Rabobank’s Ten Dam takes Critérium opener

Those no-hope breakaways that inevitably get reeled in within sight of the finish line seem to be working more these days. Some say it’s a sign that the peloton is cleaning up and that attacking riders have more chances of winning. Others insist it’s business as usual, at least tactically, and that sometimes breakaways work, but usually not.

By Andrew Hood

Ten Dam holds them off.

Ten Dam holds them off.

Photo: Graham Watson

Those no-hope breakaways that inevitably get reeled in within sight of the finish line seem to be working more these days.

Some say it’s a sign that the peloton is cleaning up and that attacking riders have more chances of winning. Others insist it’s business as usual, at least tactically, and that sometimes breakaways work, but usually not.

Saturday’s 193km first stage of the two-day, three-stage Critérium International in France saw unsung journeyman Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) hold on after a heroic, all-day breakaway to win just 10 seconds ahead of the fast-charging, busted-up peloton.

Ten Dam spent much of the day on his own.

Ten Dam spent much of the day on his own.

Photo: Graham Watson

“I told my teammates I was going to do something today. I felt like I had good legs, so that’s why I attacked so soon,” Ten Dam told “I really pushed hard for the win, because on several occasions I have been overhauled in the final few hundred meters before the finish line. I thought about it and said to myself, ‘not this time.’”

American Ian McKissik (BMC) joined Ten Dam just 2km into the hilly course to Charleville-Mézières in northeast France and the pair built up a huge 17-minute lead at 64km.

Ten Dam's effort and the wind fractured the peloton

Ten Dam’s effort and the wind fractured the peloton

Photo: Graham Watson

The team’s left the chase too late, which had major consequences for several pre-race favorites who lost contact as the peloton busted up into three groups in the high-speed pursuit in the closing 50km.

With the gap falling quickly to under two minutes with 23km to go, McKissik faded back to the main pack after securing the best climber’s jersey for the day’s efforts, probably believing the effort was doomed.

As Ten Dem kept taking digs, the peloton chased harder, which caused the pack to crack under the pressure over the bumpy course in France’s Ardennes region.

Such riders as 2005 winner Bobby Julich (CSC), Dave Zabriskie (Slipstream-Chipotle), Sandy Casar (FDJeux), Kim Kirchen (High Road) all lost more than six minutes (more than 12 minutes for Kirchen) and torpedoed their chances for overall victory.

Only 33 riders made it in with the main pack, led by Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJeux) ahead of Mirco Lorenzetto (Lampre).

Team CSC put five of its men in the front group, including the Schleck brothers and three-time winner Jens Voigt.

Many top contenders missed the lead group

Many top contenders missed the lead group

Photo: Graham Watson

Others well positioned in the elite group were David Millar and Trent Lowe (Slipstream-Chipotle), Alejandro Valverde and Luís León Sánchez (Caisse d’Epargne), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

With the lead at 1:30 with 12.5km after the day’s final climb, the sprinters were sharpening their knives in the looming pack.

Ten Dam — a 27-year-old whose lone win in his five-year pro career was a time trial — kept pouring it on.

He carried a 20-second lead into the final kilometer and that would be just enough to win after riding 191km in a breakaway by 10 seconds.

Chalk one up for the dreamers. Sunday’s two-stage finale might see reality come crashing back down.

The morning 98km road stage is a hilly profile with a summit finish while the race concludes with a short, technical individual time trial in the afternoon.

