The 177-kilometer stage was fully controlled by the bunch, which kept the gap to the two early attackers at under four minutes. After entering the final 50 kilometers, the peloton with all seven CCC Team riders was only a minute behind the duo and it was certain that the sprinters’ teams were not going to let their opportunity slip away. The breakaway was caught with 12 kilometers to go and as expected it came down to a mass finish.
In the finale, CCC Team was battling hard for position, with Alessandro De Marchi, Paweł Bernas and Joey Rosskopf helping Koch, the team’s chosen sprinter in the race, find the optimal spot for the fast finish.
The group moved up to the front of the peloton with five kilometers remaining but, as other teams also formed their trains, Koch lost the wheels of his teammates. However, Koch was still able to fight his way to around tenth position inside the flamme rouge but, unfortunately, just before launching his decisive sprint, the CCC Team rider was knocked out of his rhythm and was therefore unable to fully show his sprinting abilities, finishing in 14th place behind stage winner, Sam Bennett (BORA – hansgrohe).
Quotes from the Finish Line:
“My teammates did a great job throughout the entire stage and in the finale Paweł, Joey and Alessandro helped me move up with five kilometers to go and they were setting the pace for me. Unfortunately, in the very end, a rider in front of me cut me off and I had to come around him. It was because of this that I lost my speed and rhythm, and I had to unclip from my pedal. I had to regather the momentum and go again but, at that point, I knew it would be hard to out-sprint the competition.”
“I’m disappointed because if it wasn’t for that incident I think I would have been able to fight for a better result. There are not too many chances for the sprinters in this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné but if another opportunity presents itself I will try to showcase myself again. I’m encouraged with how I rode today and the sensations I had in the closing kilometers so, I remain optimistic.”
Critérium du Dauphiné
Stage 3: Le Puy-en-Velay>Riom (177km)
Top 3: 1. Sam Bennett (Bora hansgrohe) 2. Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo-Visma) 3. Davide Ballerini (Astana Pro Team)
CCC Team Top 3: 14. Jonas Koch 62. Joey Rosskopf 70. Serge Pauwels