Van Aert thinks he will win, but cheers too early; stage win in Dauphiné for Gaudu

Wout van Aert made an expensive mistake in the third stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. The Belgian driver thought he would grab the win, but threw his hands in the air too early. The stage victory then went to David Gaudu, while Van Aert does take over the yellow jersey from Alexis Vuillermoz.

With Vuillermoz in the leader’s jersey, the peloton started in the Critérium du Dauphiné for the third stage, which for the first time had to be climbed a bit more seriously this stage race. The last seventy kilometers of the race mainly went up, so that the classification riders had to be ready. Still, they could wait a while, watching how an early flight was formed first. The names in it were not too threatening for their positions: Omer Goldstein (Israel), Thomas Campion (Cofidis), Jonas Gregaard (Uno-X) and Sebastian Schönberger (B&B).

B&B commits coup attempt

B&B Hotels-KTM had a man in the front with Schönberger, but that was apparently not enough for the team. At 126 kilometers from the finish, the team set a plan in motion, with which they did something that is rarely shown in current cycling: counterattack with three men. Alexis Gougeard and Miguel Heidemann were tasked with driving leader and polka dot jersey Pierre Rolland to the front of the race. And in that aim they succeeded.

After the great effort of Rolland’s two teammates, B&B suddenly had four men in a leading group of seven. Goldberg had been released for some time before that. The situation did not last very long, however: the moment the road surface started to rise in the race, Gougeard and Heidemann had to pay the toll for their effort. Then it was up to Schönberger to keep up the pace in the group, so that Rolland could go for the stage win and maybe the leader’s jersey.

Peloton will not be surprised twice

For a long time, the difference between the front runners and the peloton fluctuated around two and a half minutes. With the climbing that was still to come, that was not very much. TotalEnergies and Jumbo-Visma took responsibility in the peloton to narrow the gap a bit. As the final climb approached, things started to look worse for Rolland’s chances.

The peloton showed that it was not going to be messed around for a second time in a row. After a day earlier the leading group had managed to stay out of the hands of the big crowd in a special way, this time it was not successful. With less than five kilometers from the end, Rolland, Schönberger and Gregaard were neatly caught again, after Champion had also had to release earlier. The riders had just started the final climb at that time.

Jumbo-Visma takes the lead, Vuillermoz loses

Jumbo-Visma took the initiative on the final climb as usual. The Dutch team wanted to control things, but that proved difficult with all the incoming attacks. At three kilometers from the end it was none other than Jonas Vingegaard who had to get to work to keep the peloton under control. Wout van Aert and Primoz Roglic were still behind that.

The Dane made sure that Vuillermoz had trouble with the pace with his work. The Frenchman couldn’t manage to stay with the pack and patiently watched his yellow jersey not hang from his shoulders for more than a day. With two kilometers to go it was clear that the round would have a new classification leader.

Van Aert cheers too early, Gaudu wins

After Vingegaard seemed exhausted, the classification riders were allowed to fight it out among themselves. Ben O’Connor handed out a pinprick, but that attempt was immediately parried by Roglic. Who else was also in the party was Van Aert. The green jersey was suddenly piloted forward in the easier final kilometer by Vingegaard, who had found a second breath.

Van Aert then got an excellent chance at a new stage win, but again the Belgian champion was unable to hit the mark. After being late the day before, he was too early this time. He threw his hands in the air as he entered the finish line, but hadn’t taken the approaching Gaudu into account. The Frenchman of Groupama-FDJ came out of a box like a devil and knocked the Belgian on the line.

A little consolation for Van Aert was that he was allowed to climb the podium after the stage. Not only did he maintain the lead in the points standings, but he also regained the yellow jersey. Gaudu took second place in the general classification.

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Result stage 3 Critérium du Dauphiné 2022

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