The breakaway survives on stage three of Critérium du Dauphiné

Tue 6 Jun 2017

Stage three Critérium du Dauphiné was animated by the day’s breakaway which successfully held off the peloton until the finish line in Tullins.

ORICA-SCOTT finished the 184kilometre third stage safely in the bunch, crossing the line just 11seconds behind the eventual breakaway winner Koen Bouwman (Lotto-Jumbo).

With plenty of tough mountainous stages to come, sport director Laurenzo Lapage was satisfied with the team’s performance with no real focus this year on the sprint stages and an important time trial tomorrow for the overall contenders.

“We are happy the guys finished safely in the bunch today with no problems,” Lapage said. “We have important stages coming up, especially for our general classification contenders so we haven’t been taking too many risks during these first few stages.”

“In the end, there wasn’t much organisation with the chase today and the breakaway survived to the line.

"Our focus now is on tomorrow’s individual time trial which will be an important day for all the GC riders.”

With the first three stages concluding with bunch sprint and successful breakaway’s, the race is still yet to unfold with challenging stages ahead. Two-time grand tour podium finisher Esteban Chaves believes tomorrow’s time trial will be the first real opportunity for him to test the legs, in what is his first race back with the team in four months.

"I'm still a little scared in the bunch but we have time to habituate to that," Chaves explained. "We knew it would be like this, but I'm happy, like always, and I'm trying to enjoy being back racing and with the team.” 

“Physically it's still hard to say. The first two stages were hard but not super hard and we have all arrived together. I think the first test will be the time trial tomorrow to see the real feelings in the legs."

How it happened:

Like the previous two stages, today began with a breakaway of riders establishing within the opening kilometres.

Six riders successfully crept away and opened up a two-minute lead within the first seven kilometres of the stage. Despite the high pace in the peloton, averaging 45km/h for the first two hours, the escapees managed to ride out to a maximum advantage of six-minutes.

As the race rolled over the final two categorised climbs and inside the final 50kilometres, the time gap to the leaders dropped to just over two minutes, but with no real organisation or commitment from the team’s, the group maintained their comfortable distance ahead.

The chase from the peloton increased but as the six-leaders passed the three kilometres to go banner they still held on to a 45second lead which proved to be enough to hold off the bunch all the way to the finish line.

Bouwman claimed the stage victory just 11seconds ahead of the bunch with Jens Keukeleire the highest place finisher for ORICA-SCOTT in 20th place.

Tomorrows individual time trial begins in Le Tour-de-Pin and covers a predominately flat 23.5kilometre route.

Critérium du Dauphiné stage 3 results:
1. Koen Bouwman (Lotto-Jumbo) 4:06:06
2. Evaldas Siskevicius (Delko-Marseille) ST
3. Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Group Gobert) ST
20. Jens Keukeleire (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:11

General classification after stage 3:
1. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) 12:37:04
2. Axel Domont (AG2R La Mondale) +0:48
3. Diego Ulissi (United Arab Emirates) +1:03
17. Esteban Chaves (ORICA-SCOTT) +1:09

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