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Cycling Weekly
Cycling Weekly
Tom Thewlis

Christophe Laporte doubles up at Critérium du Dauphiné with 'unexpected' stage three win

Christophe Laporte

Christophe Laporte outfoxed the pure sprinters to grab an "unexpected" second stage victory in three days at the Critérium du Dauphiné, despite not targeting the win.

As the peloton thundered into Le Coteau on Tuesday afternoon, multiple riders were held up in a series of small crashes that rippled through the main field in the dash for the line. Wearing the yellow jersey of the race leader, Laporte was forced to go up against a Bora-Hansgrohe sprint train looking to tee up Sam Bennett.  

The Irishman launched his sprint with 200-metres to go, but Laporte was locked into his back wheel and rocketed through space left open by Bennett to steal the victory on the line. Behind the duo, Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-AIUla) grabbed third place, although was clearly unhappy with Bennett’s movement in the sprint.

Groenewegen and Bennett were both subsequently relegated from the sprint for deviating from their line. 

Speaking after the stage, Laporte said his second-victory of the week-long stage race was an “unexpected” surprise.

“I was looking forward to the sprint,” Laporte said. “Obviously I wasn’t going to be fast enough to beat the likes of Sam Bennett or Groenewegen, you would have thought, but then again Groenewegen was blocked on the left and I was able to take the other side. So it was unexpected but I’m very happy.”

The Frenchman explained that in the chaotic finale - which saw overall second placed Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) held up by a puncture - Jumbo-Visma’s aim had been to ensure that their team leader, Jonas Vingegaard, was protected from any incidents on the road and that sprinting for the win wasn’t originally the plan.

“We were protecting Vingegaard out there, it was not about a lead out,” he added. “I enjoyed it like that, all in around Jonas, and then I could benefit from that work out there. I just followed the quick guys, I was blocked with about 500 metres to go so I thought it was finished, then it just opened up and the door came open for me and I was able to finish, so it was a good day for me.”

Laporte won stage one of this year's race in Chambon-sur-Lac (Image credit: Getty Images)

Laporte’s victory, his second win of the week after he took the honours on stage one in Chambon-sur-Lac, meant that he has now extended his overall race lead with bonus seconds accrued on the stage.

The Jumbo-Visma rider now leads yesterday’s winner Alaphilippe by 11 seconds with Richard Carapaz (EDF Education-EasyPost) in third overall at 17 seconds.

Despite proving that he is entering a rich vein of form ahead of the fast-approaching Tour de France, Laporte explained that he expected to lose the race lead on stage four’s time trial.

"I like short time trials, but this is a long one. I think it will be very hard for me to hold on to the yellow jersey."

Wednesday’s stage four is a 31.1 kilometre time trial between Cours and Belmont-de-la-Loire.  

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