The seventh stage of the Criterium du Dauphine, featuring four climbs in the space of 80 kilometres, unfolded in dantesque conditions. Poels (Team Ineos) won the day’s laurels after Kevin Ledanois and Jeremy Maison rode in the breakaway and Warren Barguil showed good form. The Arkea-Samsic team leader’s morale is good!
Warren Barguil : “I finished 1 :45 off the pace, I did not have the best sensations but I wasn’t stuck on the road. I was caught at the wrong end of a split in some crosswinds, I was not well positioned. I was dropped then and managed to stay about 30 metres the group in front for a while. It’s a pity because tackling this climb within a group would have been easier, but it is what it is. After a long period without racing you don’t get back to your best level in the blink of an eye. It’s going to come back and today was not bad !”
Yvon Ledanois – sports director : ” Warren Barguil finished a minute and a half behind the Tour de France favourites, it’s not bad. But before I talk about him I want to say that the Arkea-Samsic rider shad a good stage in horrible conditions. Kevin Ledanois was very disappointed on Friday that he did not get into the breakaway but today he was there. After the cols de l’Epine and du Granier in a highly-contested stage, he crested the col de Marcieu 20 seconds behind Lutsenko (Astana) and Woods (Education First-Drapac) who were then in the lead, and he attacked at the foot of the final climb. Jeremy Maison also had a good day in this 25-man breakaway before being beaten by rain. It shows our riders should be aware of their qualities. Warren was dropped from a group of 15 with 10km to go but he stayed within 15 seconds of them despite the multiple accelerations in front on an ascent that required a lot of power. We can see that he’s much better than last season at this time of the year even if he started from far back after his two crashes during the Spring. Given that the third week of the Tour will be super hard and will require freshness, it is satisfying. He is in good spirits again. For us, the main goal is that he finishes the Criterium on an ascending form, with a smile on his face because he’s not far from the best and feeling he can do great things in July. There’s still one stage left, we’ll draw conclusions tomorrow, but it’s not too bad.”
Andre Greipel’s result in Riom (15th) did not match expectations but the Arkea-Samsic sprinter had the safisfaction to see the whole team working for him on a very rainy day. From Jérémy Maison to Florian Vachon, all his team mates did their best to put him in the best position.
André Greipel : « The team did a remarkable job, they were around me all day. It was very cold on the bike, the conditions were the same for everyone but it was not an easy day. It’s not an excuse, we all have to deal with the bad weather but those are conditions that don’t suit me. In the finale we all did our best. I was looking to take Bennett’s wheel. It was big fight, especially with his team mates, it that’s the name of the game in sprints. I know I’m on the right path, the sensations are better. In the end I could not really take part in the sprint, I was hoping to do well. We’re looking ahead. .
Yvon Ledanois, sports director : « Arkéa-Samsic worked very well during the whole stage despite the rain and the cold. The guys were beyond reproach, everybody did their share. When the breakaway with Berhane (Cofidis) and Pacher (Vital Concept) went, we reacted quickly. Jérémy Maison was the first to make the effort before Anthony Delaplace, Maxime Bouet and in the finale Kevin Ledanois and Florian Vachon with Warren Barguil also helping out. Too bad, Andre Greipel was beaten by stronger riders in the first sprint of the race and we don’t have the satisfaction to get the result we wanted. Tomorrow Warren will race with his new TT bike for the first time in the 26-km time trial. We know he’s not gonna win the TT but it’s important to see where he stands. Our leader is not at his maximum, contrary to a Pinot or a Bardet, he’s at 85-90%. If he does well it will bode well for the Tour de France and the time trial in Pau.»
The second stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné won by Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) offered an outstanding fight in the Auvergne region. A brave Warren Barguil was dropped in the last climb but his main goal is to prepare for the Tour de France and finish this race in great condition. The goal is the same for Andre Greipel who will probably have a chance to take part in a mass sprint in Riom on Tuesday.
Yvon Ledanois : « it was not a stage for the strong men but still a World Tour level effort. If you’re not at 99.9% you cannot make it. Today a world class rider, Tom Dumoulin, escapes before being reined in and dropped 120km into the stage. About 30 riders were dropped early on, it goes to show the level of the race and the riders who make an effort one day pay for it the day after. Doubey (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) was in the breakaway on Sunday and he abandoned today. In a World Tour race, if you’re not at the top at the start, you cannot play a role. Warren Barguil has team mates with him all day although not in the last climb when the potential Tour riders attack. Our leaders is at his place today, it’s not a surprise, it’s even logical. It’s not alarming at all. He raced two Coupe de France events before and before that, the Tour of Catalunya. We have to stand back and see how his condition improves. None of the sprinters has a good day. Andre is brave and he fought during a tough stage. He can do a great sapient tomorrow. It’s an objective for him and for us.»