Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), 41, won the sixth stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné, this Friday in Sappey-en-Chartreuse, on a day in which the Kazakh Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) took the leader’s jersey, before of the last two mountain stages.
Valverde gave the winning shot in a high finish, prevailing in a first peloton of about 20 cyclists. The Spaniard chased and went back in the last meters to the British Tao Geoghegan Hart, winner of the 2020 Giro, who had escaped from the group.
Valverde, world champion in 2018, won the Dauphiné twice, in 2008 and 2009. “A victory is always special. I tried to do a regular sprint and I gave it my all when I saw the finish line ”, explained Valverde, who has 132 victories as a professional since he debuted two decades ago.
The Spanish legend has not won a World Tour (first division) race since achieving a stage of the 2019 Vuelta a España.
«Winning again is something incredible. The truth is that what I am capable of doing is special. To be among the best, to dispute the victories … », added Valverde.
After Geoghegan Hart, two riders from the Bora team, the Austrian Patrick Konrad (3rd) and the Dutchman Wilco Kelderman (4th).
In general, Lutsenko is now 8 seconds ahead of the Spanish Ion Izaguirre, his teammate in the Astana team. Lukas Pöstlberger of Austria lost the leader’s jersey by failing to keep up with the best at Col de Porte.
«It was the objective of the day. I’ve had the hardest day of the week. I will try to fight for the general classification, but the climbs will be longer tomorrow, I think they are better for Ion Izaguirre, “said Lutsenko.
None of the favorites for the final podium wasted time in this appetizer stage of the two most difficult of the race.
American Lawson Craddock, survivor of a 14-runner break that was formed at a very fast start of the stage (100 km in two hours), was left alone at Col de Porte, 21 kilometers from the finish line, but was reached 3 from the end.
This Saturday the seventh stage will be held, of 171.1 kilometers between Saint-Martin-le-Vinoux (Isère) and La Plagne (Savoy), and which has two ports out of category.
The finish line is in La Plagne, in the ski resort, and it is reached after an ascent of 17.1 kilometers (at 7.5%). The winner will raise his arms to 2,072 meters of altitude, the highest point of the race.