Canadian cyclist David Veilleux claimed a fantastic solo victory in the Swiss Alps as he arrived in Champéry almost two minutes before the peloton of the top favorites. Being the first attacker of the day after only three kilometers of racing as soon as the terrain became hilly, the Europcar rider got a well deserved victory made of 118 kilometres of breakaway, including 47 alone! A quarter of a century later, he pursues the legend of his compatriot Steve Bauer who won the prologue of the 1988 Criterium du Dauphiné.
Veilleux in action after three kilometers only
It didn't take long until a breakaway took shape after the start given in Champéry to 176 riders. David Veilleux (EUC) launched the first attack after three kilometres of racing, soon rejoined by Ricardo Garcia (EUS), Thomas Damuseau (ARG) and Jean-Marc Bideau (BSE) as they begun their effort with the first category climb côte de Morgins where Bideau passed in first position. They reached a maximum advantage of 10.10 at km 40. After one hour of warming up, the peloton got organized. Vacansoleil-DCM was the first team to take care of the chase, later helped by Orica-GreenEdge, Team Sky and Movistar, working for stage favorites Simon Gerrans, Edvald Boasson Hagen and Alejandro Valverde respectively.
Martin's time trial in between the breakaway and the peloton
Having attacked from the bunch at km 33, Tony Martin (OPQ) rode solo in between but never caught the first rider on the road. In the ascent to col du Corbier, Veilleux (EUC) attacked two kilometers before the summit and reached the top on his own. The Canadian insisted and maintained an advantage of five minutes over the peloton led by Movistar until the 25km to go mark. He still had 1.55 over Damuseau and Garcia and more than three minutes lead over the peloton at the bottom of the last climb leading to the uphill finish of Champéry inside ten kilometers to go.
Veilleux wins solo
Watching time gaps not going under three minutes, the peloton kind of gave up. As they limited the damage, they successively caught Bideau, Martin, Garcia and Damuseau. Ivan Santaromita (BMC) was the only rider to try and escape from the peloton within two kilometers to go but it was a bunch sprint for second place with Gianni Meersman (OPQ) preceding Tom-Jelte Slagter (BLA) who became the best young rider while Veilleux took all the other distinctive jerseys: yellow, green and polka dot. Team Sky took position with Richie Porte and Chris Froome making the top 5 as well.