Valverde in the mix at bunch sprint in Tullins -14th, eighth within the main field as six-man break led by Bouwman (TLJ) beats the pack-, will have nearly all references in Dauphiné's crucial ITT as he jumps back onto 8th overall
Dutchman Koen Bouwman (TLJ) claimed his first WorldTour victory on Tuesday at the longest stage of the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné (184km from Le Chambon-sur-Lignon to Tullins), taking a six-man break into fruition despite the late attempts by a misjudging peloton to bring the group back.
At the peloton – which lost their battle by a mere 11 seconds – Alejandro Valverde hobnobbed within the sprinters to claim a respectable 14th place, eighth of the group. A move that had a hidden but obvious goal.
Bala's final effort, responding to good Movistar teamwork, helped the man from Murcia return to the 8th place overall, 1'09" behind Thomas De Gendt (TLJ), the Spanish superstar was holding after the opening stage.
The new top-ten standings mean Valverde will have nearly all references in hand at Wednesday's crucial stage four ITT, set to start defining the GC outcome. The tough course (23.5km between La Tour-du-Pin and Bourgoin-Jallieu) will include several ups and downs, plus a tough slope in Demptézieu just before the run-in to the finish.
TT start times (Wednesday 7th) // Imanol Erviti: 13.55h. Jorge Arcas: 14.10h. Richard Carapaz: 14.57h (7.57am ECU). Jasha Sütterlin: 14.59h. Dani Moreno: 15.04h. Rubén Fernández: 15.20h. Jesús Herrada: 15.24h. Alejandro Valverde: 15.43h.