Belgium’s Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) seized the stage and overall lead on a hilly second day of the Critérium du Dauphiné, after outsprinting breakaway partner Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Gobert) in Craponne-sur-Arzon.
The pair finished 13 seconds ahead of a main group of favorites, after escaping from a larger breakaway that formed in the final 35km.
Initially numbering twelve, Teuns and Martin dropped the rest of the move on the final classified climb of the day – the cat. 2 Côte de Saint-Victor sur Arlanc, summiting with 18km remaining.
“We were both the strongest on the steep climb,” said Teuns. “I was lucky I had him to help gain the advantage.”
The pair worked together in exemplary fashion to hold off the advancement behind by a key group of contenders. Pulled clear from the peloton by an attack from Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) on the climb, it included such hitters as Chris Froome (Ineos), Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Michael Woods (EF Education First) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana).
But with other notables missing the split, including stage one winner and race leader Edvald Boasson Hagen, Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Dan Martin (UAE-Emirates), Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), Steven Kruijswijk (Jumvo-Visma) and Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First), the group had incentive to maintain its momentum.
Another attack by Pinot on a drag with 5km to go drew out Woods and Fuglsang. But once chased down by Ineos’ Wout Poels, it left the front pair unhassled to contest the finish.
“It was a man on man sprint and I’m super happy I could finish it off,” said Teuns, whose last win came in the 2017 Arctic Race of Norway. “I had to wait almost 24 months to get a victory again. It was a really nice victory.”
While Fuglsang led in the Froome, Pinot and Quintana group at 13 seconds, Bardet, Martin, van Garderen and Kruijswijk lost an additional 31 seconds.
After eight classified climbs littered the route of the stage through the Massif Central, Tuesday’s leg from Le Puy en Velay to Riom is a flatter ride with just four cat. 4 climbs and a flat run-in.