Movistar's Jesus Herrada takes his first win of the year on stage two of the Critérium du Dauphiné, narrowly beating a trio of late attackers
The Spaniard and the rest of the peloton left it late to catch Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Fabrice Jeandeboz (Direct Energie) and Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data), overtaking them with around 50 metres to go.
Herrada’s teammate Dani Moreno had launched an attack a few metres earlier, but it was Herrada who saved enough energy for the final sprint to take his first win of the season.
The day’s five-man break splintered in the final 25km, and Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r La Mondiale) sped away from the only other survivor, Bartosz Huzarski (Bora-Argon 18), with 17km to go.
Seconds before, Michal Kwiatkowski jumped away from the peloton and bore down on the retreating breakaway riders, passing Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data).
The Pole was joined soon after by Jeandeboz and Pauwels and eventually dropped back to the peloton himself.
Jeandeboz and Pauwels were joined by Huzarski as they caught Gougeard, who couldn’t hold the wheel of the group as he was swept up, and Gallopin also joined them 30 seconds ahead of the peloton.
As the four riders climbed the 6km climb to Chalmazal – where the finish line was located – Tinkoff hit the front of the peloton in order to avoid race leader Alberto Contador losing time.
At opposing ends of the peloton, Mikel Landa attacked for Team Sky as his teammate Wout Poels surprisingly dropped off the back. As Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) attacked when the group was back together, it was Sergio Henao‘s turn to follow up the road for Sky and the pair opened up a slender lead, but it wouldn’t last for long.
The late break must have thought they’d done enough as the best climbers in the peloton sprinted the final kilometre to try and catch them.
Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) was one of the big name riders to throw his name into the mix, but the Spaniard faded towards the end, allowing Moreno and Herrada to catch and pass the three riders ahead.
Pauwels, Jeandeboz and Gallopin tried to hang on to the pair of Movistar riders but ultimately couldn’t pull back Herrada, who took the win by two seconds.
Wednesday’s stage three sees the riders take on the longest stage of the race with a rolling stage to Tournon-sur-Rhône. With a category two climb coming 20km from the finish it could be one for the puncheurs and another day for the general classification contenders to target high finishes.
Critérium du Dauphiné 2016 stage two, Crêches-sur-Saône to Chalmazel (168km)
1. Jesus Herrada (Esp) Movistar, in 4-13-43
2. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Soudal
3. Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data
4. Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Direct Energie
5. Daniel Moreno (Esp) Movistar
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
7. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC
8. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
9. Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10. Joaquim Rodriguez (Esp) Katusha, all at 2 secs
Critérium du Dauphiné 2016, overall standings after stage two
1. Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff, in 8-53-18
2. Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing, at 6s
3. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 9s
4. Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx-Quick Step, at 17s
5. Jesus Herrada (Esp) Movistar, at 23s
6. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx-Quick Step, at 24s
7. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge, at 31s
8. Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana, at 37s
9. David Navarro (Esp) Cofidis, at 43s
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 44s