Photo Gallery


Stage 1
1. Laurens Ten Dam (Nl), Rabobank, at 4:50:04 (39.9kph)
2. Benoit Vaugrenard (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 0:10
3. Mirco Lorenzetto (I), Lampre, at 0:10, at
4. Jerome Pineau (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 0:10
5. Sebastian Schwager (G), Milram, at 0:10
6. Kevin Ista (B), Agritubel, at 0:10
7. Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus), CSC, at 0:10
8. Egoi Martinez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:10
9. Frank Schleck (Lux), CSC, at 0:10
10. Danilo Wyss (Swi), BMC, at 0:10
11. Andriy Grivko (Ukr), Milram, at 0:10
12. Tom Leezer (Nl), Rabobank, at 0:10
13. Jussi Veikkanen (Fin), Francaise des Jeux, at 0:10
14. Alejandro Valverde (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 0:10
15. Jens Voigt (G), CSC, at 0:10
16. Luis León Sánchez (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 0:10
17. Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr), Ag2r, at 0:10
18. Alexandre Moos (Swi), BMC, at 0:10
19. Gustav Erik Larsson (S), CSC, at 0:10
20. Maxime Monfort (B), Cofidis, at 0:10
21. Iouri Trofimov (Rus), Bouygues Telecom, at 0:10
22. Bert Grabsch (G), High Road, at 0:10
23. Paul Martens (G), Rabobank, at 0:10
24. David Millar (G), Slipstream-Chipotle, at 0:10
25. Stef Clement (Nl), Bouygues Telecom, at 0:10
26. Trent Lowe (Aus), Slipstream-Chipotle, at 0:10
27. Elia Rigotto (I), Milram, at 0:10
28. Mikel Astarloza (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 0:10
29. Robert Gesink (Nl), Rabobank, at 0:10
30. Damiano Cunego (I), Lampre, at 0:10
31. Peter Velits (Svk), Milram, at 0:10
32. Paolo Tiralongo (I), Lampre, at 0:10
33. Andy Schleck (Lux), CSC, at 0:10
34. David Garcia (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 0:10
35. Michael Blaudzun (Dk), CSC, at 2:13
36. Angelo Furlan (I), Credit Agricole, at 2:13
37. Sebastien Chavanel (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 5:16
38. Albert Timmer (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 6:51
39. Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn), Skil-Shimano, at 6:51
40. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), Credit Agricole, at 6:51
41. Aitor Hernández (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 6:51
42. Thierry Huppond (F), Skil-Shimano, at 6:51
43. Patrick Calcagni (Swi), Barloworld, at 6:51
44. Jean-Patrick Nazon (F), Ag2r, at 6:51
45. Kevin Neirynck (B), Landbouwkrediet, at 6:51
46. Felix Rafael Cárdenas (Col), Barloworld, at 6:51
47. Christophe Laurent (F), Slipstream-Chipotle, at 6:51
48. Julien El Farès (F), Cofidis, at 6:51
49. Sebastian Siedler (G), Skil-Shimano, at 6:51
50. Matej Jurco (Svk), Milram, at 6:51
51. Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr), Francaise des Jeux, at 6:51
52. Jorge Azanza (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 6:51
53. Mike Sayers (USA), BMC, at 6:51
54. Bobby Julich (USA), CSC, at 6:51
55. Benoit Salmon (F), Agritubel, at 6:51
56. David Herrero (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 6:51
57. Inigo Landaluze (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 6:51
57. Piet Rooijakkers (Nl), Skil-Shimano, at 6:51
59. Martin Kohler (Swi), BMC, at 6:51
60. Iban Velasco Murillo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 6:51
61. Geoffroy Lequatre (F), Agritubel, at 6:51
62. Christophe Rinero (F), Agritubel, at 6:51
63. Nicki Sørensen (Dk), CSC, at 6:51
64. Imanol Erviti (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 6:51
65. Grischa Niermann (G), Rabobank, at 6:51
66. Leonardo Duque (Col), Cofidis, at 6:51
67. Sandy Casar (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 6:51
68. Mathieu Drujon (F), Caisse d’Epargne, at 6:51
69. Guillaume Levarlet (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 6:51
