Race report

Kevin Vermaerke 4th after fighting breakaway ride and moves into white jersey lead

Critérium du Dauphiné

The second day of racing at the Dauphiné saw the peloton tackle another intriguing stage, with a hilly parcours that would tempt the breakaway riders but also those who would want a reduced bunch sprint finish. As expected, it was a fast start to the stage with several unsuccessful attempts made before a break of six eventually established itself out front, with Kevin Vermaerke riding well to make the move for the team.

Vermaerke and his breakaway companions rode a smart race, building up a gap of around four minutes and 30 seconds but not pushing too hard to save something for the long climb and rolling final 50 kilometres. Cresting the summit of the climb, their lead had been more than halved, sitting at one minute and 30 seconds with 30 kilometres to go but the now quintet worked really well together, rotating turns at the front all the way to the finish town. As a result, they headed into the final kilometre with a 20 second gap over the bunch. Vermaerke followed the wheels after several attacks were made in the finale, digging deep and giving everything he had to the line, taking a strong fourth place – his first top five at WorldTour level. With bonus seconds at the intermediate sprint combined with the gap to the chasing bunch, Vermaerke moves into the lead of the best young rider classification – a fine reward for a strong ride.

“It was a big day out in the break,” expressed Vermaerke. “Our team plan was to get me in the move today and if it was a big break then we also wanted Mark in there with me. The guys did a great job at the start, especially Mark, setting me up to get in that break: perfect teamwork. I made it and it was a strong group. We were all committed to making it to the finish, we all kept taking strong pulls and no one skipped any. In the last ten kilometres the gap was about a minute and was a bit touch-and-go but we all kept riding. Coming into the last kilometre I found myself a little maybe too far at the front but after a big day out like that my legs were pretty empty and I didn’t have much of a sprint left. Usually it’s a good situation for me and I was hoping for more out of myself. It’s not every day you get that close to winning a stage at the Dauphiné and I think it’s left me hungry to come back and get a better result, but the white jersey is something we can take out of the day and is a nice reward to wear it tomorrow. There are still six more chances to get a result this week where we can try and do even better.”

Team DSM coach Pim Ligthart added: “The goal today was to be in the break and we had hoped for a big move, where we could ideally get two guys in. We wanted to get Kevin in the move and the guys did well to do that but it was only a group of six in the end. We had a plan though where we wanted to have one minute and 30 seconds in the long downhill going into the final 15 kilometres – which is exactly what they had. The break could sprint it out for the win with Kevin finishing fourth in the end. I think we had a nice stage, making an opportunity for ourselves and Kevin moves into the white jersey now as a reward – so I think it was a good day for us.”


Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 VUILLERMOZ Alexis TotalEnergies 4:03:34 60
2 SKAARSETH Anders Uno-X Pro Cycling Team ,, 25
3 LE GAC Olivier Groupama - FDJ ,, 10
4 VERMAERKE Kevin Team DSM ,, -
67 BRENNER Marco Team DSM 0:05 -
69 DONOVAN Mark Team DSM ,, -
93 COMBAUD Romain Team DSM ,, -
147 HEINSCHKE Leon Team DSM 12:56 -
1005 VANDENABEELE Henri Team DSM -04:03:34 -