Richie Porte seals Critérium du Dauphiné title as Mark Padun wins second stage in a row

The Ukrainian won stage eight from the breakaway as Geraint Thomas crashed in the final kilometres but got back on to help Richie Porte defend his yellow jersey

Richie Porte
(Image credit: Getty)

Richie Porte sealed the overall victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné as Mark Padun won his second stage in two days.

The Ukrainian went up the road in a large breakaway, collecting enough KOM points to overhaul Lawson Craddock's lead in that classification, before outlasting his collaborators to take his second, consecutive stage victory.

Richie Porte survived skirmishes in the closing kilometres to secure the overall victory, his team-mate Geraint Thomas crashing on the descent of the final climb but getting back on terms to help the Tasmanian make it safely to the finish, keeping the yellow jersey on his back.

Padun finished more than a minute ahead of former breakaway collaborators Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) and Patrick Konrad (Bora-Hansgrohe) before Ben O'Connor (Ag2r Citroën) was the first of the GC group across the line, having attacked late on and stolen a handful of seconds from his rivals.

The GC podium remained unchanged, with former race leader Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) taking second, 17 seconds in arrears, and Geraint Thomas in third.

How it happened

Another early start for the Dauphiné peloton, Bora-Hansgrohe’s Michael Schwarzmann taking a very early KOM point before a large breakaway group went off up the road.

Around 20 riders had made the jump, yesterday’s stage winner Mark Padun (Bahrain-Victorious), Arkéa’s Warren Barguil, Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingegaard and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) all present.

Onto the second climb of the day, the category two, 10.2km-long at a five per cent average gradient Côte d'Héry-sur-Ugine, the gap soon out to five minutes, EF’s Michael Valgren involved in a chase group a couple of minutes behind the front of the race.

Padun led over the summit, closing to within 13 points of KOM leader Lawson Craddock (EF Education-Nippo), as behind Fabio Jakobsen abandoned the race.

Onto the second category Aravis, Valgren’s chase group eventually made the catch as it ticked under 100km to go. Padun took five more points at the top, the gap at four minutes as the leaders started the long descent down to the bottom of the Colombière.

As the breakaway started the climb, the gap was down to three minutes as Movistar led at the front of the peloton before Ineos took over up the Colombière. At the top, Padun assumed the lead of the KOM classification.

Under 50km to go, in the valley before the HC Col de Joux Plane, race leader Richie Porte needed a bike change, Ineos getting back on the front of the peloton once their rider was safely back in.

In the break, Politt pushed for his Bora-Hansgrohe team-mate Patrick Konrad, who found himself in the virtual lead given their advantage over the peloton. Politt fell away as they started the climb, when Mark Padun attacked once more, Konrad and Guillaume Martin next on the road and the rest of the breakaway blown to smithereens.

Then the peloton were on the climb, Craddock, Fabio Aru and Chris Froome dropping, after Nairo Quintana and Ben Hermans had moved off the front. Padun soon had 45 seconds on the remnants of the break, some of whom had already slipped back to the bunch, as Steven Kruijswijk moved across to Quintana and Hermans.

The Dutchman didn’t wait long, moving past the two attackers, neither Ineos nor Movistar reacting for the time being, Quintana distanced now.

Padun’s advantage over the chasers was now over a minute under 20km to go, Kruijswijk caught behind, as Tao Geoghegan Hart took over on the front of the GC group, Alejandro Valverde soon dropped before Miguel Ángel López attacked, which didn’t last long.

Padun confirmed his KOM jersey over the summit, and with well over a minute’s advantage back to Konrad and Vingegaard, a second stage win in as many days was also looking guaranteed.

Just before the summit Jack Haig attacked the GC group, only 30 seconds down on Porte and looking to improve his fifth place in the overall.

Padun’s advantage was out to 1-40 with 10km remaining, the peloton just over a minute further behind the two chasers.

On the descent around a bend, Thomas’ bike slid out from under him, no-one else taken down in the incident, the Welshman soon back upright and chasing back on.

The GC group fractured,but soon came back together, although Thomas still had to chase back on, as Ion Izagirre launched an attack. O’Connor also went, Lutsenko going on his wheel and Porte forced to follow.

Lutsenko pushed again, looking behind as Porte comfortably rode up to his wheel, Kelderman then making a little move. A lot of looking around in the GC group  followed within the final 3km, Thomas back on terms and going to the front for Porte, before O’Connor went once more and gained a small gap he'd keep to the line.

Under the flamme rouge and Padun had done it again, blowing a kiss to the TV camera, waving to the fans as he covered the final few hundred metres, beaming as he crossed the line first for the second day in a row. The GC group came across the line a couple of minutes later to confirm Porte’s overall victory.

Results - Critérium du Dauphiné 2021, stage eight: La Léchère-Les-Bains to Les Gets (147km)

1. Mark Padun (Ukr) Bahrain-Victorious, in 4-06-49
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-36
3. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at same time
4. Ben O'Connor (Aus) Ag2r Citroën, at 1-57
5. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 2-10
6. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at same time
7. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech
8. Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers
9. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain-Victorious
10. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis, all at same time

Final general classification

1. Richie Porte (Aus) Ineos Grenadiers, in 29-37-05
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech, at 17 seconds
3. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 29s
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 33s
5. Jack Haig (Aus) Bahrain-Victorious, at 34s
6. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Movistar, at 38s
7. Ion Izagirre (Esp) Astana-Premier Tech, at same time
8. Ben O'Connor (Aus) Ag2r Citroën, at 47s
9. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, at 1-12
10. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-57

Jonny Long

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