With a hilly first part of the parcours, the task of going clear was not an easy one and it took many attempts to form the breakaway of the day. Eventually, 13 riders managed to pull away, including De Marchi and some GC favorites and for that reason, the peloton didn’t want to give the attackers too much space.
The escape was held on a short leash and the biggest gap of the day was 1’50” on the top of category three Cote de Cheylade after 46 kilometers. De Marchi was one of the most aggressive riders in the front as he was battling against Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick Step) for KOM points and with less than 90 kilometers to go, he attacked together with four other riders.
Unfortunately, that move was neutralized and later, the Italian was not able to respond to further attacks and was caught by the bunch with 42 kilometers remaining, by which point the leaders had an advantage of only 50 seconds.
With 35 kilometers to go, everything came back together and the catch sparked a new move featuring CCC Team with Bernas and Pauwels attacking and opening a 50-second lead.
The Polish rider did everything he could to help his Belgian teammate and after this effort, Bernas lost contact with the leaders. Soon after, Pauwels was in difficulty after a strong acceleration on the uphill by Guillaume Martin (Wanty – Gobert) and Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Merida), while behind in the peloton, the field exploded after a string of fierce attacks from the GC favorites.
In the end, Teuns took the win and Pauwels was the first CCC Team rider across the line, in 24th place.
Unfortunately, Riccardo Zoidl had to withdraw from the race due to allergies which he has been suffering from in the past days.
Quotes from the Finish Line
Alessandro De Marchi
On paper it was a good day for a breakaway but, with GC guys in the leading group it was clear that it would be hard until the finish. In situations like this you just have to stay up there and hope that something changes. That didn’t happen today but, I was happy to be in the break, even if my shape was not good enough to compete against the top GC riders.
At first I wanted to go for a KOM jersey but, Alaphilippe had a similar plan and it was almost impossible to beat him in the sprints. When the four riders attacked from our group I waited for Deceuninck – Quick Step to follow them but, I realized they were not interested in it and were waiting for the bunch. Because of that, I was late with the chase and when I finally managed to bridge across I didn’t have the legs to follow new attacks and decided to sit up. Overall, it was a good day which will help me improve my form in the future. I lost some time in the General Classification so, I’m not a threat in the overall standings and I will keep trying in the next stages.
That move was not planned at all. When I saw that the break was about to be caught and the road was going up, I decided that it was a good moment. If I waited until the last climb, I would have had to battle against the top GC guys.
I was the first one to make a move and we went clear with three or four guys. When Paweł bridged it was really good for us as we were able to get a nice gap. In the descent there was a split and he was caught up in the second part but it was an impressive performance from him, because he’s one of the big guys and on the terrain like this it’s not easy.
I must say I didn’t feel that well today, my legs were not super as I suffered from the cold weather. This race is all about looking for opportunities and this is the way I like to race. I just need those few percentages of improvement in my form and then I think I can be up there until the end.
Critérium du Dauphiné
Stage 2: Mauriac>Craponne-sur-Arzon (180km)
Top 3: Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Merida) 2. Guillaume Martin (Wanty – Gobert) 3. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)
CCC Team Top 3: 25. Serge Pauwels 44. Joey Rosskopf 47. Paweł Bernas