Criterium du Dauphine 2017: Koen Bouwman wins stage three as breakaway foils sprinters - Road Cycling UK

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Criterium du Dauphine 2017: Koen Bouwman wins stage three as breakaway foils sprinters

Dutchman grabs first pro victory; Chris Froome and Simon Yates safe in peloton

Koen Bouwman (LottoNL-Jumbo) won stage three of the Criterium du Dauphine after the breakaway foiled the sprinters on the run-in to Tullins.

While there were a handful of climbs dotted in the early part of the stage, with 40km to race from the summit of the category-four Cote de Roybon to the finish line, the sprinters were expected to contest the stage for the second consecutive day.

But when the peloton hesitated in the chase, Bouwman took full advantage – thanks in no small part to team-mate and fellow escapee Alexey Vermeulen’s efforts – to claim his first professional victory.

Arnaud Demare (FDJ) led the peloton across the line 11 seconds later, with yellow jersey Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) and all the GC contenders safely in the group, but it was Bouwman left to celebrate the victory.

Koen Bouwman celebrates his unlikely Criterium du Dauphine 2017 (pic – Sirotti)

Bouwman and Vermeulen were two of six riders to make the breakaway after two kilometres of racing, with Delko Marseille Provence KTM also providing two riders in Quentin Pacher and Edvaldas Siskevicius, and Bryan Nauleau (Direct Energie) and Frederick Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) completing the move.

Despite a fast start to proceedings, the gap was more six-and-a-half minutes for much of the stage, with Bouwman – wearing the polka dot jersey as he trails De Gendt in the mountains classification – adding more climbing points to his total.

Lotto-Soudal led the bunch, meanwhile, with Pacher starting the day 5’57” in arrears to the Belgian, and therefore virtual leader as it stood.

The sprint teams also lent a hand to the chase, and the peloton looked in control once they started to turn the screw, with FDJ, Cofidis and Katusha-Alpecin all planting riders on the front.

Not even a brief, and somewhat bizarre, flurry of riders dismounting on a tight bend managed to derail the chase and the gap was down to 2’15” as they crested the Cote des Sarrets.

A fast tempo, coupled with the tight twists and turns en route to Tullins saw their momentum stall a little, however, as the gap hung around the 90-second mark with just 15km to race.

When that still stood at one minute with six kilometres to go, the breakaway sensed their chance and all six continued to put a shift in to keep the peloton at bay.

Thomas de Gend continues to lead overall (pic – Sirotti)

With the GC teams looking to protect their leaders, the sprint teams struggled to retain control on the front of the bunch too, handing the initiative to the escapees.

The six were still together under the flamme rouge with Vermeulen on the front, controlling proceedings for Bouwman.

And his team-mate repaid his efforts by accelerating away and claiming victory, just as the peloton became visible in the distance.

Demare led them over, but it was only good enough for seventh place – a missed opportunity for the fast men, who now have just one more stage, stage five, to bag a pre-Tour victory.

Criterium du Dauphine 2017: stage three – result

1) Koen Bouwman (NED) – LottoNL-Jumbo – 4.06.06hrs
2) Evaldas Siskevicius (LTU) – Delko Marseille Provence KTM – ST
3) Frederik Backaert (BEL) – Wanty-Groupe Gobert
4) Bryan Nauleau (FRA) – Direct Energie
5) Alexey Vermeulen (USA) – LottoNL-Jumbo
6) Quentin Pacher (FRA) – Delko Marseille Provence KTM
7) Arnaud Demare (FRA) – FDJ +11”
8) Bryan Coquard (FRA) – Direct Energie – ST
9) Pascal Ackermann (GER) – Bora-hansgrohe
10) Phil Bauhaus (GER) – Team Sunweb

General classification

1) Thomas de Gendt (BEL) – Lotto-Soudal – 12.37.04hrs
2) Axel Domont (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +48”
3) Diego Ulissi (ITA) – UAE Team Emirates +1.03
4) Pierre Latour (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +1.07
5) Emanuel Buchmann (GER) – Bora-hansgrohe – ST
6) Sonny Colbrelli (ITA) – Bahrain-Merida +1.09
7) Ben Swift (GBR) – UAE Team Emirates – ST
8) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar
9) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – Lotto-Soudal
10) Guillaume Martin (FRA) – Wanty-Groupe Gobert

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