First Summit Finish at Critérium du Dauphiné Delivers GC Showdown7. June 2018, Lans-en-Vercors (FRA) — Road Team
Critérium du Dauphiné stage 4 marked the start of the second half of the race and saw the riders tackle the first of four back-to-back mountain stages, all of which feature a summit finish, with Damiano Caruso sticking to the wheel of his General Classification rivals and moving up to fifth overall
It was a fast start to the stage with riders battling to form the day’s breakaway over the relatively flat opening 50km, of the 181km course, with the pace of the main bunch neutralizing any and all attacks before the road began to rise en route to the foot of the Col de Toutes Aures, the first of three categorized climbs.
By the time the race reached the top of the 2.5km climb, eight riders had been able to break free from the peloton and extend an advantage that was sitting at 3’30” with race leader at the start of the day, Michal Kwiatkowski’s Team Sky teammates setting the pace behind.
Up next was the hors categorie Col du Mont Noir, a 17.5km ascent with an average gradient of 6.9% and pitches of over 9% in place, and on the early slopes of the climb, the breakaway’s advantage was hovering around five minutes.
However, the chase soon picked up on the approach to the summit and as the front group split, with Dario Cataldo (Astana Pro Team) going solo, riders began to drop off the back of the yellow jersey group, which still included Caruso and Brent Bookwalter.
Cataldo was holding onto a three-minute advantage on the fast descent but the determination of the bunch behind saw one minute knocked off approaching the 10km to go mark.
As the lone leader began the final 4.8km climb up to Lans-en-Vercors, his advantage continued to shrink with Team Sky continuing to take responsibility for the pace-making and Caruso and Bookwalter still in main bunch.
The speed of the chase soon began to take its toll on the group with riders, including Bookwalter, starting to drop off the back while up ahead Cataldo was coming into view.
Going under the flamme rouge Caruso was well-placed in the yellow jersey group and it didn’t take long for the attacks to begin.
Four riders made their move to catch Cataldo with just 500m to go before Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) went on to take the win from this group.
Caruso continued to work hard just behind and finished in the second group on the road, eight seconds behind.
The Italian rider started the day sixth overall and at the end of the stage, he now sits fifth, 49 seconds behind new race leader, Gianni Moscon, who inherited the yellow jersey after his Team Sky teammate lost time on the line.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
"Today was a really fast stage. Over the first two hours, we went really really fast and there was a big fight for the breakaway. Then, at the end of the stage, I felt could on the last climb and was in a good position until about 500m to go when the winning move went. I lost a little bit of time to the winner, around eight seconds, but I think for me it was a good day. I improved my positions on the General Classification so the feelings are positive. There are still three more hard stages so we will try to do a good job again tomorrow. It's a shorter stage but it's going to brutal. I am ready and I feel good though."
Critérium du Dauphiné
Stage 4: Chazey-sur-Ain > Lans-en-Vercors, 181km
Top 3: 1. Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) 2. Daniel Martin (UAE Team Emirates) 3. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 13. Damiano Caruso 35. Brent Bookwalter 68. Joey Rosskopf