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Critérium du Dauphiné: Brandon McNulty stymied by mechanical in key TT

American loses GC hopes after dropping chain early in TT and drops to 20th at 2:35 back.

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LA BATIE D’URFÉ, France (VN) — Brandon McNulty saw his GC hopes unravel in Wednesday’s individual time trial at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

The American on UAE Team Emirates dropped his chain early in the 31.9km stage on a course that was perfect for him to position himself at the top of the leaderboard.

McNulty was forced to step off his bike, and waved to a team mechanic to help him remount the chain. In the end, McNulty swapped bikes in a mechanical mishap that cost him invaluable time.

McNulty lost all momentum and lost about one minute in the mechanical misfire at a critical part of the race before remounting a spare bike.

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Instead of gaining time Wednesday as expected against some of the top favorites, McNulty gave up valuable minutes that all-but take him out of the GC frame.

McNulty crossed the line in 32nd, and ceded 2:21 to stage-winner Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers). He fell from 10th to 20th at 2:35 back.

It was not how McNulty — who did not stop at the finish line to speak to reporters — hoped the day would have gone.

The 24-year-old came into the Dauphiné with full leadership duties ahead of what is expected to be a return to the Tour de France next month to help Tadej Pogačar.

Even with the mechanical miscue, McNulty managed to limit his losses. He’s about 1:30 behind front-row GC favorites Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard (both Jumbo-Visma).

McNulty can still fight for a stage win or claw his way back into the top-10, but with a fleet of climbers ahead of him, a run at the podium looks complicated.

UAE Emirates’ Juan Ayuso rode well, stopping the clock for 10th on the stage and climbed into eighth overall at 1:48 back.

A mechanical forced McNulty off the bike in Wednesday’s TT. (FranceTV)