The race got off to a fast start with multiple breakaway attempts in the opening ten kilometers before the breakaway formed. Six riders managed to go clear and establish a three-minute gap over the peloton with all CCC Team riders.
The pace in the bunch intensified inside the final 50 kilometers and after cresting the category two Côte de Roquenatou for the first time, the advantage of the leaders was cut to two minutes. On the second ascent of the climb, the race exploded with the GC favorites launching their moves and reducing the bunch to around 60 riders, with Alessandro De Marchi, Joey Rosskopf, Serge Pauwels and Jonas Koch all still present.
Coming into the last 15 kilometers of racing, there were only three riders up the road with a 30-second lead and eventually, they were reeled in inside the flamme rouge. In the end, the race came down to a chaotic sprint in which Koch finished in seventh place behind the stage winner and first overall leader, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data).
Quotes from the Finish Line:
“In the finale, there was a headwind and with two kilometers to go, there was a small descent. I knew that there was no point of going early because it was a small group and the battle for position was not that fierce. At one point, I lost Joey and it got a little bit chaotic but, I was still able to find a good position, just behind Nils Politt and I could do a good sprint. I think I made the most out of my legs today.”
“At the beginning of the last climb, other teams really pushed the pace and I lost contact at first but, I was able to keep my own tempo on the uphill and come back. Basically, I was up there with the best guys the entire day and I’m very happy about it. I haven’t raced for nearly one month and a half after the crash and this was my first race back. I didn’t train at high intensity that much either so, I’m quite happy with my seventh place today.”
Jackson Stewart, Sports Director:
“Unfortunately, Riccardo Zoidl was suffering from allergies today and suffered quite a lot, especially on a difficult opening stage so he lost significant time. It’s a shame as we were hoping to see what he could do on the General Classification but hopefully, his condition improves in the coming days and he can now focus on a good stage result.”
Critérium du Dauphiné
Stage 1:Aurillac > Jussac (142km)
Top 3: 1. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Dimension Data) 2. Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck – Quick Step) 3. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma)
CCC Team Top 3: 7. Jonas Koch 38.Serge Pauwels 51. Joey Rosskopf