Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) displayed his climbing skills to conquer the highest stage finish in the history of the Critérium du Dauphiné, on Saturday. The Dane dropped all his rivals more than 5 kilometres away from the Col de la Croix de Fer (2,607m above the sea).

A month before the defence of his 2022 victory in the Tour de France – where he won a stage at Col du Granon (2,404m) -, Vingegaard put 41” between his first chaser Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) and himself to increase his lead in the overall standings and comfort his yellow and blue jersey.

Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) completes the podium of the day just ahead of Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën). The final battles of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2023 will lead the riders to Grenoble, where the overall winner will be crowned on the slopes of La Bastille.

A 129-man peloton set off from Porte-de-Savoie to take on the Alpine challenges of the final week-end of the Critérium du Dauphiné 2023.

The stage starts on the flat but the attackers are eager to hit the climbs of the day: they reach the bottom of the ascent to Col de la Madeleine (the first HC climb of the race, with 25.1km of ascent at 6.2%), at km 50, in just under an hour!

Four riders lead the way after they attacked at km 21: Rémi Cavagna (Soudal Quick-Step), Madis Mihkels (Intermarché-Circus-Wantty), Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Dstny).

At the bottom of the climb, Reuben Thompson (Groupama-FDJ), Anthon Charmig (Uno X), Matteo Vercher (Total Energies) and Tobias Bayer (Alpecin Deceuninck) trail by 1 minute. And the gap to the bunch reaches its maximum: 5’45’’.

Campenaerts goes solo
More fireworks are lit on the ascent. Pierre Latour (Total Energies) sets off with his teammate Mathieu Burgaudeau at the bottom of the climb and later joins Matteo Vercher to try and join the leaders.

Meanwhile, Victor Campenaerts drops all his breakaway companions and goes solo over the top of La Madeleine. Anthony Perez trails by 1’, Latour, Charmig and Bayer by 1’25’’… The peloton led at a strong pace by Ineos Grenadiers, summit with a gap of 2’30’’.

As the race travels through the Maurienne Valley, Perez, Charmig and Bayer get together behind Campenaerts while the other chasers are caught. Jonas Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma pulled the bunch.

Jumbo-Visma launch Vingegaard
At the bottom of the climb to Col du Mollard, Campenaerts is 1’55’’ ahead of his chasers while the peloton trail by 3’30’’. After 18.5km with an average gradient of 5.8%, Campenaerts is still at the front… But his lead is down to 15’’.

The Belgian baroudeur takes the time to celebrate at the summit – he’s all but certain to take the polka-dot jersey at the end of the stage. He is caught right at the bottom of the final ascent of the day.

Jumbo-Visma up the ante and Vingegaard attacks with 5.5 kilometres to go. Right behind him, Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) sets his own pace behind the Dane, who steadily increases his lead all the way to the summit.

A tight battle for the podium
Vingegaard wins 41’’ ahead of the Brit. Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) comes 3rd (+54’’), after he accelerated in the last 2 kilometres. He gains a few seconds on his compatriot Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën) and Max Poole

In the overall standings, Yates (2nd, +2’11’’), O’Connor (3rd, +2’24’’) and Hindley (4th, +2’36’’) look set to battle for the podium positions on the way to La Bastille, on Sunday. But it will take an extraordinary coup to overthrow Vingegaard. –

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