Critérium du Dauphiné (st. 1)
Kennaugh (SKY) holds off sprinters in Critérium du Dauphiné's stage one as Gorka Izagirre makes part of decisive move; Valverde shows focus, takes 8th into bunch sprint
A late jump from a track rider accustomed to sudden pace changes, British road race champion Peter Kennaugh (SKY), awarded him the victory into a short, intense stage one in the Critérium du Dauphiné, over 131.5km starting at Ugine and finishing with a circuit in Albertville, five laps over the Côte de Villard (Cat-3). The Manxman attacked with two kilometers from the line from a five-rider group, created by Daniel Oss (BMC) with an attack into the final climb and consolidated by Gorka Izagirre, the most active of the Movistar Team riders in the stage.
Despite the three attackers' move along with Grivko (AST) and the early break's last survivor Björn Thurau (BOA) never got more than ten seconds, Kennaugh's acceleration -just before Izagirre was caught- allowed him keeping behind a bunch with no real sprinter 'trains'. Alejandro Valverde, much focused and well-protected by the likes of Alex Dowsett and Rory Sutherland, even got into the bunch sprint, claiming the 8th spot.
Ninety riders -including Blues Intxausti, Izagirre, Gadret, Herrada and Castroviejo, as well as 'Bala'- got into an elite bunch that will see its chances even more increased on Monday at the finish of Villars-les-Dombes (173km). The Cuvéry (Cat-1) climb, halfway through the course, will be the biggest difficult.