Critérium du Dauphiné (st. 2)
Valverde remains 1’09” behind race leader De Gendt (LTS) at Critérium du Dauphiné after another lumpy day – ending into a bunch sprint this time, with Démare (FDJ) victorious
The 69th Critérium du Dauphiné witness a lively race halfway through its stage two (170km from Saint-Chamond to Arlanc1), yet one that held no late scares for the sprinting favourites at the final circuit.
Despite the hard pace from Astana – trying to get their rider Alexey Lutsenko into the original, four man-breakaway – breaking the bunch into three echelons, all fastmen were able to bridge back to the main field and contest a slightly uphill bunch kick, dominated by former French champion Arnaud Démare (FDJ).
Always well protected by his seven team-mates – including Jasha Sütterlin, who tested his luck into the sprint and took 20th -, Alejandro Valverde crossed the line safely in 32nd spot to keep his 1’09” gap behind Thomas de Gendt (LTS) intact in the GC, now 12th overall as a result of the sum of positions in the first two days.
Tuesday should bring another sprint finish in Tullins (184km; four rated ascents, all Cat-3 and 4) before the important Wednesday ITT in the ‘Delfinato’.