Wout Poels (Ineos) left it late as he attacked within the last 150m to take the stage seven win of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2019.
Poels caught the leading pair of Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe) in the final 250m, before sprinting past them to victory.
Fuglsang finished one second behind, ahead of Buchmann in third, and takes the yellow jersey of Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) who now sits second on GC, eight seconds back.
The day was defined by the terrible conditions on the road brought about by a storm, with race organisers having to pump standing water from the finish line with less than 15km remaining so that the riders would be able to complete the 133.5km route.
How it happened
The first of two big days in the mountains to decide the overall classification of the 2019 Dauphiné, the 133.5km long course featured three first category climbs before the HC summit finish climb of the Montée de Pipay.
A large breakaway containing 20 riders went clear after 20km of racing, including Gianni Moscon (Ineos), Julian Alaphilippe and Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck – Quick-Step), Magnus Cort (Astana) and Michael Woods(EF Education First).
Alaphilippe was the first to the summit of both the col de l’Epine and the Col du Granier, adding to his lead in the king of the mountains classification.
However, by the time the breakaway got to the third category one climb of the day, Alexey Lutsenko attacked towards the summit with 35km left to race, with only Michael Woods (EF Education First) immediately following who then got a puncture and was dropped on the descent.
On the final climb of the day, the HC Montée de Pipay that provided the stage’s summit finish, Lutsenko was re-joined by a number of riders including Woods, Moscon, with more riders making their way back on.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) attacked the group of favourites with just over 10km remaining up to Popay, with Michał Kwiatkowski (Ineos) straight on his wheel, as they broke away from the GC group and made their way towards the leaders.
Astana made their move with 9km left, three men going off the front of the group with Jakob Fuglsang, aiming to fulfil the Dane’s GC ambitions, the result of which was to bring back in Quintana and Kwiatkowski.
Lutsenko was the virtual leader on the road, after taking out enough of a gap over current yellow jersey holder Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott). However, the race started coming back together and with 7km left the leading duo were in the sight of the GC group, with Kwiatkowski the first to cross the gap after Quintana had fallen away after his effort to get clear.
Kwiatkowski attacks Lutsenko and Woods with under 5km left, going again 500m later. The front of the race all came back together with 2.5km remaining, before Emanuel Buchmann attacked, blowing apart the GC group.
Fuglsang then got onto Buchmann’s wheel, with Yates taking up the chase at the front of the group, with 1.5km remaining.
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Dan Martin (UAE-Team Emirates) led the GC group back onto Yates wheel as riders dropped ferociously, before Martin attacked himself, looking to bridge the gap as Buchmann looked to be struggling on Fuglsang’s wheel up ahead.
Wout Poels then went with less than 1km to go, making his way up to Fuglsang and Buchmann, catching them with 250m left with standing water on the road as they approached the finish.
With 150m left, Poels attacked, leaving behind the Fuglsang and Buchmann to take the stage win. Fuglsang finished one second behind, and took the yellow jersey heading into tomorrow’s final stage eight as Adam Yates sits in second on GC, eight seconds behind.
Critérium du Dauphiné 2019, stage seven: Saint-Genix-les-Villages to Pipay (133.5km)
1. Wout Poels (Ned) Ineos, in 4-01-34
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, at one second
3. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe, at same time
4. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 10s
5. Dan Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates
6. Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, both at same time
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale, at 13s
8. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) EF Education First, at 16s
9. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida, at 30s
10. Bjorg Lambrecht (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 34s
General classification after stage seven
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, in 27-36-40
2. Adam Yates (GBr) Mitchelton-Scott, at eight seconds
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) EF Education First at 20s
4. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 21s
5. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Ineos, at 28s
6. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida at 32s
7. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 33s
8. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team at 1-12
9. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma at 1-20
10. Dan Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates, at 1-21