Top Five Finish Overall for Caruso at Critérium du Dauphiné10. June 2018, Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc — Road Team
Damiano Caruso secured fifth overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné today after another solid performance on the final climb of stage 7 saw him battling all the way to the finish line in Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc.
The final 136km stage saw the riders leave Moutiers and head back over the Cormet de Roselend, from the opposite direction to yesterday’s penultimate stage, and on the early slopes of the category one climb, the peloton, due to the pace of race leader, Geraint Thomas’ Team Sky teammates, was still all together.
Eventually, going over the summit of the 19km long ascent, after 43km of racing, six riders had been able to open up an advdntange of around 1’30” over an already reduced main bunch.
From there, the race headed down towards the foot of the category three Côte de la Route des Villes which led swiftly into the category one Col de Saisies, a 15.1km climb with an average gradient of 6.4%.
At the base of this climb, the gap was sitting at around three minutes with the now only 40-rider strong main bunch, still led by Team Sky, keen to stay hot on the heels of the breakaway.
The chase began to heat up approaching the 40km to go mark with the breakaway pulled back to 1’30” as a mechanical saw the yellow jersey distanced on the fast descent down to the final two categorized climbs of the day.
The first and second parts of the main bunch came back together at 28km to go mark with Caruso riding alongside Brent Bookwalter, Joey Rosskopf and Dylan Teuns as the pace continued to increase heading towards the fourth consecutive summit finish of the race.
The yellow jersey group split on the stinging 2.7km climb, the Côte des Amerands, which had an average gradient of 11.2%, led into the base of the Montée du Bettex, the final 7km ascent to the finish line in Saint-Gervaix Mont-Blanc.
Caruso was caught out but his BMC Racing Team teammates were quick to react and worked hard to try to close the gap and bring him back to the rest of the General Classification contenders however it was on the first part of this brutal two-pronged climb, that the race exploded completely.
The remaining leaders were holding onto an advantage of 50 seconds over the yellow jersey group which was at this point made up of just five riders while behind, Caruso was riding at his own pace as part of a chasing group that made contact once again just before the final climb.
In the end, it was Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) who was the last man standing from the breakaway and it looked like he might hold on to take the win. But, as the General Classification riders started to attack one another, his lead began to shrink quickly.
A decisive move from Adam Yates (Michelton-SCOTT) inside the final kilometer saw him catch Navarro just meters before the line to take the stage win with Caruso, who has impressed on all four summit finishes, crossing the line around 25 seconds back.
This was enough to see him secure fifth overall, 2’44” behind overall winner, Thomas.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
“Today, I felt really good. I had good sensations all day. I want to say thank you to be my teammates because they trusted me and they have worked hard for me all week. Today, they gave 100% for me in each part of the race. I did the final climb in the Tour de France two years ago so I knew what to expect and at the end, I still felt good and I tried to follow the best riders. For me, a top five finish at the Dauphiné is a good result and it confirms that I am in good shape.”
“This result also means that I know now that I do not have too much work to do over the next month to be ready for the Tour de France. I just need to stay healthy and try to keep this condition.”
Sports Director, Maximilian Sciandri:
“Damiano came to me straight after the race and he was really happy. Looking at yesterday, he lost a few positions but today he said he felt great, fantastic, back to where he needs to be looking forward to the Tour de France. So, I’m really happy. A top five position on the GC in this type of race, with this type of climbing, going over nearly 4000m of climbing every day for the last three days, is really good. I’m really happy for Damiano, for the whole team, everybody did a great job. We did a great ride in the TTT, losing not too much time over the 35km course, and then to finish with Damiano in fifth position is really nice."
Critérium du Dauphiné
Stage 7: Moûtiers > Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc, 136km
Top 3: 1. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 2. Daniel Navarro Garcia (Cofidis) 3. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 7. Damiano Caruso 32. Dylan Teuns 37. Joey Rosskopf
Top 3 on GC: 1. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) 2. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 3: Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 5. Damiano Caruso 37. Brent Bookwalter 40. Joey Rosskopf