Critérium du Dauphiné: David Veilleux takes solo breakaway win in short Champéry opener
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Sunday, June 02, 2013

Critérium du Dauphiné: David Veilleux takes solo breakaway win in short Champéry opener

by Ben Atkins at 9:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Critérium du Dauphiné
 
Canadian escapes his companions on penultimate climb and holds off the peloton

david veilleux

David Veilleux (Europcar) took his first ever victory in the UCI WorldTour as he won the short, hilly opening stage of the 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné in Champéry. The 25-year-old French-Canadian was part of a four-man breakaway group that had escaped, under his own impetus, in the opening kilometre of the 121km stage, then escaped the other three riders inside the final 50km and managed to ride alone to the finish.

The rest of the breakaway riders were swept up by the peloton close to the finish, with the sprint for second taken by Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), 1’56” behind Veilleux, with Tom-Jelte Slagter (Blanco) taking third place just behind the Belgian.

“This is my first time taking part in the Dauphiné,” said Veilleux afterwards. “The standard of the race is extremely high, that’s why I didn’t have any expectation at this level.

“It was worth trying,” he said of the long breakaway. “I started to believe that something would be possible when our breakaway gained more than nine minutes. But later, it was only in the last 300 metres that I realised I’d won. It’s an enormous satisfaction. It comes from a lot of sacrifices and huge amounts of work. I’m happy that it pays off. Normally I’m not a climber but I know that I can climb decently. Going from a break, there was a chance.”

Veilleux attacked in the very first kilometre and was immediately joined by Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano) and Jean-Marc Bideau (Bretagne-Séché), with Ricardo Garcia (Euskaltel-Euskadi) quickly making it across. The quartet was more than ten minutes ahead of the peloton after 40km, and was still almost five minutes clear with 47km to go when Veilleux made his solo attack over the top of the 1st category Col du Corbier.

Once clear Veilleux continued to build his advantage over his former companions and, with little urgency in the peloton behind him, managed to hold on to take the victory.

The stage was also characterised by a long chasse patate from Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who set out in pursuit of the four leaders after 33km. The World time trial champion was never able to get close to the front of the race, however, and, although he managed to catch up with the dropped Bidea, was swept up on the penultimate climb of the 2nd category Pas de Morgins with just under 20km left.

Damuseau and Garcia, meanwhile, had managed to hold off the peloton, even as Veilleux edged further away from them, but the two riders were finally swept up on the final climb of the Côte de Champéry with less than two kilometres to go.

The stage victory also gave Veilleux the first yellow jersey of the eight-day race and, with no time bonuses on offer, led Meersman by the same 1’56” margin he had taken at the finish.

“Now I’ll profit as much as I can from those moments I’ll be able to enjoy with the yellow jersey,” said Veilleux. “I don’t know if it can last for a few days, probably not the whole week! Of course it’s a dream to ride the Tour de France this year, but for now, I’m here to do my job as well as I can.”

The usual early attack gets away with nobody deemed to be of any danger

david veilleuxVeilleux was the first rider to make a move, almost immediately after the peloton had finished the 5.4km neutral zone and began the 1st category climb of the Côte de Morgins. The Canadian was followed by Damuseau and Bideau, with Garcia quickly joining and, as Team Sky set a gentle pace at the head of the peloton, the quartet began to build a lead.

As Bideau led over the top of the climb, after just 12.5km, the gap to the peloton was 2’55” and, at the 32km point on the rolling roads that followed, it rose to 7’05”. Shortly afterwards Martin attacked to try to get across to the leaders but, as the gap to the peloton reached its maximum of 10’10” at the 40km point, the World time trial champion was still 6’20” behind.

Vacansoleil-DCM then decided that the gap had grown enough and, with Orica-GreenEdge joining soon afterwards, began to close it down. There was no hurry from either team, however, and the quartet still led by 9’45” with 65km to go; Martin had barely closed the gap to the leaders, and was still riding alone almost six minutes behind them.

