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"As I said this morning, it would not be a good sign if I was in top condition. The goal is to be there at the Tour, so then I will be able to defend myself better in the tough mountain stages. I seem to be on track."

Photo: Sirotti








11.06.2015 @ 20:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

It was a dress rehearsal for Tour de France in the 5th stage of the Critèrium du Dauphinè which ended with the summit finish in Pra Loup. The course, 161 km from Digne les Bains with the climbs of Col de Lèsque, Col de Toutes Aures, Col de la Colle Saint Michel and Col d'Allos, is the same which will be covered during the 17th stage of the Tour de France.

The race was led by a 7-rider breakaway which was caught on the climb of the Col d'Allos where the peloton was whittled down and Rui Costa and Rafael Valls succeded in being in the front positions at the summit. The first rider to reach the summit was Bardet, who increased his advantage on the group during the descent and consolidated the gap on the final climb to Pra Loup, obtaining the victory.

Behind the French rider, the chasing group did the Pra Loup climb at a very high but regular pace and the only attack was launched by Froome with 2 km to go. Intxausti and van Garderen tried to respond and the American rider beat Froome in the battle for the second position.

When Froome attacked, the rythm in the chasing group became even higher and it forced Rui Costa and Valls to gauge their efforts. The Spanish rider completed the stage in 14th position, 1'25" behind Bardet, while Rui Costa was 22nd at 1'53".

In the overall classification, Valls is close to the top 10, sitting in 14th place 18" from the 10th position and at 1'43" from new leader van Garderen. Rui Costa is 22nd at 2'11".

"To evaluating the performance of the team it's necessary to consider that the stage was a test in view of the Tour de France," sports director Philippe Mauduit explained. This was the first summit finish for Rui, Valls and most of our riders after a period of training so we're fairly satisfied.


"My colleague Mario Scirea and I appreciated the cooperation in the team and the fact that Rui and Rafael discussed their condition on the Col d'Allos whose summit was at 2250m, and decided that Valls should try to obtain the best possible result since he had a better pace in his legs. 


"This was a first good step, now it's interesting to evaluate how the riders will recover for tomorrow's  stage which will have 3500 meters of climbing."


"As I said this morning, it would not be a good sign if I was in top condition," Costa wrote on his website. "The goal is to be there at the Tour, so then I will be able to defend myself better in the tough mountain stages. I seem to be on track. 


"I have done my homework. Sky set a strong pace on the climb. I went up at a slower pace and finished alongside Valverde and Nibali. I finished 22nd and is 22nd overall."



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