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"This is my first time taking part in the Dauphiné. The standard of the race is extremely high, that’s why I didn’t have any expectation at this level," Veilleux says





02.06.2013 @ 18:15 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

David Veilleux (Europcar) was the surprise winner on the first stage of the Dauphiné when he emerged as the strongest from a 4-rider breakaway to hold off a hard-chasing peloton. The 25-year old Canadian is making his debut in one of the big home races for his French team and never expected to be able to take a win in his first ever day of racing at the event.


Europcar has a certain ability to spur surprises on the opening days of the biggest French stage races. When the Paris-Nice kicked off back in early March, Damien Gaudin was the surprise winner of the prologue and got to enjoy a day in the leader's jersey.


Today the French team repeated that performance in the second big French stage race of the year when David Veilleux took a hugely surprising win on the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné. Attacking his three escape companions on the Col du Corbier with 47km to go, the peloton was never able to catch back the 25-year old Canadian who took the biggest win of his career.


Until now the biggest win for the Canadian was his triumph in last year's edition of the Italian semi-classic Tre Valli Varesine, but now he unexpectedly finds himself in not only the yellow leader's jersey at a major WorldTour event, he also has a healthy lead in both the points and mountains competition. Had he been just 5 weeks younger, he would have made the clean sweep and also taken the first white jersey for best young rider in the race.


The Canadian is in his third year at Europcar but the Criterium du Dauphiné is just his second WorldTour stage race ever. He debuted a month ago in the Tour de Romandie and had never expected to win so early in his career as a WorldTour stage racer.


 “This is my first time taking part in the Dauphiné," he said The standard of the race is extremely high, that’s why I didn’t have any expectation at this level. It was worth trying. I’ve started to believe that something would be possible when our breakaway gained more than nine minutes. But later, it was only in the last 300 metres that I realized I’d won. It’s an enormous satisfaction. It comes from a lot of sacrifices and huge amounts of work. I’m happy that it pays off."


The Canadian has not made done much to mark himself out as a climber but today's effort on a stage containing two category 1 climbs shows that he knows how to go uphill. His win in the tough Tre Valli Varesine race was another testament to that ability and he now has a good chance to defend his lead during the next two lumpy stages. He will then face a big task in Wednesday's time trial as he only leads world time trial champion Tony Martin by 2.24.


"Normally I’m not a climber but I know that I can climb decently," he said. "Going from away, there was a chance. Now I’ll profit as much as I can from those moments I’ll be able to enjoy with the yellow jersey. I don’t know if it can last for a few days, probably not the whole week!"


Today's effort has certainly marked him out as a hot candidate to make the Europcar Tour selection but the Canadian was reluctant to look to far into the future, instead concentrating on his near-term task of defending his race lead and enjoying his sudden moment of glory.


"Of course it’s a dream to ride the Tour de France this year, but for now, I’m here to do my job as well as I can," he said.


Starting at 13.00 you can follow the action from the second stage of the Dauphiné on



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