Just like Sunday, the GC contenders did not show themselves on stage 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné towards Chaise-Dieu on Monday. On a hilly course, they however needed to finish safely, as the day before. On the line, Julian Alaphilippe won the sprint, while David Gaudu arrived in the peloton with three of his teammates. The Frenchman is now in nineteenth place overall as a more or less similar scenario is expected tomorrow at Le Coteau.

For the second day in a row, a proper battle took shape quite early, on the Critérium du Dauphiné. Almost surprised by Rune Herregodts on Sunday, the peloton was indeed forced to set a good tempo right from the first kilometres of stage 2, after it let a strong seven-man breakaway go at the start. Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Dstny), Nans Peters (AG2R Citroën), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies), Jonas Gregaard (Uno-X Pro Cycling), Andrea Piccolo (EF Education-EasyPost) and Donavan Grondin (Arkéa-Samsic) opened the breach after some fast twenty kilometres, but Jumbo-Visma and Soudal-Quick Step quickly took command. They maintained the gap under two minutes, aware of the risk of letting these riders gain ground. Therefore, as they passed the finish line for the first time with 70k to go, the leading men were already brought back to just one minute. The riders then started two laps of a demanding circuit, with the Côte des Guêtes (1 km at 7.5%) as the major obstacle. “It was another grippy day, with a strong tempo all day”, testified Reuben Thompson. “My job today was to keep position before we reached the circuit and to help in any other way I could. Since I felt really good, I was able to help keep position a lot further into the final.

“It’s an honor to ride for David”, Reuben Thompson

In the front, the breakaway gradually broke apart, and on the last lap, Victor Campenaerts and Kenny Elissonde pushed their attempt up until to the côte des Guêtes. The duo was caught about ten kilometres from the finish, then it was Tobias Bayer who tried to surprise the bunch. Although the latter was a bit reduced due to the high tempo, it was still big enough to lead the chase for a final sprint. Several teams therefore got to work while David Gaudu, surrounded by his teammates, kept his position in the upper part of the pack. Due to the slightly uphill finish, the punchers got the better of the sprinters and Julian Alaphilippe won the stage. David Gaudu finished in the same time, in 29th position. “The stage was done at a very solid pace,” explained Philippe Mauduit later. “Jumbo-Visma maintained the breakaway not far away because Elissonde was in a good position overall. Our guys were gathered around David, and they carried out the mission they had”. On Monday evening, the rider from Groupama-FDJ entered the top-20 overall, in nineteenth position, ten seconds behind the yellow jersey still worn by Christophe Laporte. Reuben Thompson finished two minutes behind his leader but satisfied with a job well done. “It’s an honor to ride for David,” he confided. “It’s also great to have Lada and others to guide me. I was a little bit unsure of my shape after taking a big break after Romandie, but I’m feeling quite good, and I think I’ll be able to improve my level a lot after a hard 8 days of racing here”.

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