Milram’s Niki Terpstra took advantage of a lackadaisical peloton in the Dauphine today, winning the stage and taking the yellow jersey ahead of tomorrow’s time trial.
Terpstra was part of the day’s escape group that stayed clear of the bunch as no one team wanted to take on the chase.
Française des jeux started to take an interest on the final climb of the Chåteau-Gaillard, but with the gap already looking unasailable they soon lost interest. Lampre obviously felt obliged to do something with their man in the green jersey, but at the bottom of the descent the gap was still two minutes and everyone’s thoughts turned to tomorrow’s 42km time trial.
There was similar indecision up front as the group stuck together on the run in to St Etienne. As the kilometres ticked down the win became a formality for the group. The five riders had worked toghether faultlessly, and now the only interest left was who would start the attacking – but no one did.
The group stayed together until well inside the final kilometre. Standing to gain the most, Terpstra was left on the front keeping the pace respectable so as not to give away too much time.
With 400 metres to go Inigo Landaluze finaly broke the pre-sprint go-slow and launched his bid for glory with all the power of an Euskaltel mountain goat. Terpstra simply jumped after him and had soon gone back in to the lead as no one else could match his power.
The fact that he won the sprint was proof that one of his four companions really should have tried something sooner.