Valentin Ferron triumphs from breakaway on stage six of the Critérium du Dauphiné

TotalEnergies take their second win of the race as day's escape lasts until the end of the day

Valentin Ferron
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Valentin Ferron clinched victory from the breakaway on stage six of the Critérium du Dauphiné as the day's escape lasted the distance yet again.

The TotalEnergies rider was a member of the final six-man group, which still had over half a minute over the peloton in the last kilometres. He attacked with about 800 metres to go and held off his pursuers to take his team's second victory of this race.

Behind, Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM) and Warren Barguil (Arkéa Samsic) left their attacks far too late, as they finished second and third behind the Frenchman, respectively.

The sprint teams tried valiantly, but for the second time in this race, the breakaway stayed out in front, and a TotalEnergies rider won.

Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) remains in charge of the general classification, as he came over the line with the main peloton just over 30 seconds behind the day's winner.

How it happened

Friday was probably the last opportunity for a breakaway to succeed at this Critérium du Dauphiné, ahead of two final days in the Alps which will surely be targeted by the general classification riders.

As a result, there was a fierce fight to get into the day’s big escape. The riding was so fast early on that there was a split in the peloton on the flat, with Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) briefly in the wrong part. It all came together soon, however.

Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo), Andrea Bagioli (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Lukasz Owsian (Arkéa-Samsic) finally established a gap about 30km into the stage, but this trio were caught just 8km later.

Alexis Vuillermoz (TotalEnergies) attacked over the top of the first climb, the Côte de Sainte-Eulalie-en-Royans, to claim the first KOM point. He stayed in front of the peloton, and was joined by Kevin Geniets (Groupama-FDJ), Mikkel Honoré (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Samuele Battistella (Astana Qazaqstan) with about 152km to go. They were caught by the peloton, as again the group failed to establish themselves.

The next to attack was Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-KTM), who went over the top of the Côte des Grands Goulets to extend his lead in the mountains classification. Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) followed him, and then they were joined by Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Andrea Bagioli (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl), Victor Lafay (Cofidis), and Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergies) shortly after.

With 140km to go, this was the day’s break established, and they built up a lead of four minutes over the chasing bunch.

Behind, Trek-Segafredo, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert and Team BikeExchange-Jayco led the charge as they looked to secure a bunch finish at the end of the day in Gap, however, the gap to the break was stubborn and refused to come down quickly.

The six up the road worked hard together, and still had 2-30 over the peloton into the final 15km, which meant it looked like game over for the sprinters, possibly for the whole race.

Bouchard was the only rider to attempt something in the run in, surging off the front with about 5km to go, but this move was quickly mopped up.

It took Ferron to move off the front inside the final kilometre, attacking with about 800 metres to go. The others left it too long to try and catch the Frenchman up the road, with Rolland and then Barguil following in behind. It looked like the group was waiting for Bagioli to sprint, and this allowed Ferron to claim the biggest win of his career.

Ahead of two days in the mountains, this Dauphiné is finely poised. Friday's only change in the top ten of the general classification was Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) dropping out of the race, allowing Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) and everyone below him to move up one place.

Results

CRITÉRIUM DU DAUPHINÉ, STAGE six: Rives to Gap (196.5km)

1. Valentin Ferron (Fra) TotalEnergies, in 4-22-17
2. Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-KTM, at 3s
3. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa-Samsic
4. Andrea Bagioli (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl
5. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) AG2R Citroën
6. Victory Lafay (Fra) Cofidis, all at same time
7. Juan Sebastián Molano (Col) UAE Team Emirates, at 32s
8. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) TotalEnergies
9. Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) Team BikeExchange-Jayco
10. Matis Louvel (Fra) Arkéa-Samsic, all at same time

General classification after stage six

1. Wout van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma, in 21-27-20
2. Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, at 1-03
3. Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-06
4. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-32
5. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma, at 1-36
6. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-Victorious, at 1-49
7. Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 1-55
8. Matteo Jorgenson (USA) Movistar, at 2-00
9. Ben O'Connor (Aus) AG2R Citroën, at 2-10
10. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 2-12

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