Van Aert shows Tour form with victory in first stage Critérium du Dauphiné

Wout van Aert immediately struck in the first stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. The Belgian from Jumbo-Visma was the fastest in the sprint of a reduced group. He also took the first leader’s jersey in the stage race.

The first stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné kicked off with a relatively flat stage to Beauchastel. The ride did have some hills, but these were all far away from the finish. So no reason to start working hard for the peloton here, so that we got to see a harmless leading group of three men. Maxime Bouet (Arkéa), Laurens Huys (Intermarché) and Pierre Rolland (B&B) were the names.

Leading group caught on last climb

The riders had to conquer the Côte du Chambon de Bavas twice, among other things. At the foot of the passage – forty kilometers from the finish – the three front runners only had a two-minute lead. That was not much, given the high pace directly imposed in the peloton by Trek-Segafredo. The team took the initiative to tire the sprinters present in the peloton and to release them where possible. With success: at the back it went too fast for Dylan Groenewegen, Phil Bauhaus and Matthew Walls, among others.

At the top of the climb, there was not much left of the lead of the three leaders. Bouet had already released just before that, while Rolland collected the mountain points. However, the real ‘top’ of the climb still had to follow, because it went up a few kilometers longer. For Rolland and Huys, the end of the story was the moment Simon Geschke launched an attack and caught up with the two. That then led to more attacks.

Peloton keeps Groenewegen at a distance

Due to all the attacks from the peloton, the group with Groenewegen lost more and more ground. Coming back after the climb became increasingly difficult for the sprinter from Amsterdam. For him it was hoped that things would calm down a bit when most of the escapees in the descent would have been caught again. Mikkel Honoré unfortunately held out for the peloton for a while for Groenewegen.

In the pack, INEOS Grenadiers took over from Trek-Segafredo. Ethan Hayter’s team charged Honoré again, but also took the peloton in tow. Partly due to the work of the British formation, the pure sprinters could no longer reconnect with the large group. The men in that group would then battle it out among themselves with a view to the stage victory.

Cavagna tries, but Van Aert the fastest

In the penultimate kilometer, Rémi Cavagna tried to surprise the peloton with a surprise attack. There were moments of doubt during his attack, but a man from Jumbo-Visma closed the gap strongly. After that, no one could prevent a bunch sprint anymore.

Hayter was one of the fast men who had his sights on the stage victory, but the Brit was no match for Van Aert in the sprint. The Belgian champion was the fastest by force majeure and grabbed the stage victory in front of the competition. Hayter still finished second, ahead of Sean Quinn and Hugo Page.

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Result stage 1 Critérium du Dauphiné 2022

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