There was a moment on the final climb to the summit of the Col de Porte where it appeared that the Ineos team was back to its world-dominating self, as the Burgundy-clad formation went to the front and started driving the pace towards the finish of stage two of this year’s Criterium du Dauphiné. But while Michał Kwiatkowski drove the pace at the front, the team leaders were less impressive. Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome once again simply got dropped, and while 2018 Tour winner Geraint Thomas went to the front, it didn’t last long. And soon Egan Bernal, the Tour’s defending champion, found himself isolated.
Driving the pace at the front instead, was American Sepp Kuss, who was pushing the pace for his Jumbo-Visma team leader Primož Roglič. His tempo immediately intimidated any challengers from attacking and set Roglic up perfectly for a late-race attack that garnered the Dutch powerhouse team its second stage win in two days.
Meanwhile, as the splintered pack made its way up the final climb which hovers above Grenoble, the peloton’s many stragglers struggled to cross the line before a violent hail storm unleashed itself on the finish line. Some, it is safe to say, fared better than others, but the faces of those caught out in the storm told a different story as they crossed the line.