Movistar and Team Sky then joined the chase at the head of the peloton, and the gap began to close more quickly. With 55km to go it had been cut to 7’10”, while Martin had closed a little on the leaders and was now 4’25” behind them.

At the start of the Col du Corbier the leaders were just 6’30” ahead of the peloton, and Martin was closing more quickly.

Two kilometres from the top of the climb Veilleux attacked the group and began to make his way up alone. Very soon he was 20 seconds clear of his former companions, with Martin another two minutes back, having been four minutes behind at the bottom.

The peloton was now 4’50” back, with several sprinters, including Nikias Arndt (Argos-Shimano) and French champion Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ), losing contact as Movistar and Orica-GreenEdge teams continued to set a stiff pace at the front.

One unexpected name out of the back of the peloton was Belgian climber Thomas De Gendt (Vacansoleil-DCM).

Over the top, with 45km to go, Veilleux was 40 seconds ahead of Damuseau and Garcia; Bideau was 1’50” behind, with Martin now at 2’05”. Although the peloton was still shedding riders, the pace had dropped a little and the bunch was 5’35” back as Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) burst clear to mop up the final points.

Tony Martin’s chasse patate continues as Veilleux’ advantage crows again

On the technical descent that followed Veilleux’ lead continued to grow, while Martin made contact with Bideau, and the Bretagne-Séché rider was happy to tuck in behind the World time trial champion’s wheel. Meanwhile, in the peloton, Haimar Zubeldia (RadioShack-Leopard) suffered a puncture and, although the Spanish rider took a wheel from a teammate, was left to chase the long way back onto the peloton alone.

Through the intermediate sprint, in La Chappelle-d'Abondance with 29.5km to go, Veilleux had increased his lead to 1’25” over Damuseau and Garcia, and 2’30” over Martin and Bideau. The peloton was still at 5’35” but, with Zubeldia still off the back, the Katusha team was leading the chase and quickly began to close down the Canadian as he approached the Pas de Morgins.

Saxo-Tinkoff joined the head of the peloton as it hit the base of the climb and began to edge closer and closer to Martin and Bideau. The German left Bideau behind before long, to be picked up with two kilometres to climb; just at that point Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) became the next big name to be losing contact with the back of the bunch.

Veilleux led over the top, with 19.5km to go, 1’50” ahead of Damuseau and Garcia. The peloton was now at 3’20”, with Martin just 15 seconds ahead, and the German was picked up moments later.

With Martin now back in the fold, the Europcar rider clawed out a few seconds lead on the descent, made wet in places by the heavy rain that had fallen the day before, as several groups of dropped riders regained contact with the rear of the peloton. As he hit the foot of the final climb of the Côte de Champéry with just under eight kilometres to go, Veilleux was 3’44” ahead of the peloton, with the two chasers now almost two minutes behind him.

With six kilometres to go the peloton was less than a minute behind Damuseau and Garcia, and their team cars were pulled from the gap by the race commissaire. Veilleux was still climbing strongly, however, and was still three minutes ahead as he entered the final three kilometres.

With just under two kilometres left the two chasers had just a few metres on the peloton and, very shortly afterwards, they were caught, and Ivan Santaromita (BMC Racing) jumped away almost immediately.

Veilleux was in the final kilometre now though and, as he crossed the line he screamed in triumph as he took he first ever WorldTour victory and the first yellow jersey of the 2013 Dauphiné.

Santaromita was quickly closed down by the peloton, which was led by Team Sky once more but, as the bunch rounded the final corners, Meersman managed to jump away and take second place, 1’56” behind Veilleux, with Slagter taking third just behind him.

Result stage 1
1. David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar
2. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 156
3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling @ 1’57”
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky
5. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
6. Angel Madrazo (Spa) Movistar Team
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Astana
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
9. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Leopard
10. Leopold König (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura

Standings after stage 1
1. David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar
2. Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 156
3. Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling @ 1’57”
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky
5. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
6. Angel Madrazo (Spa) Movistar Team
7. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Astana
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team
9. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Leopard
10. Leopold König (Cze) Team NetApp-Endura

 

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