The 6th stage of the Criterium du Dauphine would be an action packed day of racing. Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) would ride away with all the spoils on the day, edging out Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the end.
With the rain pouring down, the flag dropped to set the riders off. There were countless attacks for at least the first 70km’s. As soon as a group would get away and force out a 20″ lead, they were reeled right back in. Steven Cummings was MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung’s most active rider, as he found himself in numerous early breakaways.
Nibali was also very attentive at the head of the race, following all the moves. When Nibali put in attack with 110km to go, nobody expected it to be the deciding move of the day. Tony Martin (Etixx-Quickstep), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Valverde and Costa would ride across to last year’s Tour de France champion and the 5 riders would join to form a formidable lead group.
The peloton had been under pressure for so long already that it only consisted of 15 riders when the decisive move was made. The chasers made the decision to sit up to let a few dropped riders re-join the race. This allowed the leaders to quickly open the gap up to 3 minutes. The peloton swelled to 50 riders, which included Steve. The leaders weren’t hanging around though and blasted up the cat 1 Col du Rousset, temporarily leaving Martin and Gallopin behind. They would later re-join on the descent.
With the peloton still 3 minutes down after the big climb of the day, it was apparent that the break would decide the stage. Costa would take a hard fought victory. The peloton would attack its way all the way down the descent and to the line, resulting in riders coming home in two’s and three’s all day. That was until the main group of the day came home 36 minutes down, which also contained all MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung riders apart from Steve. Steve was 36th, just over 7 minutes down. Daniel Teklehaimanot kept his Polka Dot jersey as he has 33 points to Nibali’s 17 now.
Jens Zemke – Head of Performance
Today was a stage that was an open boiler. From the gun there were attacks and even the big GC riders were attacking. We were pretty active from the beginning, Steve was in the initial attacks and also in a few of the later successful attacks which would be brought back too. Finally 15 riders formed the main break of the day which included a number of big names. Steve was in a group with 20 – 30 riders just behind with all the other boys in a bigger group a bit further down the road. So Steve was there to compete for a stage result but unfortunately it didn’t come together. We can’t complain, we have done a great race so far and we are still in the climbers jersey. We will also look to show ourselves in the last few days.