Q&A With DS Matt Wilson on Dauphiné Stage 6

Fri 7 Jun 2013

Wesley Sulzberger was part of a 54 rider group that finished 46” behind a break of four riders on the sixth stage of  Critérium du Dauphiné. Fourth in the field sprint, Sulzberger was eighth on the stage. It is the second top ten finish for Sulzberger over six days of French racing.

Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) took top honours in Grenoble. The Frenchman outsprinted José Herrada (Movistar) and Kevin Seeldraeyers (Astana) to win his home country. Voeckler was part of an eight-man group that formed over the category one Col du Barioz at the mid-point of the stage.

Although the group never succeeded in opening a large lead, they managed to hold off the peloton. The breakaway splintered inside the final 30 kilometres. Voeckler and company collaborated to maintain their advantage over the Omega Pharma-QuickStep and BMC led field.

The rolling terrain inside the last hour of racing proved more challenging than expected for many of the sprinters in the bunch. Michael Matthews was one of the many fast finishers that found himself distanced from the field during the final 30 kilometres.

Below, Sport Director Matt Wilson answers select questions posed by fans on Facebook and Twitter.

Q: Did anyone expect the break to succeed today?

It was a very, very fast stage. It was much faster than expected. I think we averaged over 50 kilometres/hour during the first hour of racing. There were constant attacks even once the break had been established, so it made things quite hard for the whole day.

A really strong group of riders went away through the hills today, and it came down to four in the final: Voeckler , Herrada , Seeldraeyers and Egor Silin (Astana). At the start of the last hour, the four riders had 1’20 on the bunch, and at the finish, they still had nearly a minute advantage. The peloton couldn’t make any headway on them. I wouldn’t say that was expected.

Q: Was Wesley Sulzberger Plan B?

Wes has been solid all week. We planned to fully support Michael Matthews, but Wes made the most of an opportunity he saw today. Michael was dropped on one of the small climbs at the end, and eventually only Wes and Gerro [Simon Gerrans] were left in the main chase group. Gerro did a bit of a lead out to see if he could help Wes get up in the top five. 

Q: You talked up today as a big chance for Michael Matthews. Is the team disappointed in the way the race unfolded?

Of course we’re a little disappointed, but at the end of the day, the stage was harder than expected, and they did everything they could in the hopes of another outcome. We’re not disappointed in the efforts. We’re disappointed that the day didn’t go as planned.