The sprinters get their day on stage 2 of the Dauphine, but only after they reeled in a strong solo attempt by the man from Kazakhstan.
Stage 2: Saint-Chamond to Arlanc, 171km
Arnaud Demare showed a clean pair wheels to his closest rivals to take an emphatic victory on the uphill drag into Arlanc. Perfectly placed by his FDJ leadout team, the Frenchman launched late and fast on the right, surging past Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff and with enough to keep Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) in third. The GC remains unchanged with Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) holding a 48secs advantage.
There were victory gifs aplenty on the FDJ twitter account, and they’ll be overjoyed with this performance by the team just weeks before the Tour. As luck would have it, ‘Nono’ was recently the subject of their excellent Exposure series – enjoy
With 70km to go, the original break of the day in sight and most teams happy with a sprint finale – Astana suddenly came to the front and tore up the climb. The perfect launch pad for young Kazakh talent Alexey Lutsenko to bridge across and re-animate the break. With 30km to go he went solo and the fact he was only caught in the last 3km is testament to his bullish strength and temperament. Chapeau
Full report at Cycling News
Header image: Arnaud Demare © PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images