Alexis Vuillermoz beats fellow refugees in the second stage Critérium du Dauphiné

Alexis Vuillermoz beats fellow refugees in the second stage Critérium du Dauphiné

Monday, June 6, 2022 at 4:39 PM

The second stage in the Critérium du Dauphiné, arriving in Brives-Charensac, was won by Alexis Vuillermoz. The TotalEnergies rider managed to stay out of the pack together with his fellow escapees and then turned out to be the fastest in the sprint, ahead of Anders Skaarseth and Olivier Le Gac. Vuillermoz also takes over the leader’s jersey from Wout van Aert.

Also in the second stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné a lot of altimeters were on the menu. Starting in Saint-Péray, the drivers got going for this difficult stage through the mid-mountains, with the Côte de Désaignes (5 km at 4.3%), Côte de Saint-Agrève (5.6 km at 4.7%) on the way ), Col de Mézilhac (11.6 km at 4.1%) and the Côte de Rohac (1.2 km at 5.9%). At the top of the Côte de Rohac it was still nine kilometers to the finish in Brives-Charensac. On paper it seemed an excellent opportunity for Wout van Aert, the winner of the opening stage, to gain another victory.

Early flight with Vervloesem and Vuillermoz
Xandres Vervloesem (Lotto-Soudal), Kevin Vermaerke (Team DSM), Anders Skaarseth (Uno-X), Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa-Samsic), Alexis Vuillermoz (TotalEnergies) and Olivier Le Gac (Groupama-FDJ) were out to thwart the plans of the strong sprinters and went to battle. In the peloton, the handbrake was pulled and so the six refugees got a nice lead ‘gift’. The difference rose to more than four minutes, but Jumbo-Visma – the team of leader Van Aert – did not let it go. The yellow and black brigade did not shirk its responsibility and did its dirty work in pursuit.

Xandres Vervloesem was very active – photo: Cor Vos

Jumbo-Visma received assistance from the men of INEOS Grenadiers. The British formation was also able to play out a candidate stage winner with Ethan Hayter, who had to recognize his superior in Van Aert in a sprint yesterday. In the meantime, Vervloesem had set his sights on the mountain jersey, in the knowledge that mountain king Pierre Rolland was not able to participate in the early flight today. The young Belgian of Lotto Soudal was the first on the Côte de Désaignes and also took the full loot on the Côte de Saint-Agrève, good for a total of four mountain points. It then went at a full trot to the Col de Mézilhac.

Vervloesem drops out, platoon is getting closer
Vervloesem clearly had to pay for his previous efforts on this more than eleven kilometers long climb. The young Belgian was no longer able to keep up with the pace of his flight mates and was caught by the front guard of the peloton. The other escapees continued towards the top of the Mézilhac, where Vuillermoz managed to collect the most mountain points. The remaining front runners then started the last sixty kilometers of the stage, with a lead of more than three minutes over the peloton, led by the men of Jumbo-Visma, INEOS and EF Education-EasyPost.

The course proved too difficult for Dylan Groenewegen today: the Team BikeExchange-Jayco sprinter had to release the role on the flanks of the Col de Mézilhac and could forget a possible stage victory. There was still good cooperation in the leading group, but the front runners had to watch patiently as the gap with the peloton became smaller and smaller. With thirty kilometers to go, the lead was only a minute and a half, but for the peloton it turned out to be no easy task to catch up with the refugees. The five front runners held up very well and especially for a long time.

The peloton came too late – photo: Cor Vos

Refugees hold out
With ten kilometers to go, the escapees started the last climb of the day, the 1.2 kilometer long Côte de Rohac. The peloton, now led by Trek-Segafredo, followed at the foot of three quarters of a minute. At the top of the climb the lead had shrunk to half a minute, but the front runners still had a view of the stage victory. The last seven kilometers were largely in a descending or flat line and this was clearly in favor of the leading group. In the peloton the servants were burned out and so it seemed to tip in favor of the escapees.

Under the red rag of the last kilometer, the lead of the front runners was reassuring and so it was looking forward to a sprint between Vuillermoz, Skaarseth, Le Gac, Vermaerke and Delaplace. Le Gac threw his cards on the table with 400 meters to go, immediately grabbed a few meters and looked like he was on his way to victory. However, that was without counting Vuillermoz, who managed to time his sprint perfectly and still convincingly raced past the stalled Le Gac. The 34-year-old rider of TotalEnergies won in Brives-Charensac, ahead of the Norwegian Skaarseth, Le Gac, Vermaerke and Delaplace.

A few seconds later, Wout van Aert won the sprint for sixth place with ease, but has lost his yellow leader’s jersey to Vuillermoz.