Third time is a charm for Sonny Colbrelli
While Sonny Colbrelli won the sprint of the main bunch at the end of the first two stages of the Critérium du Dauphiné, he only secured 2nd place behind a solo stage winner at both occasions. At the end of the third stage the peloton finally got to sprint for the win, and once again Team Bahrain Victorious’s fast Italian was the first rider to cross the finish line.
The Critérium du Dauphiné traditionally is a popular test for the Tour de France. The overall standings of this eight-stage race are likely to be decided on the conclusive weekend with mountaintop finishes in La Plagne and Les Gets, respectively. Before that, the race features a number of stages in hilly terrain that offer some chances for the fast sprinters to shine. As the list of strong sprinters at this race is pretty short, there are plenty of opportunities for breakaways to make it to the finish as well. This showed at the end of the opening stage when a rider attacked late from the breakaway to get the stage win. And the same thing happened in the finale of the second stage: With Austria's Lukas Pöstlberger, a strong rider attacked from the breakaway with 17 kilometers to go and stayed up front all the way to the finish. Eleven seconds later Sonny Colbrelli again won the sprint of the peloton by a seizable margin, securing 2nd place and moving into the lead of the points classification.
In the third stage, only two riders formed the breakaway of the day, so it was easier for the peloton to keep things under control. As a consequence the last attacker was caught with 21.7 kilometers to go, and from there the finale was fast and frantic: Due to a crash the peloton was split into two parts only to merge shortly before the finish. The last two kilometers were all uphill, and the speed was high. In this situation Sonny Colbrelli could rely on the support of Team Bahrain Victorious before latching himself onto the wheels of some strong rivals. The first rider to jump with 300 meters to go was Alex Aranburu, but Colbrelli reacted right away and swiftly closed the gap to the Basque rider. Using the latter's slipstream to his full advantage, Sonny Colbrelli sprinted to an undisputed stage win - his second personal win of the season after winning a stage at the Tour de Romandie and the eighth victory of the season for Team Bahrain Victorious.
The Critérium du Dauphiné continues with a hilly individual time trial over a distance of 16.4 kilometers tomorrow. From the perspective of Team Bahrain Victorious, the focus shifts to Jack Haig and Dylan Teuns as the two designated captains for the overall standings.
73RD CRITÉRIUM DU DAUPHINÉ
STAGE 3: LANGEAC - SAINT-HAON-LE-VIEUX, 172.2KM
1. Sonny Colbrelli, ITA/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 3:56.36 hours
2. Alex Aranburu, ESP, st
3. Brandon McNulty, USA, st
STAGE 2: BRIOUDE - SAUGUES, 172.8KM
1. Lukas Pöstlberger, AUT, in 4:25.20 hours
2. Sonny Colbrelli, ITA/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, + 0.11
3. Alejandro Valverde, ESP, st