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Kennaugh Steals Stage One from the Sprinters

British champion Peter Kennaugh won the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphine, showing great skills as a finisseur into Albertville.

There may be a better photograph later.
There may be a better photograph later.
Susie Hartigan, PDC

The break went early enough on this short 132 kilometre stage, containing just one Europcar rider, Romain Guillemois, an MTN in Daniel Teklehaimanot, a Bora hope in the shape of Bjorn Thurau and the only World Tour rider there, Maarten Wynants, from the weak Yellow Lotto.  There wasn't much excitement in the early kilometres, with Cannondale-Garmin setting the pace for the defending champion Andrew Talansky as Teklehaimanot swallowed up the early climbs, seeking out the handsome red-and-white polkadotted jersey. However, the gap was never threatening, so Thurau got bored of his three passengers and accelerated up the penultimate passage of the Côte du Villard, dragging Teklehaimanot with him with twenty-eight kilometres to go.

Back in the peloton, the going was not panicked until Tony Martin moved to the front, looking after his leader Alaphilippe. It was still a large group, and Teklehaimanot and Thurau had a slim chance, The German and the Eritrean sharing the work evenly on the flat and the gap was not tumbling with seventeen kilometres to go, sticking pretty stationary at one minute and twenty-eight seconds as the peloton were still not panicking, spread across the road, with none of the sprinters teams taking control.

As the (cow)bell rang for the last lap with 15 kilometres to go they still had one minute and twenty, with one passage of the climb to go and a flat run in. Finally, the sprinters teams moved to the front, in Cofidis, somewhat symbolically sending one rider, but still the gap began to fall, under a minute.

The peloton hit the climb, and there were some real accelerations. Tony Martin was the first to move, and he dragged Daniel Oss, as Adam Yates and Tim Wellens followed. Oss immediately went over the top of Martin, and overwhelmed Teklehaimanot. Thurau was out in front, as Oss' companions were recaptured.

Grivko, Kennaugh, Izagirre and Marcel Wyss were the next to blink, as they soon caught the BMC rider, with the gap miniscule to the peloton, but Thurau was still twenty seconds ahead of the Tony Martin-led main group.

Thurau was now out of the saddle, sprinting along, as more teams moved to the front as they realised "huh, my sprinter is here." and the gap fell to just fifteen seconds with five kilometres left.

Cofidis, Orica, MTN and Etixx were setting the pace. Thurau fell back to the chase group. Kennaugh attacked as the gap fell below ten seconds. No one could respond as he went solo through two kilometres to go, in his white British champion's jersey. Oss tried to respond, but dangled behind Kennaugh. He was soon recaptured as the British champion moved into the last five hundred metres.

The sprinters sprinted, the lead out men lead out, including Kennaugh's compatriot Yates, but no one could catch the Manxman. He had time to raise his arms as he took the stage by two seconds from the peloton and Sacha Modolo, and went into the yellow jersey.

1. GBR Peter Kennaugh SKY 3:06:41
2. ITA Sacha Modolo LAM á 2"
3. NOR Edvald Boasson Hagen MTN "
4. BEL Tiesj Benoot LTS "
5. AUS Simon Gerrans OGE "
6. FRA Nacer Bouhanni COF "
7. AUS Jay McCarthy TCS "
8. SPA Alejandro Valverde MOV "
9. FRA Samuel Dumoulin ALM "
10. FRA Cyril Gautier EUR "


Yellow: Peter Kennaugh

Red-White: Daniel Teklehaimanot

Green: Peter Kennaugh

White: Tiesj Benoot