QuickStep scupper Bora-hansgrohe plan for Sam Bennett at Dauphiné

Posted on: June 10th, 2019
Bora-hansgrohe were hoping Sam Bennett could get over the final climb and worked to ensure the breakaway would not make it all the way.

Bora-hansgrohe has said it was working for Sam Bennett on the opening stage of Critérium du Dauphiné until Deceuninck-QuickStep messed it up for them.

The opening stage yesterday took the riders 142km from Aurillac to Jussac, with a cat 1 at the start and repeated climbs thereafter.

Bennett, as expected, climbed much better than the other sprinters in the field.

And on a day when it was always going to be touch a go for him to make it in the lead group, the plan remained on track for a long time.

However, when the racing hit the last climb and the early breakaway was still up the road Deceuninck-QuickStep took it up on the front.

Bora-hansgrohe had ridden very strongly to keep the breakaway under control.

However, when the Belgian squad ripped it up going up the final climb, Bennett was one of the many casualties.

The last of the breakaway men out front looked strong enough for a long time to make it
Edvald Boasson Hagen takes a badly needed win and yellow jersey for Dimension Data

The last of the escapees weren’t caught until they were within touching distance of the line. That paved the way to a sprint from a much reduced peloton won by Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data).

Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-QuickStep) was 2nd with Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) in 3rd place.

Sam Bennett finished 126th in a group 10:46 down. Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) finished safely in the group sprinting for victory, in 48th place.

In the absence of Bennett, his team mate Gregor Mühlberger was 5th and he said afterwards Deceuninck-QuickStep had effectively blown the team’s plan out of the water.

“I think, we showed a strong performance today. We worked for Sam, to bring him into a good position for the final climb,” he said of Bennett.

“When Deceuninck-QuickStep took over control, the race went on fire. I launched an attack but unfortunately it didn’t work out.

“However, I tried and finished in fifth position, Emu crossed the line at the same time, so we have a good position for the GC.”

Bora-hansgrohe sports director said he was struck by how strongly the breakaway had ridden.

“We controlled the race to bring Sam into the bottom of the last tough climb in a good position in case he was able to make it over the top for the sprint, but the pace was too high,” he said.

“After that, Gregor tried and launched an attack, as the breakaway was caught Gregor gave his all and took a strong fifth place. Overall I think we can be satisfied with today’s opening stage.”