Castroviejo fine 6th at Suisse opener
Jesús fights until very last climb for prestigious win on Dauphiné's stage seven; Valverde attacks again, concedes a handful of seconds on Porte to now sit 5th overall in France, one day before the race's end. 'Castro' finishes 11" behind Dennis in Cham prologue
Briton Peter Kennaugh (SKY) won Saturday’s penultimate stage in the Critérium du Dauphiné, a hard mountain trek of 168km with six rated ascents and the double finishing climb of Sarenne (HC) and Alpe d’Huez (Cat-2). A 17-man breakaway ruled the stage until the finish and allowed Jesús Herrada continuing to impress, after spending a couple of days within the top-10 overall. The former Spanish road race champion could not follow the great pace by Kennaugh and Swift (UAD) at the final kilometers of the Sarenne ascent, yet kept digging deep against the GC contenders and claimed a solid 3rd spot, 1’10” behind the day’s winner.
Behind the escapees, an attack by Romain Bardet (ALM) lifted the tempo of the GC group, with several accelerations including Alejandro Valverde’s move just before the Sarenne summit, which the other favourites had to keep under control. Racer leader Richie Porte (BMC) decided in turn to defend himself with yet another attack, just over 1km before the finish in Alpe d’Huez, which took Valverde out of strength and in pursuit alongside Chris Froome (SKY). ‘Bala’ ended up losing 23” against the Tasmanian, 12th in the day, and now ranks 5th in the standings. Porte leads the GC with a comfortable 1’02” margin on Froome, yet the third (Fuglsang, +1’15”), fourth (Aru, +1’41”) and fifth (Valverde, +1’43”) riders overall are just 28” apart and could see things shaking up severely tomorrow.
"After the six weeks I had spent training and out of competition, it feels satisfying to be able to keep my rivals' wheels in such a tough stage as today's", Alejandro briefly answered after the stage to questions fielded by Cyclingpro.net. "We might not be up there with the three, four strongest guys in the race, but we're close – that makes me happy. Porte launched a really strong attack in the finale; I was holding Kwiatkowski's wheel and, with him being an aero rider on the bike, I was catching a lot of wind on my face. It was difficult to follow Richie's pace. Another tough stage tomorrow – we'll continue to fight and try to stay near the top guys."
The Dauphiné will come to its end with a short, intense stage eight on Sunday, well suited for fireworks: 115km with the ‘cols’ of Saisies (Cat-1), Aravis (Cat-2), Colombière (Cat-2) and the finish up Plateau de Solaison (HC), over 11km at 9,2% average gradient.
Tour de Suisse: Great start by Castroviejo (6th), Dowsett (11th) in Cham
Australian Rohan Dennis (BMC) in turn dominated the Movistar Team's second competition of this Saturday, the opening stage of the Tour de Suisse (6km ITT in Cham), where the telephone squad completed a nice job with Jonathan Castroviejo's sixth place (6'35" for the European champion vs the winner's 6'24") and Alex Dowsett's 11th spot, 14" behind the winner.
Marc Soler and Carlos Betancur, the two climbing references alongside 'Castro' for the squad directed by José Luis Jaimerena on Swiss soil, finished respectively 24" and 26" behind the day's victor. All three will have to get through two seemingly sprinter-suited stages on Sunday and Monday, before the race brings its first mountain-top finish in Villars-sur-Ollon on Tuesday. Stage two in and around Cham (173km) will feature four laps of a circuit around the Cat-2 climb of Horben, set to harden the race up.
Picture (c): Luca Bettini / BettiniPhoto.net
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Vuelta a Suiza: Gran arranque de Castroviejo (6º) y Dowsett (11º) en Cham
El australiano Rohan Dennis (BMC) dominó por su parte el segundo frente competitivo de este sábado para Movistar Team, el arranque contrarreloj de la Vuelta a Suiza -6 km en Cham-, en el que los telefónicos cuajaron un notable papel con la sexta plaza de Jonathan Castroviejo (6'35" para el vizcaíno, por 6'24" del ganador) y la undécima de Alex Dowsett, a 14" del vencedor.
Marc Soler y Carlos Betancur, los dos referentes escaladores junto a 'Castro' para el conjunto que dirige en la ronda helvética José Luis Jaimerena, se mantuvieron a 24" y 26", respectivamente, y afrontarán de aquí al martes varias etapas para proteger su posición de cara al primer final en alto en Villars-sur-Ollon. Mañana domingo, final para hombres rápidos en Cham (173 km) aunque endurecido por cuatro pasos por la cota de Horben (2ª).