Primoz Roglic has taken the habit of riding the Criterium du Dauphiné every even year and after losing the race on the last day in 2020, he came close to be toppled again in the final climb to Plateau des Glieres before securing his second victory in the event with a slim eight-seconds lead over Matteo Jorgenson (Visma-Lease a bike).

The Slovenian, who already won the Dauphiné in 2022, looked in a comfortable position at the start from Thones, but he faltered in the final ascent to a stronghold of the French Resistance during WWII, under attack from Ineos Grenadiers, who managed to snatch the final stage with Carlos Rodriguez.

The Bora-Hansgrohe leader fought hard to salvage his yellow and blue jersey ahead of Paris-Nice winner Jorgenson while Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech) became the first Canadian on the race podium. Italy’s Lorenzo Fortunato (Astana) clinched the polka-dot jersey as the best climber in this 76th edition.

Eleven in the lead
The start was given at 10:26 to 103 riders. Sepp Kuss (Visma-Lease a Bike), Ryan Gibbons (Lidl-Trek), Clement Champoussin (Decathlon-Ag2R), Mark Donovan (Q36.5), Tom Paquot (Intermarché-Wanty) and Harold Tejada (Astana) did not start. Several attempts took place in the 1st category Col de la Forclaz (km 14.2).

Near the top, a group of five emerged, including Bart Lemmen (Visma-Lease a bike), Marc Soler (UAE Emirates), Nicolas Prodhomme (Decathlon-Ag2R), Sean Quinn (EF Education-Easypost), and polka-dot jersey holder Lorenzo Fortunato (Astana). They were chased by Tim Wellens (UAE-Emirates), Bruno Armirail (Decathlon-AG2R), David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ), Omar Fraile (Ineos Grenadiers), Eduardo Sepulveda (Lotto Dstny) and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis). The two groups merged after 25 km.

Fortunato collects KOM points
At the top of La Forclaz, Fortunato added 10 points to his KOM tally and took two more in the follow 3rd category ascent, Col des Esserieux, to lead the best climber’s classification by 10 points at that stage. Six more riders, Pavel Sivakov (UAE), Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Florian Senechal (Arkea), Toms Skujins (Lidl-Trek), Vito Braet (Intermarché) and Tobias Ludvigsson (Q36.5) called it quits in the valley.

At the intermediate sprint (Km 52.7), David Gaudu was in front as the peloton was more than three minutes adrift. The gap reached a maximum of 4:00 in the valley before the Saleve climb (1st cat. Km 103.1) in which Fortunato and Prodhomme were dropped and at the top of which Soler was leading the way.

Roglic falters
The peloton, led by Ineos-Grenadiers, raised the tempo and the gap at the top was down to 2:05 and reached 1:40 with 50 km to go when the British outfit decided to drop the chase. At the bottom of the last climb, the nine leaders only held a 45-seconds advantage on the bunch controlled by Roglic’s team-mates and by an hyperactive Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek). The break disintegrated in the climb while Quinn and Martin tried to go together.

At the back, Ciccone attacked with 8 km to go, caught the escapees and went on his own. But the Italian was reined in three kilometres later, when Laurens de Plus took the reins, with Carlos Rodriguez on his heels. The twofold attack left Roglic staggering and the Slovenian could not react when the two Ineos Grenadiers went with Matteo Jorgenson, Derek Gee and Santiago Buitrago.  The American worked hard with Rodriguez and Gee to increase the gap and led the way in the final stretch, only to be overtaken by Rodriguez on the line. Roglic crossed the line 48 seconds later for a close call GC victory.  

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