Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team knew Wednesday's 167km Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 3 would have a finish for sprinter Gerald Ciolek.
The stage, with just one Category 3 climb and two Category 4 climbs, was suited for a bunch finish. all the climbs were in the earlier kilometers. a two rider breakaway that attacked at kilometer 6 was brought in methodically with each passing kilometer by the peloton, and with less than 16km to go, the peloton absorbed the duo and teams began to fight to establish position.
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team moved to the front with 7km to go, bringing the entire team to the front to assist Ciolek. One by one, riders pulled off. However, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team) decided to surprise the peloton by attacking with 1.5km to go. The peloton scrambled to make the catch, and with just a few hundred meters to go, Gilbert was caught and the hectic sprint to the finish line began.
Ciolek was in great position at the center of the field, but Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky ProCycling) beat him to the line. Borut Bozic (Astana Pro Team) took 3rd.
"I did my best," Ciolek said. "Boasson Hagen was simply better than me. The team did a great job in putting me in the best position. Maybe we started a little bit too early and in the last part we missed a man, but that could happen in a race. They were simply great as usual. Boasson Hagen came from behind with high speed. Another second place. I hope next time will be the right one for me."
Tony Martin had a minor crash on a stretch of slightly downhill road, which was also wet. Martin had some bruises, but nothing serious. He quickly returned to the peloton after his crash. He remains in 5th place in the GC, while Sylvain Chavanel also remains in 7th place. Bradley Wiggins (Sky ProCycling) retains the leader's jersey.
Martin and Chavanel now look to Thursday's 53.5km time trial, perhaps their first real chance to make an impact on their overall ranking.