Make it two stage wins for Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma) in the Critérium du Dauphiné 2023, and three for the French stars! With his yellow and blue jersey on his shoulders, the leader of overall standings dominated the sprint of Le Coteau on Tuesday, after Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) won stage 2 on the day before.

This is the first time since 1960 that French riders win the first three stages of the Critérium du Dauphiné. In the final run-in to the line, Laporte got the best of the pure sprinters Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AlUla).

But the two of them were relegated after the stage. Laporte also strengthens his overall lead on the eve of a 31.1km time trial from Cours to Belmont-de-la-Loire.

The 141-man peloton start from Monistrol-sur-Loire at noon. And two riders immediately get on the move: Mathieu Burgaudeau (Total Energies) sets off, Lorenzo Milesi (Team DSM) follows him.

They quickly open a gap of 1’55’’ but the Italian youngster doesn’t keep up with his effort after 15km. Burgaudeau is alone at the front. And his lead reaches a maximum of 6’05’’ at km 30.

Dylan Groenewegen’s Jayco AlUla and Sam Bennett’s Bora-Hansgrohe are the first teams to move to the front of the bunch to control the stage. Attacks fly again on the first ascent of the day, the cat-2 Côte de Bellevue-la-Montagne (summit at km 40.9).

Burgaudeau goes first at the summit, and Pierre Latour (Total Energies) follows to take 3 points. But Donavan Grondin’s polka-dot jersey remains out of reach after the youngster from Arkéa Samsic claimed 7 points in the first two stages.

Alaphilippe tries to upset Laporte

With a hardened pace, the peloton only trail by 4 minutes at the summit. Some teams try to create splits in the bunch. But everybody is vigilant and the situation settles down. Burgaudeau waits for the peloton and is caught at km 69. From there, a bunched pack makes its way to the finish in Le Coteau, with a short neutralisation to go past a protest at km 91.

Soudal Quick-Step and Julian Alaphilippe try to make the most of the intermediate sprint. The Frenchman is 2nd in the overall standings, with the same time as Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma)… But he also takes the second place in Sainte-Foy-Saint-Sulpice (km 139.5), behind Christophe Laporte (Jumbo-Visma), who snatches 3 bonus seconds (vs 2 for Alaphilippe).

Bennett tries, Laporte succeeds

Many riders hit the deck with a mass crash 48 kilometres away from the line. Andrey Zeits (Qazaqstan) is forced to abandon while riders such as Alaphilippe, Matteo Jorgenson (Movistar) and Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates) gradually make their way back to the bunch.

The sprinters survive the final ascent of the day, the cat-4 Côte de Pinay, summited with 18.5 km to go. The sprinters survive the climb and fly to a high-speed battle in Le Coteau. Alaphilippe suffers a mechanical with 7km to go but he manages to get back 3.5km before the finish.

Bora-Hansgrohe launches the sprint for Sam Bennett but the Irish star falters in the final 50 metres. Christophe Laporte seizes this opportunity to claim his second stage win in the CritĂ©rium du DauphinĂ© 2023. –

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