The Belgian Wout Van Aert (Jumbo) won the first stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Wednesday, at the finish in Saint-Christo-en-Jarez near Saint-Etienne, four days after his success in Milan-Sanremo.
Van Aert donned the yellow jersey of this Dauphiné shortened to five days after his two-month postponement due to the coronavirus. The 25-year-old Belgian edged South African Daryl Impey and Colombian Egan Bernal in a hill sprint, winner of the last Tour de France who pocketed 4 bonus seconds.
Launched by luxury team members, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic and the Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, Van Aert won his third stage success in the Dauphiné. The Swiss Michael Schär, who started in a breakaway of five riders from the 10th kilometer, held his ground on a steep course until the entry of the last 20 kilometers, on a steep course.
Thursday, the second stage, 135 kilometers long, links Vienne (Isère) to the Col de Porte, in the Chartreuse massif. With, to finish, an ascent of 17.5 kilometers at 6.2%.
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“We will try to keep the pace”, warns Van Aert
“I felt pretty tired yesterday (Tuesday) at the hotel though. But the team worked so well for me today. We had chances in this stage. We have such a team! We could count on Tony. Martin, Dumoulin and Roglic, who worked for me in the final. I couldn’t miss it on this sprint. It’s a team victory. We will try to keep the pace. I hadn’t yet had a leader’s jersey in a WorldTour stage race, I hope that will bode well for the Tour. “