70. Pietro Caucchioli (I), Credit Agricole, at 6:51
71. Theo Eltink (Nl), Rabobank, at 6:51
72. Simon Gerrans (Aus), Credit Agricole, at 6:51
73. Christophe Edaleine (F), Ag2r, at 6:51
74. Gustavo Cesar Veloso (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 6:51
75. Dominik Roels (G), Milram, at 6:51
76. Rick Flens (Nl), Rabobank, at 6:51
77. Damien Monier (F), Cofidis, at 6:51
78. Delio Fernandez Cruz (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 6:51
79. Sergio Ghisalberti (I), Milram, at 6:51
80. Cyril Dessel (F), Ag2r, at 6:51
81. Frantisek Rabon (Cze), High Road, at 6:51
82. Mickael Buffaz (F), Cofidis, at 6:51
83. Ian McKissick (USA), BMC, at 6:51
84. Clement Lhotellerie (F), Skil-Shimano, at 6:51
85. Kilian Patour (F), Slipstream-Chipotle, at 6:51
86. Magnus Backstedt (S), Slipstream-Chipotle, at 6:51
87. Chris Froome (Kya), Barloworld, at 6:51
88. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus), Credit Agricole, at 6:51
89. Christian Pfannberger (A), Barloworld, at 6:51
90. Florent Brard (F), Cofidis, at 6:51
91. Jerome Coppel (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 6:51
92. Vincent Jerome (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 6:51
93. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor), High Road, at 6:51
94. Remi Pauriol (F), Credit Agricole, at 6:51
95. Matteo Bono (I), Lampre, at 6:51
96. Mauro Santambrogio (I), Lampre, at 6:51
97. Francesco Bellotti (I), Barloworld, at 6:51
98. David Zabriskie (USA), Slipstream-Chipotle, at 6:51
99. Bert Scheirlinckx (B), Landbouwkrediet, at 6:51
100. Giampaolo Cheula (I), Barloworld, at 6:51
101. Alberto Losada (Sp), Caisse d’Epargne, at 6:51
102. Matthieu Sprick (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 6:51
103. Nicolas Vogondy (F), Agritubel, at 6:51
104. Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz), Credit Agricole, at 6:51
105. Mathieu Perget (F), Caisse d’Epargne, at 6:51
106. Nicolas Portal (F), Caisse d’Epargne, at 6:51
107. Stephane Goubert (F), Ag2r, at 6:51
108. Johann Tschopp (Swi), Bouygues Telecom, at 6:51
109. Yann Huguet (F), Cofidis, at 6:51
110. Jimmy Casper (F), Agritubel, at 6:51
111. Emilien-Benoit Berges (F), Agritubel, at 12:40
112. Benjamin Gourgue (B), Landbouwkrediet, at 12:4o
113. Jonathan Garcia (USA), BMC, at 12:40
114. John-Lee Augustyn (RSA), Barloworld, at 12:40
115. Roberto Longo (I), Lampre, at 12:40
116. Sylvain Calzati (F), Ag2r, at 12:40
117. Tony Martin (G), High Road, at 12:40
118. Hubert Dupont (F), Ag2r, at 12:40
119. Yukihiro Doi (Jpn), Skil-Shimano, at 12:40
120. Jesús Cobelo Fojo (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 12:40
121. Kim Kirchen (Lux), High Road, at 12:40
122. Fabien Bacquet (F), Skil-Shimano, at 12:40
123. John Gadret (F), Ag2r, at 12:40
124. Darren Lill (RSA), BMC, at 12:40
125. Steve Bovay (Swi), BMC, at 12:40
126. Brett Lancaster (Aus), Milram, at 12:40
127. Adam Hansen (Aus), High Road, at 12:40
128. Dirk Bellemakers (Nl), Landbouwkrediet, at 12:40
129. Giovanni Bernaudeau (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 12:40
130. Fabien Patanchon (F), Caisse d’Epargne, at 12:40
131. Timothy Duggan (USA), Slipstream-Chipotle, at 12:40
132. Maryan Hary (F), Cofidis, at 12:40
133. Craig Lewis (USA), High Road, at 12:40
134. Josu Agirre Aseginolaza (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 12:40
135. Gerald Ciolek (G), High Road, at 12:40
136. Ian Stannard (G), Landbouwkrediet, at 12:40
137. Jeremy Roy (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 12:40
138. Mikel Gaztanaga Echeverria (Sp), Agritubel, at 12:40
139. Carlos Castano (Sp), Karpin Galicia, at 12:40
140. Pierre Rolland (F), Credit Agricole, at 12:40
141. Steven Kleynen (B), Landbouwkrediet, at 12:40
142. Dimitri Champion (F), Bouygues Telecom, at 12:40
143. Thomas Peterson (USA), Slipstream-Chipotle, at 22:01