Criterium du Dauphine #2: Serge Pauwels powers to 3rd place

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Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were at the forefront of the 2nd stage of the Criterium du Dauphine as Daniel Teklehaimanot made the break of the day and Serge Pauwels finished in 3rd place on the stage.

As the riders left Creches-sur-Saone Teklehaimanot made his intentions clear straight away as he attacked after just 9km of racing. Our Eritrean star managed to get a gap on the peloton before 4 other riders got across to him and together, the 5 would form the main break of the day. As the defending champ of the Dauphine King of the Mountains jersey, Teklehaimanot made sure he won the sprint for the KOM points on offer at the first 2 categorised climbs of the stage.

At first, the peloton held the 5 escapees at between 2 and 3 minutes but with 40km to go, the break’s continual effort to push on saw the lead increase to 5 minutes. There were still 2 categorised climbs to race over in the final 18km of the stage and Teklehaimanot would have needed to at least win maximum points on the penultimate climb to pull on the jersey. When the break started the climb the gap had dropped to just under 2 minutes and Team Sky and Etixx-Quickstep were really committed to the chase.

Unfortunately, Daniel would be caught be the main group before the summit but with the points won earlier in the stage, he now sits 3rd in the King of the Mountains competition. With the break being reeled in on the climb, a number of attacks then came from the peloton and a large number of riders were also being shelled out the back of the main group at the same point in time.

Pauwels put in a strong acceleration with 10km to go and eventually 3 other riders joined him as they went into the race lead with 8km to go. The quartet was able to work well together and started the final 3km climb with a 20″ advantage. The yellow jersey group which was now only 30 riders strong, never gave up chasing though and the race came back together with 500m to go.

Pauwels gave his all to follow the wheel of Jesus Herrada (Movistar) who came flying past with the line in sight but it was Herrada who took the stage win, Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) just edged ahead of Pauwels to secure 2nd place with our Belgian finishing in the final podium position on the stage.

Serge Pauwels – Rider
On the second last climb I felt very good. Edvald told me he was not feeling so good anymore and that I could do my own race. I took my chance once Daniel was caught. I felt very strong but it was difficult in the last kilometer as the peloton was getting very close. I tried everything I could. I am happy with my form and the result, although it is a missed chance.

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