Critérium du Dauphiné: Jonas Vingegaard seals overall title as Giulio Ciccone wins final stage

Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) sealed the overall title at the Critérium du Dauphiné as Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) won the final stage above Grenoble. 

Ciccone attacked from the breakaway on the penultimate climb of Col de Porte before soloing down into Grenoble and then fending off Vingegaard on the ultra-steep final climb up to the Bastille Fortress that overlooks the city. 

Vingegaard himself responded to efforts from Adam Yates (UAE Team Emirates) on the final two climbs before easing clear in the final kilometre in another disarming display of dominance. As he rode away from an already-small GC group, it looked like he might catch Ciccone to seal his overall title with a third stage win. 

But Ciccone held firm on the double-digit gradients, losing his sunglasses that are usually tossed to the crowd whenever he wins, but still celebrating in style as he bounced back from having to miss the Giro d'Italia through COVID-19.

"I had 10 days off the bike, my condition wasn't 100% so started here with the Tour de France in the head but saw this week my condition getting better and better, so I'm really happy to close this week with a victory," Ciccone said. 

"The last 500 metres were really long, but with all the people there, it was really nice. I looked behind and saw I was still in front with some gap, so I just went straight. I'm really happy."

Ciccone made it into a strong breakaway after a chaotic start to a 152.8km final stage that featured six climbs, with a hilly opening, a mid-stage lull, and then a trio of major ascents ahead of the descent into Grenoble and the kick up the Bastille.

Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-QuickStep), seventh overall at the start of the day, was the danger man in the original nine-man move, while Vingegaard placed a teammate there in Tiesj Benoot, and it was those two, along with Ciccone and Clément Champoussin (Arkéa-Samsic) who were left as the front-runners as the break exploded on the hors-catégorie Col du Granier (9.6km at 8.6%).

They rode together over the Col du Coucheron (7.7km at 6.2%) with a slim advantage over the Jumbo-led bunch before Ciccone let rip and went solo on the Col de Porte (7.4km at 6.8%). He extended his lead to almost minute on the 15km descent but and then refused to fade on the final 1800-metre climb that averaged an eye-watering 14.2%.

Vingegaard couldn't quite make up enough ground to deny the Italian but he still handed his GC rivals another sound beating. UAE Team Emirates shredded the bunch on the Col de Porte and Vingegaard marked an opening attack from Yates there before Rafal Majka returned on the descent to bust the 15-man GC group open again on the final climb.

But before Yates could do anything there, Vingegaard took control and eased clear with a seated acceleration. He closed to within 30 seconds but had to settle for second place on the day, with Yates crossing the line in third place 10 seconds later to seal second overall.

Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroën Team) finished fourth, a further 16 seconds back, to fend off Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) and clinch the final spot on the podium.

With Yates at 2:23 and O'Connor at 2:56, Vingegaard claimed the third WorldTour stage race crown of his career - after the Tour de France and Itzulia Basque Country - with the biggest winning margin at the Dauphiné in 20 years.

"It s very very big for me to win this race. It's one of biggest races in the world, so I'm very happy to win," said Vingegaard

"Yeah in some kind of way I'm surprised [by the winning margin]. I knew I was in good shape but yeah. Now I relax for a few days then start preparing the last bit for the Tour de France. I still have a little bit of work to do but not a lot."

How it unfolded

The stage started out in breathless fashion, uphill almost from the flag and with no shortage of interest in the breakaway. The day's break did form on the the Côte de Pinet (6.3km at 6.1%) but it went through various changes and iterations before the top of the climb. 

Ciccone himself jumped across to it from the peloton, as big-name GC riders like Richard Carapaz (EF Education-EasyPost) and David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) started moving. 

They were reabsorbed but Ciccone went again alongside polka-dot jersey wearer Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Dstny) and they were joined by six other riders near the top: Alaphilippe, Champoussin, David De la Cruz (Astana Qazaqstan), and Franck Bonnamour (AG2R Citroën). Campenaerts took the maximum five points at the top of the Pinet to extend his lead in the mountains classification.

With the gap at just 30 seconds on the subsequent rolling plateau, more riders looked to bridge across and three were successful: Benoot, Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) and Matteo Trentin (UAE).

The nine-man group extended their lead to 1:15 over the Col des Mouilles (3.9km at 7%) after 45km - with Campenaerts once again taking maximum points - and then moved out to 2:30 on the subsequent stretch through the valley.

After the intermediate sprint in Pontcharra with 65km to go - also won by Campenaerts - it was time for the real climbing, with the Granier, Cucheron, and Porte to scale before the Grenoble finale.

The Granier saw an almost-immediate selection in the breakaway, with Alaphilippe, Ciccone, Benoot, and - after a bit of yo-yo-ing - Champoussin soon the last man standing. In the peloton, Ineos Grenadiers took it up and started to reduce the gap, but then decided to send Jonathan Castroviejo on the attack, sitting back to allow Jumbo-Visma to pace as the Spaniard set about trying to bridge to the break. 

The bunch crested the Granier 1:15 down on the leaders but that grew as the break upped the pace on the Cucheron, where Castroviejo made an enormous effort to go from dangling ahead of the peloton to joining the break inside the final kilometre of the climb. Benoot wasn't contributing but still helped himself to the mountain points atop the Granier and Cucheron. 

Onto the Col de Porte and the moves had to be made early, as UAE Team Emirates came forward, taking over from Jumbo-Visma's Dylan van Baarle to force a tempo that immediately raised the stakes. Riders like the Ineos duo of Dani Martinez and Egan Bernal were dropped and soon only 15 riders remained.

Ciccone knew he couldn't hang around and launched a vicious acceleration to which only Alaphilippe could respond. A short while later, 3km from the top, he went again and was alone. 

Yates tried an attack near the summit but was marked by Vingegaard and eventually, the other members of that GC selection scrambled back. In there were: Vingegaard, Yates, Benoot, Alaphilippe, O'Connor, Hindley, Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious), Louis Meintjes (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty), Antonio Pedrero (Movistar), Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), and Torsten Traen (Uno-X).

Pedrero attacked and took a slim lead onto the descent, while Majka came back with Castroviejo and Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers). But things exploded once again on the steep final ramps in the final 1800 metres. 

Majka took it up for Yates and they passed Pedrero as only Vingegaard, O'Connor, and Hindley could follow. Just under a kilometre from the finish, Vingegaard made his move and was away with a minimum of fuss. 

The GC was effectively sealed, and the finale turned into a pursuit of Ciccone for the stage win. The Italian, though, had enough power in the legs and rode impressively through the final couple of horrifically steep bends to claim his third win of the season.


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Patrick Fletcher
Deputy Editor

Deputy Editor. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2022 he has been Deputy Editor, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.

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