Critérium du Dauphiné
Stage 8: Le Pont-de-Claix - La Bastille – Grenoble Alpes Métropole
France Sunday 11 June 2023 152.8 km
Alaphilippe seals Dauphiné top 10 on his birthday
Remaining true to his nature, Julian Alaphilippe couldn’t stay put on the day he turned 31. Instead of spending what would have been some long hours in the bunch, he decided to enliven the race and attacked from the off, booking a place in the breakaway. The stage featured six classified climbs, including Col du Granon and La Bastille. The latter, made famous by Bernard Hinault in the ‘70s, made its first appearance here in 23 years, and awaited the riders with its surreal 21% maximum gradients.
Alaphilippe was the engine of the ten-man breakaway, helping the group stay clear and as one until the Granon, which was even impressive given that they had a maximum gap of just two minutes. On this hard penultimate ascent, the stage 2 winner got distanced, but joined the yellow jersey group that came at a fast speed and started the last hurdle of the day with the GC favourites one minute behind Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo), who soloed to victory.
Riding almost the whole stage at the front took its toll on Julian as the began the ascent outside the city of Grenoble, and he lost contact the group, but showed a lot of grinta on those punishing slopes that poured led into the riders’ legs and was rewarded for his never-say-die attitude with tenth in the general classification of the Critérium du Dauphiné – a borale-boosting result for Soudal Quick-Step’s Frenchman.
“I’m happy with my day and this great week of racing. I rode fast and hard and gave everything on the final stage, but on the penultimate climb one rider was stronger than me, so there are no regrets. I leave the race tired, but with a good feeling. It was a difficult one, but important for what’s coming next this summer”, said Julian after his second Dauphiné top ten finish, following the one of 2016.
Photo credit: ©Dario Belingheri / Getty Images