Criterium du Dauphine 2014: Jan Bakelants wins stage six in two-up sprint

Chris Froome keeps yellow jersey despite suffering heavy crash

Jan Bakelants (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) won a two-up sprint with fellow breakaway regular Lieuwe Westra (Astana) to take stage six of the Criterium du Dauphine.

The two were part of a fiercely strong break, attacking in the final 20 kilometres as an enthralling battle ensued between the two.

After working well to earn a sizable lead, a cat-and-mouse chase started as soon as they turned their attentions to the stage.

Jan Bakelants and Lieuwe Westra attacked off the front of a strong breakaway group (pic: Sirotti)

Westra was the aggressor, but could not rid himself of the Belgium who matched him move-for-move in the final few kilometres.

The two slowed, daring each other to lead out what became almost like a track sprint, with Westra again the man to take it up.

Bakelants again, could not be denied however as he picked a fearlessly tight line to pip his rival on the line and earn his first win of the 2014 season.

Further back, Chris Froome (Team Sky) retained the yellow jersey, but it was far from a straight-forward stage for the Kenyan-born Brit after he suffered a big crash.

Once again it had taken some time for a break to establish, but when it did – after 34 kilometres – it was another strong group who earned a gap up the road.

Veteran hard man Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) was once again in the group, as were fellow breakaway specialists Bakelants and Westra.

In all, 15 teams were represented up the road – Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) ensuring Bakelants had company, while Sergio Paulinho (Tinkoff-Saxo) also went up the road, raising suspicions as to Alberto Contador’s intent for the stage. had held ambitions for the stage, with Arnaud Demare in particular keen to make amends for missing out on stage three, but the French team missed the split.

Chris Froome bears the scars of his crash, but the Team Sky man finished safely in the bunch (pic: Sirotti)

Their absence from the break played nicely into Team Sky’s hands though – allowing them a free ride on the front as the French team put men on the front of the bunch to lead the chase.

Up the road, the break’s lead reached a maximum of six minutes but they worked well together throughout to keep a steady advantage.

It was not to last however, the suspicious looks starting as each stared each other down – daring them to make a move.

Pim Ligthart (Lotto-Belisol) was the man to take it up, bursting clear with little more than 20 kilometres to go and hauling Westra with him.

Counter-attacks started immediately, Bakelants making it a three-man group before all took stock, looking over their shoulders and organising the attacking.

Bakelants flicked his elbows at his two companions – getting the response he wanted as the three formed a formidable pursuit line-up at the head of the race.

With Bakelants up the road, Stybar came to the fore in the chase, jumping on every attempted counter-attack as the likes of Jens Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEDGE) tried to bridge the gap.

Back in the bunch,’s stint on the front came to the end, as Sky worked to keep Froome in good position for the tricky, technical descent and uncategorised final climb.

Jan Bakelants celebrates after beating Lieuwe Westra on the line (pic: Sirotti)

Bakelants, Westra and Ligthart stretched their advantage to more than half a minute – Westra upping the pace as they crested the day’s final category-four ascent.

Bakelants stayed comfortably on his wheel, not only keeping tabs with the Volta a Catalunya stage winner but riding straight through to prove he had plenty in his legs.

A cat-and-mouse chase ensued, the two toying with Ligthart who struggled to keep tabs with them.

Further back, there was a big scare for Froome – crashing on the tight, narrow roads and requiring a bike change, the abrasions obvious as he chased back to the bunch.

Though he returned to the bunch with little trouble – the bunch slowing to allow the yellow jersey to rejoin – the longer-term effects of the hit remain to be seen.

Back on the road, however, Bakelants and Westra remained in control with neither shirking their responsibilities on the nose.

Further behind, the crash has been sufficient warning for the GC men to slow the pace and leave the battle for the yellow jersey to the mountainous final weekend which left the two to compete for the stage.

As they hit the tough, uncategorised climbs Westra attacked again but Bakelants could not be shifted – happy to sit on the Dutchman’s wheel as they approached the flamme rouge.


Both had almost reached a standstill at one point as they dared each other to lead out the sprint – though there was no danger of the group catching as Stybar played the spoiler role to perfection further back.

Westra attacked early before the final corner to earn road position, but Bakelants took a fearless line almost pressed against the road barriers as he passed the Dutchman on the line.

The Astana man was left hammering his handlebars in frustration, while Bakelants enjoyed his first victory in Omega Pharma-Quickstep colours.

Voigt led out the sprint for third behind them, but Stybar rounded off a good day for Omega Pharma-Quickstep by winning the kick.

Attention then turned to the peloton, which was led home by Team Sky – Froome able to sprint around the final corner and offer a nod of appreciation to his team-mates, confirming he was not feeling too much of an after-effect from the crash.

It leaves the GC as tight as it was pre-stage ahead of the final two days in the mountains – Froome leading Contador and Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) by just 12 seconds.

Criterium du Dauphine 2014: stage six – result

1) Jan Bakelants (BEL) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep – 4.07.20hrs
2) Lieuwe Westra (NED) – Astana – ST
3) Zdenek Stybar (CZE) – Omega Pharma-Quickstep +24”
4) Pim Ligthart (NED) – Lotto-Belisol – ST
5) Jens Keukeleire (BEL) – Orica-GreenEDGE
6) Jens Voigt (GER) – Trek Factory Racing
7) Maciej Bondar (POL) – Cannondale
8) Bram Tankink (NED) – Belkin Pro Cycling
9) Valerio Conti (ITA) – Lampre-Merida
10) Julien Simon (FRA) – Cofidis

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 23.12.15hrs
2) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff-Saxo +12”
3) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Belkin Pro Cycling – ST
4) Andrew Talansky (USA) – Garmin-Sharp +33”
5) Jurgen van den Broeck (BEL) – Lotto-Belisol +35”
6) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Astana +50”
7) Haimar Zubeldia (ESP) – Trek Factory Racing +1.22
8) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – Astana – ST
9) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-GreenEDGE +1.24
10) Tanel Kangert (EST) – Astana +1.35

Newsletter Terms & Conditions

Please enter your email so we can keep you updated with news, features and the latest offers. If you are not interested you can unsubscribe at any time. We will never sell your data and you'll only get messages from us and our partners whose products and services we think you'll enjoy.

Read our full Privacy Policy as well as Terms & Conditions.