Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) became the first rider to win two stages of the Dauphiné in a row since Tyler Hamilton in 2000, thanks to his impressive acceleration from the group containing all the favourites in the last kilometre of the final stage to La Toussuire. Bradley Wiggins (Sky) was never put under threat and won the first big stage race of his career, ahead of Cadel Evans (BMC) who finished second in the Dauphiné for the fourth time and Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana).
Climbs of the day:
- Km 78: col de la Croix de Fer, hors-cat. (22.2 km at 7 %)
- Km 117.5: montée de La Toussuire, cat.1 (14.8 km at 5,8 %)
Start proper given at 13h27 to 149 riders. Four non-starters: Jan Ghyselinck (HTC-Highroad), Julian Dean, Tyler Farrar and Andreas Klier (Garmin-Cervélo).
11 riders on the move after 15km
Following a very fast start, mostly due to Thibaut Pinot’s high motivation to break away, a group of 11 riders was formed at km 15: Andrey Zeits (Astana), Leonardo Duque and Tristan Valentin (Cofidis), Sébastien Minard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Alexandre Kolobnev (Katusha), Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Julien Vermote (Quick Step) and Kristjian Koren (Liquigas). Their maximum lead was 4.45 at km 50. The Katusha team took over the chase from Team Sky in order to not let a too big advantage to the leaders.
Pinot’s one man show at the Croix-de-Fer
Thibaut Pinot went solo at km 60 after five kilometres of climbing in the 22.1km long ascent to the col de la Croix-de-Fer. An acceleration in the bunch by Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) put an end to the adventure of Pinot’s former breakaway companions. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky) took the command of the bunch five kilometres before the top of the Croix-de-Fer but didn’t prevent Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Rodriguez from going clear with four kilometres of climbing remaining. The chasers regrouped at the top of the Croix-de-Fer where Pinot passed with an advantage of 55 second.
Voeckler impressive downhill
Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) went away from the group of the yellow-blue jersey at the beginning of the downhill of thje Croix-de-Fer. The French champion rejoined Pinot in the valley 28 kilometres before the finishing line in La Toussuire. He continued on his own with 20km to go. Gesink and Pinot brought him back with just under 10km to go.
Rodriguez in the form of his live
Too many riders were interested by the stage win for the trio to stay away. Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank-SunGard) was the first man to bridge the gap. Rodriguez eventually brought the whole group back with 3.5. Thirteen riders showed up together at La Toussuire: the top ten on GC plus Sørensen, Gesink and Pinot. Rodriguez put the hammer down with a terrific attack 700 metres before the line. He claimed a second spectacular stage win in two days and moved up to fifth on GC. He also won the points competition and the king of the mountain price. Bradley Wiggins came home safely to win the 63rd Criterium du Dauphiné.
“I knew this hill to La Toussuire and I knew it was useless to attack from far out. So many guys tried to break away before but it was always going to be decided in the last kilometre. I went very strongly, exactly where there were 400 metres of the steepest gradient. I like to winning again today, I came to the Dauphiné for a stage win and now I got two! This is for sure the nicest week of my cycling career so far, in terms of condition and sensations. I had never done the Dauphiné before because I was often at the Giro and the only year I’ve done the Tour de France, I went to the Tour de Suisse. Maybe I should have come to this race earlier because it suits me at perfection.”
“My conclusion of the Dauphiné is positive because my condition has improved every day. In the climbs, I’ve managed to maintain a strong rhythm. It’s been a good work, it’s just a pity that I didn’t win any stage. In today’s finale, I hesitated a bit. I could have attacked but I stayed with the other guys at the end. Wiggins has done a good race but I don’t think he can win the Tour de France. He managed to hold on in the climbs but Contador will be above this level.”
“The white jersey is definitely a consolation price. I’ve suffered again today, I didn’t feel good. So I fought for keeping this place as the best young rider. When I start such a stage, I want to stay with the best but today, it wasn’t really the case. I’m not worried because I’m not at 100% yet. I hadn’t raced for a while, so it wasn’t easy to resume racing with eight demanding stages. But I respect my schedule. I’ll be stronger next month.”
“Today the possibilities to move up on GC were very limited. Vinokourov and I were close to Wiggins but we never had an opportunity to attack him. I wasn’t feeling good, I’ve suffered from allergies this week. But I’m not disappointed. Second is still a good result. I’ll go home, rest a bit and resume training for the Tour de France.”
“The Dauphiné is a very historical race. When I look at the record book of the race, it’s wonderful to be part of it. This is made of Tour de France champions. I don’t think that I’m on form too early before the Tour de France. You have seen that I wasn’t very well in the last climb. But once we got to the last climb, I didn’t panic. I’m still in a period of training. The condition is coming and I think I got the biggest win of my pro career. For team Sky, it’s fantastic as well. This year, all the races I’ve taken part in, it was for the win. It won’t be the case at the Tour de France. Winning the Tour de France against Andy Schleck and Contador is a big call. The top 10 has always been the goal, but now with the confidence I got at the Dauphiné, the top 6 is the goal.”
Bradley Wiggins is the winner of the 63rd Criterium du Dauphiné.
1. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)
2. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
3. Robert Gesink (Rabobank)
4. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega)
5. Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)
It’s Purito again!
With 700 metres to go, Rodriguez sprints and goes for a second stage win in a row.
The twelve riders in the lead with 1km to go are the top ten leading riders on GC plus Robert Gesink and Thibaut Pinot.