared for another bunch sprint. Today’s stage was the last chance for the sprinters. Tomorrow the riders will face five climbs, the penultimate a first category one.

Sports director Laurenzo Lapage: “Everyone waited for as long as possible today, because we all knew that it would be important to be in the front during the finale. We were all aware that it would come down to the final climb, and that was exactly when everyone started attacking and when the racing got aggressive."

“Besides, it’s so much easier when there’s a small breakaway group of two. They’re a lot easier to catch, so there wasn’t a lot of pressure to chase.

“We knew we were going to try with Simon Gerrans today, but, on the other hand, we didn’t want to take any risks this close to the Tour de France. The weather conditions weren’t optimal either. There wasn’t a lot of wind, so we couldn’t use that to our advantage.

“In the final kilometre, Jens Keukeleire set Simon off for the sprint in a really good position, but he was pushed away from Bouhanni’s wheel and was outsprinted. We really don’t want to take any risks or suffer crashes this close to the Tour. So, keeping that in mind, the guys did what they had to do today.

“Tomorrow’s stage is one where it’s possible for an escape to hold until the finish and we’ll definitely try to get in the breakaway with Ivan Santaromita or Simon Yates.”