Criterium du Dauphine 2016: Fabio Aru foils sprinters on stage three

Italian wins solo after ballsy attack on final descent

Fabio Aru (Astana) foiled the sprinters to win stage three of the Criterium du Dauphine with a daring attack on the day’s final descent.

The Italian, preparing to ride his maiden Tour de France next month, made up for losing time in the prologue with a ballsy move, which paid dividends with the stage win.

Having caught earlier attacker Tony Martin, Aru bolted clear with 22km to ride and resisted a late charge from the bunch to earn his first victory of the season.

Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) overcame a late mechanical, meanwhile, to keep hold of the yellow jersey.

Fabio Aru foiled the sprinters with a late race-winning attack on stage three of the Criterium du Dauphine (pic: Sirotti)

Earlier, there was plenty of firepower in the day’s first breakaway with Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and one-time Etixx-QuickStep team-mate Niki Terpstra joined by Dimitri Claeys (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) up the road.

It took some time to get any leeway, but when they were let off the leash the trio made the move stick and took advantage of a tailwind to build a six-minute gap.

Katusha and Cofidis worked hard to bring that gap down, but Cyril Gautier (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Perrig Quemeneur (Direct Energie) bridged across jumped across on the Col du Rouvey.

Terpstra briefly got a gap on the descent, and Quemeneur’s time up the road proved to be brief, but the now four-strong peloton continued to hold a small advantage.

Still it was the sprint teams setting the pace further back, and the race came back together with 26km left to race.

While it appeared set up for a bunch sprint, Martin sensed an opportunity and attacked on the Cote de Secheras, with Aru, Pierre Rolland (Cannondale) and Tsgabu Grmay (Dimension Data) trying to bridge.

Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE), Mikel Landa (Team Sky), Bart de Clercq (Lotto-Soudal) and Steve Morabito (FDJ) also joined the move though the gap never appeared too threatening.

Aru had other ideas, however, and with ten kilometres remaining had forged a solo lead of eight seconds – Martin being caught by the bunch and crashing once he was back in it.

Splits in the bunch appeared as a result of the crash and the frantic chase – and Contador’s mechanical – but El Pistolero returned to the peloton safely.

Aru would not be brought back, however, holding his slender two-second advantage through to the finish line as Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) sprinted for second place.

Criterium du Dauphine 2016: stage three – result

1) Fabio Aru (ITA) – Astana – 4.19.54hrs
2) Alexander Kristoff (NOR) – Katusha +2”
3) Niccolo Bonifazio (ITA) – Trek-Segafredo – ST
4) Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) – Etixx-QuickStep
5) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data
6) Sam Bennett (IRL) – Bora-Argon 18
7) Daryl Impey (RSA) – Orica-GreenEDGE
8) Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) – Cofidis
9) Enrico Gasparotto (ITA) – Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10) Arthur Vichot (FRA) – FDJ

General classification

1) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff – 13.13.10hrs
2) Richie Porte (AUS) – BMC Racing +6”
3) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +13”
4) Daniel Martin (IRL) – Etixx-QuickStep +21”
5) Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) – Etixx-QuickStep +24”
6) Jesus Herrada (ESP) – Movistar +27”
7) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-GreenEDGE +31”
8) Diego Rosa (ITA) – Astana +37”
9) Daniel Navarro (ESP) – Cofidis +43”
10) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek-Segafredo +48”

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