photo credits @ WTFK
Mikkel Bjerg (UAE Team Emirates) won today’s individual time trial in the Critérium du Dauphiné, while Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) laid the foundation for the overall title.
The 31.1 kilometer course from Cours to Belmont-de-la-Loire was roughly divided into three, with an uphill start and longer downhill section to the first checkpoint at kilometer-10.7, then a flatter 9 kilometer mid-section, and finally the 11.4 kilometer false flat grind that wound up to gradients of 6% along the home straight.
Vingegaard looked on course for the stage win and yellow as he set the fastest time at the first intermediate checkpoint, but he faded in the grinding final section of the course and had to settle for second place on the day.
Meanwhile, Remi Cavagna (Soudal-QuickStep) was another rider to fade after a fast start, and he was bumped down to the final podium spot after spending a good amount of time in the hot seat.
While Vingegaard and Cavagna both reached the finish on reserves, Bjerg paced his effort to perfection. He was some 20 seconds down on Vingegaard’s benchmark at the first checkpoint, then drew level with both his compatriot and Cavagna by the second, and roared out in front on the key uphill part of the course.
After that, nobody came close to Bjerg, with Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) clocking the 4th best time (+34’’), while Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën) is the best among Vingegaard’s rivals for the GC battle, dropping 29’’ on the Danish rider. Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) followed closely, with a gap of 45’’ to Vingegaard.
As for former race leader Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), he placed 21st, 1’50’’ behind the winner.
At the end of the day, Bjerg not only claimed the stage victory, but took over the yellow and blue jersey leader’s jersey.
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