Dylan Teuns misses the sprint, wins anyway
Bahrain-Merida’s Dylan Teuns reached the finishing straight as the favourite for the stage win against his second tier rival Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert).
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With nine wins to his name, including stages and the overall of the Arctic Race of Norway, Teuns will have been better equipped to handle the tense racing situation of a two-up sprint with a narrow margin over a chasing group.
But despite his experience, Teuns almost missed out on the win when Martin jumped on the barrier side as the Belgian looked over the wrong shoulder at that exact moment.
Martin looked like he had sprung the perfect attack as he sprinted on the rough and slightly rising road surface to the line.
Sadly for the Frenchman, Teuns’s strength compensated for his mistake as he was able to take back the lead at the line and claim stage victory.
GC action on day two
The Critérium du Dauphiné’s reputation for tantalising general classification racing was realised once again on only stage two, as the overall battle sparked into life on the final climb.
After seven categorised climbs earlier in the day, the deceptive Côte de Saint-Victor-sur-Arlanc (3.2km at 8.9 per cent) was the perfect launchpad for Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) to try his luck.
Fortunately for the Frenchman, there was a strong appetite for a GC battle and Chris Froome (Team Ineos) was amongst those who were willing to ride with the Frenchman.
The harsh weather conditions and rolling terrain in the final allowed an elite group including Froome, Pinot, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) to pull out time on Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Romain Bardet (A2r La Mondiale).
In the overall battle, Quintana is the best placed of the star favourites at 24 seconds down on the race leader, with Froome, Pinot and Yates all on the same time.
Porte, Bardet and Kruijswijk are 31 seconds further back.
Edvald Boasson Hagen slips out of yellow
In a nearing-disastrous opening six months of the 2019 season for Dimension Data, Edvald Boasson Hagen has proved himself the saving grace on more than one occasion.
The Norwegian proved his worth once again one stage one of the Dauphiné when he won the day and the race lead in the process.
Sadly, it wasn’t to be a continuation of the glory for Boasson Hagen, who found himself trailing the front of the race on the final climb and rapidly slipping out of the race lead.
He was forced to hand the jersey over to stage winner Dylan Teuns, and fell 1-50 down on the overall.
While Boasson Hagen’s Classics sprinting talents were never going to take him to the GC win, Dimension Data would have relished holding on to the race lead for as long as possible.
It’s likely the South African outfit will now continue to rely on Boasson Hagen for stage wins for the remainder of the race.
Stars try their luck in the breakaway
The start of stage two came with some surprises as some unexpected riders jumped clear and joined the day’s early breakaway, most notably Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
While this may have prematurely given rise to some excitement, it quickly became clear that Alaphilippe and Dumoulin were not involved with any designs on the stage or the overall.
Dutch superstar Dumoulin appeared to be testing his recovery from a knee injury suffered in the opening week of the Giro d’Italia, as he considers his chances of placing in the Tour de France next month.
After spending the day in the break, Dumoulin was swept up and eventually finished 8-50 down on the stage winner, leaving him well outside a chance at the general classification.
Alaphillipe’s lack of conviction in the break is perhaps more surprising, as the final proved one that could well have suited the versatile Frenchman and you’d imagine he stands a very strong claim to the overall.
Instead Alaphilippe set about collecting King of the Mountain points, before finished the stage 16 minutes down.
This does free him up to focus on stage wins later in the race, in preparation for his same mission in the Tour de France.
The weather is no better in France
When the British weather turns nasty, it can be even more deeply disheartening when watching the peloton pass through the glorious landscapes and picture-perfect weather our European neighbours enjoy.
Fortunately, as much of Britain was plastered in weather warnings due to torrential downpours, stage two of the Dauphiné saw similar conditions on the road from Mauriac to Craponne-sur-Arzon.
The final climb was an eerie, mist-dampened test for riders with heavy rain hampering their progress.
Combined with a relentless parcours, the weather made for an outstanding day of racing in France – a welcome contrast to the relatively lukewarm Giro d’Italia.