Gregor Mühlberger finishes in a strong fifth place on Critérium du Dauphiné opener
The 71st edition of the Critérium du Dauphiné started today in Aurillac with a 142 km undulating stage. Five categorised climbs, one shortly before the finale, awaited the riders before they had to tackle two final laps in Jussac.
After some kilometres of racing a group of six riders built the day’s break, while BORA – hansgrohe took over the pace back in the peloton. The time difference was more than three minutes for the escapees with 69 km to go. Especially Cesare Benedetti and Shane Archbold pulled hard at the front of the bunch nearly the whole race.
The race headed onto the final laps, as the breakaway still had a gap of around one minute. Team Deceuninck – Quick-Step increased the pace and therefore some sprinters, also Sam Bennett, couldn’t follow the reduced peloton on the final tough ascent.
Approaching the finale, Gregor Mühlberger launched an attack and tried to bridge across but unfortunately the main bunch closed the gap. The race went on fire as the trio at the front was caught with 600 metres to go, with Gregor Mühlberger and Emanuel Buchmann in the first positions of the pack. In an exciting finish, the Austrian crossed the line in a strong fifth place, teammate Buchmann took 11thplace on today’s opener.
01 E. Boassen Hagen 3:24:33
02 P. Gilbert +0:00
03 W. van Aert +0:00
05 G. Mühlberger +0:00
11 E. Buchmann +0:00
From the Finish Line
“I think, we showed a strong performance today. We worked for Sam, to bring him into a good position for the final climb. When Deceuninck – Quick Step 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.” – Gregor Mühlberger
“It was a really strong breakaway today. 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. 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.” – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director