Georg Zimmermann exorcises demons as he takes win on Critérium du Dauphiné stage six

Jonas Vingegaard thwarted as he tries to steal some seconds on his GC rivals

Georg Zimmermann goes on the attack at the Critérium du Dauphiné
(Image credit: Dario Belingheri / Getty)

German Georg Zimmermann took his second ever pro win on stage six of the Critérium du Dauphiné, winning from the break and slayed a few demons from his U23 racing days in the process.

Zimmermann had been part of a 14-strong move that went up the road earlier in the day but on the last two climbs the group was whittled down until the German and breakaway companions Mathieu Burgaudeau (Total Energies) and Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers) were the only ones left.

On the short final climb to the line Zimmermann was the first to attack,. Briefly it appeared his hopes may have been dashed when Burgaudeau made it back to his wheel within the final kilometre and then attacked him but Zimmermann outsprinted him in the end.

He said it laid some ghosts to rest for him. “I know the parcours very well because in 2018 there was a Tour de l’Avenir finish up here and I was in a similar situation but the GC favourites sprinted around me with 200m to go,” he said. 

“Today it was the other way around. I could attack on the climb and go full gas and in the end I won the sprint. I’m completely speechless.”

Asked if he had feared his chance had gone when Burgaudeau caught him he said: “I’m an optimistic person. I never fear to lose I always hope to win. 

“A second place is a nice result, I don’t fear to get that.” 

Zimmermann had been on the attack yesterday and when asked if he felt the pressure was off him for the weekend’s brutal mountain stages he said: “Tomorrow and the day after look super tough and I went full gas two days in a row so we’ll see what is still possible here but even if that's it I have won a stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné.”

“Now I'm really motivated for what is coming up,” he added in a nod to his likely includsion in the Intermarche-Circus-Wanty Tour de France squad.

Behind Zimmermann, yellow jersey holder Jonas Vingegaard tried to steal a few seconds on the final climb to the line but was chased down and finished alongside most of his GC rivals as Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) won the sprint for fourth.

How it happened

An eighteen strong break was eventually whittled down to fourteen containing Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers), Mattero Trentin (UAE Emirates) and Andre Amador (EF Education-EasyPost) among others.

The gap rose to over three minutes before falling steadily in the subsequent kilometres. Splits appeared with 31km to go as some riders began to get tire of the lack of work of others.

With 28km to ride Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny) made a move off the front of thep peloton as the gap to the break stood at 1.45.

The Cote des Aravis, the second category penultimate climb of the day, saw the group whittled down further over it’s 7.7km, 5.9% length. As the climb wound on one by one riders fell out of the break and Campenearts was caught by the peloton.

With 5km to go to the top of the penultimate climb the front group had dwindled to 8 riders. Come to top the gap from the front to the peloton was just under a minute and a half, but by now Castroviejo had gone off the front of the break with Mathieu Burgaudeau (Total Energies) and Georg Zimmermann (Intermarche-Circus-Wanty).

On the descent they held that gap it appeared likely they would contest the stage as they came under the 10km to banner and approached the finishing climb to Crest-Voland, which featured sections with gradients of 15%.

When the peloton hit the slopes for the first time Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo) came to the front to up the pace before swiftly being overtaken by Tiesj Benoot (Jumbo-Visma) intent on defending Jonas Vingegaard’s yellow jersey. UAE Emirates, perhaps looking to set up their GC rider Adam Yates, took over pace setting duties soon after and led the peloton through the 5km to go mark.

After a short descent, the front three rode into the final 2km kick to the line together. Soon after hitting the slopes Zimmermann attacked and got a gap of a few bike lengths. Castroviejo and Burgaudeau tried to reel him in but the gap continued to steadily increase.

Inside the final kilometre Burgaudeau left the Spaniard behind. Having caught Zimmermann with a few hundred metres to go he appeared to have the German beat when he launched the sprint but Zimmermann came back at him and rounded him to take the win.

Further back down the mountain Vingegaard attacked his GC rivals and initially built a small gap over everyone except Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën) but as it flattened out he was absorbed back into the GC group. 

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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, World Championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the Middle East. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.