Critérium du Dauphiné 2013: stage one - report

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David Veilleux takes emphatic solo victory on stage one of 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné

David Veilleux (Europcar) has won the opening stage of the 2013 Criterium du Dauphine.

The Canadian rode alone for almost the last 50km after shedding his breakaway confederates, Ricardo Garcia (Euskaltel) and Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano).

Veilleux finished nearly two minutes ahead of a bunch kick won by Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), winner of two stages each of the Volta a Catalunya and Tour de Romandie.

David Veilleux celebrates an emphatic solo victory in Champery at the end of the opening stage of the 2013 Criterium du Dauphine

He described his victory, in which he claimed yellow, polka dot, and points jerseys, as a “fantastic feeling”, and his attack, first launched after 3km, as one “worth trying”.

“I started to believe that something would be possible when our breakaway gained more than nine minutes,” said Veilleux.

“But later, it was only in the last 300 metres that I realized I’d won. It’s an enormous satisfaction. It comes from a lot of sacrifices and huge amounts of work. I’m happy that it has all paid off.”

The 121km opening stage started and finished in the Swiss town of Champéry and included four categorised climbs, including the first category, Col du Corbiere, on which Veilleux made his decisive attack after 76km.

An attack from the chasing bunch by world time trial champion, Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), perhaps decided Veilleux on his course, and the Canadian committed fully to his lonely road to victory.

Veilleux led over the following 1381-metre summit of the Pas de Morgins, a category two slope, but with a reduced margin of three minutes. A competent descent, however, helped to defend his lead.

With the Saxo-Tinkoff squad of Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde’s Movistar men massed at the head of the peloton, Veilleux dug deep on the final climb of the day to the 993-metre summit finish at Champéry.

David Veilleux collected almost every award going in Champéry, including the most important: the yellow jersey of race leader

The victory is hugely important to the French Pro Continental team, despite the irony of its coincidence with the first visit of the race to Switzerland.

Team manager, Jean-René Bernaudeau, has sent his A-list squad to the race, headed by Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland.

All of the favourites finished safely in the bunch, with Britain’s Chris Froome the first of them home, finishing fifth after being led home safely at the front of a charging peloton by Sky team-mate, Richie Porte.

Tomorrow’s 191km second stage from Chatel to Oyonnax takes in six categorised climbs.

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Criterium du Dauphine 2013: stage one – result

1) David Veilleux (CAN) – Europcar – 3.17.35
2) Gianni Meermsan (BEL) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep) +1.56
3) Tom Jelte Slagter (NED) – Blanco Pro Cycling +1.57
4) Richie Porte (AUS) – Team Sky
5) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky
6) Angel Ruiz (ESP) – Movistar
7) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – Astana
8) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar
9) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – Radioshack-Leopard
10) Leopold Konig (CZE) – NetApp-Endura

General classification

1) David Veilleux (CAN) – Europcar – 3.17.35
2) Gianni Meermsan (BEL) – Omega Pharma-QuickStep) +1.56
3) Tom Jelte Slagter (NED) – Blanco Pro Cycling +1.57
4) Richie Porte (AUS) – Team Sky
5) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky
6) Angel Ruiz (ESP) – Movistar
7) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – Astana
8) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar
9) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – Radioshack-Leopard
10) Leopold Konig (CZE) – NetApp-Endura

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