Big climbing by Intxausti in Saint-Gervais (4th) takes him back into third overall in Dauphiné with 24h left to the end; Valverde struggles but stays in 6th. Castroviejo shines into early break with Izagirre
Another good ride overall by the Movistar Team in this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné led Beñat Intxausti back into the GC podium after the Queen stage -155km from Montmélian to Saint-Gervais, over five Cat-1 ascents and a final, intense effort over the cols of Amerands and Béttex-. The Basque climber managed his energies fantastically well to cross the line after Chris Froome (SKY) -day’s winner-, Van Garderen (BMC) -new race leader- and Louis Meintjes (MTN) after a remarkable labout from the whole telephone squad.
26 ciclistas got together at the front after the first two climbs, Tamié and La Forclaz, a break which initially joined Gorka Izagirre and later was made into by Jonathan Castroviejo. It was Castro’s task to stay calm against early attacks -a move by Navarro (COF) and Zoidl (TFR) opening a serious gap into the final descent- and try his move later. After jumping away from the pursuit in Amerands, he got back to the lead with 9km to go, and ultimately, he tried to ride on his own with two further accelerations that made him dream of the win.
Though Castroviejo was chased down by Froome’s acceleration in the finale, the Basque still had energy left to briefly help Intxausti out -a good progression by Beñat saw him losing only 40” across the line- and also Valverde, who struggled after his moves on Friday and finished 2’ behind the winner. The GC, pending tomorrow’s showdown in Modane Valfréjus (157km), sees Beñat in 3rd place, 45” behind Van Garderen and 27” after Froome, with Costa (LAM) trailing by 25” in 4th, Simon Yates (OGE) at 44” and Valverde in sixth, 54” after the Basque. Movistar comfortably leads the teams' overall, with more than 12' gap.
Izagirre, Malori into top-ten on Suisse prologue
In turn, Tom Dumoulin (TGA) took the win in the 5.1km individual prologue in Risch-Rotkreuz which opened the 2015 Tour de Suisse, over a slightly downhill course with tailwinds at some sections where two of the Movistar Team riders, implied on different tasks for the race, knew how to shine: Ion Izagirre and Adriano Malori.
The Basque started to bounced back after misfortune all over the recent Giro d'Italia by clocking a magnificent 8th fastest time, 6" behind the winner, while the Italian got back from almost two months without racing to equal his team-mate's time for 9th. Stage one on Sunday will take the riders over two passages of the Michaelskreuz (Cat-1, 4km at 9% avg.) in the finale of a 161km loop.