Frenchman Vuillermoz grabs Dauphine stage and race lead
Alexis Vuillermoz edged a frantic sprint for the line by five breakaway riders on Monday to take the overall lead in the Criterium du Dauphine.
The five men broke away early in the 170km second stage to Brives-Charensac. They built a lead of nearly four and a half minutes before nursing their shrinking advantage over the final kilometres.
With the charging peloton closing in, Frenchman Olivier Le Gac of Groupama seemed to catch out the other breakaway riders with an early surge for the line.
But Vuillermoz, a Frenchman with TotalEnergies, and Norwegian Anders Skaarseth of Uno-X gave chase and passed inches from the line.
Jumbo’s Wout Van Aert led the pack home five seconds behind, but could not save his overall lead.
The first three on the day picked up enough bonus seconds to move to the top of the standings.
Vuillermoz is three seconds ahead of Skaarseth, four ahead of Le Gac and five clear of Belgian star Van Aert.
At 34, Vuillermoz took the ninth win of a career that includes a 2015 Tour de France stage victory on the Mur de Bretagne.
Tuesday’s 169-kilometre-long third stage is a hilly ride from Saint-Paulien to Chastreix-Sancy.