David Gaudu beats Wout van Aert on the line in Dauphiné’s third stage
Tuesday 7 June 2022 at 16:41
David Gaudu has won the third stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. On the uphill finish in Chastreix-Sancy, Wout van Aert thought he had won the final sprint of the thinned peloton, but the Belgian cheered too early. Gaudu had timed his jump just a little better and took the win. Van Aert did become the new leader.
On the third day, the riders were presented with an uphill finish for the first time. With 2700 vertical meters it promised to be an interesting and exhausting day. With yesterday’s winner, Alexis Vuillermoz, as the new wearer of the yellow jersey, the race was started just before half past one. Sebastian Schönberger (B&B Hotels-KTM) was the initiator of the first leading group and was accompanied by Omer Goldstein (Israel-Premier Tech), Jonas Gregaard (Uno-X) and Thomas Champion (Cofidis).
Remarkable counterattack by B&B Hotels-KTM
Goldstein soon had to drop back, after which the other three escapees drove away for more than three minutes. In the second hour of racing, a remarkable counterattack by three men from B&B Hotels-KTM started. Pierre Rolland, wearer of the blue and white mountain jersey, went in search of team mate Schönberger and his escape companions with Alexis Gougeard and Miguel Heidemann and after 64 kilometers they joined from the front. However, TotalEnergies, the team of leader Vuillermoz, always kept the break within striking distance.
With 54 kilometers to go, Heidemann’s work was finished and a little later Gougeard also had to leave. When entering the last fifty kilometers the difference between the leading group and the peloton was only two and a half minutes and Jumbo-Visma also started to interfere in the chase. Meanwhile, the leading group thinned out even further on the demanding roads, because Champion also lost. As a result, only Gregaard and the B&B duo Rolland and Schönberger remained.
Due to Jumbo-Visma, the lead of the refugees gradually decreased further. Meanwhile, the teams of the classification riders tried to position their leaders as best as possible in the run-up to the final climb of Chastreix-Sancy, the 6.2 kilometer climb at an average rate of 5.6%. Rolland tried to get the leading group going again just before the foot of the climb, but the peloton already had the three attackers in their sights and it had to wait for the last gap to be closed.
Jumbo-Visma sets the pace on the final climb
Rolland dropped out first in the first 500 meters of the climb. Gregaard tried it alone four kilometers from the finish, but the Uno-X rider was no match for the peloton led by Jumbo-Visma on his own. The yellow and black squad led the pack, with the men from INEOS Grenadiers directly behind. Tsgabu Grmay accelerated three kilometers from the finish. The Ethiopian’s move turned out to be the impetus for an attack by Rémi Cavagna, which was followed by Tao Geoghegan Hart, Jonas Vingegaard and Jan Hirt.
However, everything still stayed together. Vingegaard then took control, employing Primož Roglič and Wout van Aert. Meanwhile, jersey wearer Vuillermoz broke away from the pack, with about two and a half kilometers to go. At the front, Vingegaard drove on unabated. At 1400 meters Ben O’Connor put in a gear, but Roglič brought the rest to his rear wheel. Van Aert fell through it briefly, but was brought back by his Danish teammate Vingegaard. A thinned out platoon then thundered under the red rag.
Wout van Aert started the sprint and seemed to make it until the finish. The green jersey raised his arms, but saw David Gaudu come alongside at the finish and immediately realized that he had cheered too early. For the Frenchman of Groupama-FDJ it was his second win of the season, having previously won a stage in the Volta ao Algarve. He had already had his share of bad luck; in Paris-Nice he did not make it to the finish after a fall and he had to miss the Ardennes classics due to bronchitis.