In the aftermath of the time trial, the Critérium du Dauphiné resumed its way towards the mountains on Thursday. Before reaching them tomorrow, however, a hilly fifth stage was on the menu and it delivered quite a lively race. Still, a reduced bunch eventually competed for the win and Geraint Thomas took it with a decisive move in the final kilometre. David Gaudu finished inside the first group and remains 19th overall. 

“It was a hard day”, Olivier Le Gac

With the breakaways being so successful lately, some riders really wanted to hit the front on stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné this Thursday. From the start in Saint-Chamond, the Tour of Flanders’ reigning champion Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step), also third overall, joined the attacksas well as Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal). The two men got the company of Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) and Tsgabu Grmay (BikeExchange), while Cyril Gautier (B&B Hotels) joined them a bit later. However, the bunch led by the yellow jersey’s teammates consistently remained less than two minutes away from the escapees. After about sixty kilometers, it actually enabled Jasper Stuyven, Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo) and Josef Cerny (Deceuninck-Quick Step) to bridge across. However, the peloton did not ease off, and the tension got noticed even more with a heavy crash halfway through the race. “It was a fast and intense stage”summed up Thierry Bricaud. There was always a high paceWe also had to be careful because it was windy. There wasn’t enough wind to create any real echelon, but that was enough to put some tension in the pelotonMore than anything, it was very hot today! It was a real furnace according to all the riders“.

“We were hot today,” confirmed Olivier Le Gac. “Everyone felt it was stifling, although the temperature wasn’t much higher than the previous days. The course was very tough as well and the intensity in the bunch made for a hard day on the saddle. With the strong breakaway, there was always a strong pace behind. We really tried not to get caught up and to position David all day, especially as we approached the final. In the lead, Josef Cerny and Ryan Mullen tried to stay away, but their attempt was caught with about 50 kilometers to go. Other attacks started, but only one man managed to go up the road: Sven-Erik Bystrom (UAE Team Emirates). The Norwegian took a minute gap, but Sonny Colbrelli’s teammates again took the chase in hand. Also, the fight for position approaching the côte de Montrebut (1.4 km at 11%) definitely ended the chances of Bystrom. “It was very nervous,” said Valentin Madouas. “We knew that positioningwas very important at the bottom of the climb, even though the climb in itself was not eventually done full gas. All the teams had the same goal, so it was tense for sure and there were a lot of crashes. Valentin Madouas himself was blocked by one of them, unlike David Gaudu, who was perfectly protected by his teammates and ideally placed with thirteen kilometers to go. 

“David will be able to have some fun”, Valentin Madouas

No favourites took their chances in the climb, but Lawson Craddock did launch an attack before being caught by a 40-rider bunch with three kilometres to go. Geraint Thomas then accelerated before the final turn following the flamme rouge, and eventually took the better of Sonny Colbrelli. David Gaudu finished safely in the peloton, like all the favourites, thus retaining his 19th place overall. “The guys stayed focused around David and we have no incidents to report,” Thierry said. We avoided the crashes, but it’s also because they had quite a good position and were very careful. It was a good day. On Friday, the finish to Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse will be kind of an appetizer before the weekend. Four climbs are listed in the last fifty kilometres, including the Col de Porte (7.7 km at 6.5%) and the short uphill finish (3km at 6%). Ourgoal is to move up in the standings and get closer to the top 5 this weekend,” concluded Valentin. David is fully capable of it. Everything is still possible. We can tell he’s got good legs and he will be able to have some fun.

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