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Critérium du Dauphiné

Page sprints to 6th, Bakelants (8th) caught in the final 100m

It was a close call for the breakaway with Jan Bakelants in the fifth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné, as they almost resisted to a sprinting peloton this Thursday.

A group of five riders escaped on top of the Col des Escorbans, the first of four categorized climbs of the day, under the impetus of the Belgian rider. Bakelants was first on the top and also won the intermediate sprint in Chauffailles, before the breakaway lost one unit after the Côte de Dun with 100 kilometer to go.

Nevertheless, the leading group continued working well together and maintained a 2 minute gap before the two last climbs within the final 20 kilometer. The quartet rode under the red flag introducing the last kilometer with an advantage of of 10 seconds and launched the sprint, with Hugo Page battling for a good position in the peloton behind. 

Bakelants was caught with 100 meter to go and crossed the line in eight position. His 20 year old teammate Page finished fifth, obtaining his third top ten in this Dauphiné. 

This Friday Page will wear the green points jersey of owner Van Aert, who is racing in the yellow jersey as leader in the general classification.

« Today was with no doubt the last opportunity for the pure sprinters, so I expected that several teams were interested in controlling the race and organizing a bunch sprint. Thanks to the resistance of Jan Bakelants and his breakaway companions, the climbs in the final were ridden at a high pace, skimming the peloton and eliminating several sprinters. This perfect scenario for me enabled me to be in the mix for the win like in the two first stages. I’m happy with the opportunity to show my fast legs in this Dauphiné and really proud to wear the green jersey tomorrow. From now on, I will give everything for our climbers in the last three stages. In the next couple of months I want to continue developing myself as a rider on all terrains and learning as much as possible, hoping to finish my first season in the pro ranks with a victory. »

« The profile of this fifth stage suited me, so I absolutely wanted to try something today. I won the first KOM sprint and continued with two other riders. We could never really benefit from a large advantage and because of the headwind in the final, we did not stand a high chance against the peloton. On top of the last climb the gap with the peloton was only one minute anymore, but thanks to a downhill full gas we could still hope for the victory. Benjamin Thomas launched the sprint with 400 meter to go, which was perfect for me as I’m not very explosive. I passed him but at the same time I was overtaken by the first riders of the peloton, which was of course frustrating. I was very close to a second success at the Dauphiné, eight years after my stage win. It would have been a nice performance, because the Dauphiné is a big event and it would have been a new high in my career »



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