Michael Woods’ power was on display on Saturday’s queen stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné, as the Canadian moved up to 14th in the GC by placing 12th on the day. Astana’s Jakob Fuglsang took over the race lead from Adam Yates with one stage remaining.

The Course

There was a lot of climbing on tap on Saturday, all crammed into 133 km: three Cat. 1 climbs led to the HC-rated summit finish of Montée de Pipay, 18.7 km of 6.8 percent.

The big news in the morning was that Tom Dumoulin, knee still not recovered from his Giro d’Italia crash, withdrew from the race. Will he line up for the Tour de France?



Breakaway

Once again Stage 6 winner Julian Alaphilippe was in the day’s breakaway to cement his new lead in the King of the Mountains competition. The first hour was ridiculously fast, with 53 km covered.

Woods was included in the big escape as well, and he won the first intermediate sprint at the foot of the first mountain to earn a three-second bonus. Alaphilippe was first over the Col d’Epine, while Woods was sixth. Alaphlippe and Lennarde Hofstede attacked on d’Epine’s downhill and led up the Col du Granier.

On the last of the Cat. 1 climbs, Col de Marcieu, with the skies darkening, the large breakaway reformed. The peloton was 1:30 in arrears with 36 km remaining.

Woods and eighth place Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) attacked 2 km from the top of Marcieu, with Woods tipping over first. It was now very wet and the deluge interrupted the live broadcast.

Woods suffered a flat on the descent and Lutsenko carried on alone until the Canadian and three others found his wheel.


Summit Finish

The weather found a way to get worse.

The road was flooded 50 metres from the finish line.

The Woods group grew to eight–with Lutsenko receiving a teammate–and started the Montée de Pipay with a two minute gap over the Movistar-led peloton. The breakaway was whittled down or perhaps some riders were washed away as the peloton drew closer.

Nairo Quintana attacked with 11 km remaining but couldn’t stay clear of his rivals. Once more it was just Woods-Lutsenko leading the race, but they would submit to will of the GC group with 4-km to go. Fuglsang made a dig that did little but detach Richie Porte from the group. Romain Bardet’s thrust up the road drew Wout Poels. Then Emannuel Buchmann skipped away. Quintana and Steven Kruijswijk were suffering.

Fuglsang made it over to Buchmann. The closest chasers were Woods, Poels, Bardet, Dan Martin, Thibaut Pinot and Yates. The duo went under the red kite with a 10-second advantage. Poels bridged and then took the win.

Fuglsang’s runner-up spot gave him a slender, 8-second lead over Yates and will have a fight on his hands to hang on and win his second stage race of 2019. Woods fell away in the final couple of kilometres to finish +0:46. Woods’ teammate Tejay van Garderen retains his third place on GC.

Sunday’s conclusion shoehorns seven climbs into 113 km.

2019 Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 7
1) Wout Poels (The Netherlands/Ineos)
2) Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark/Astana) +0:01
3) Emanuel Buchmann (Germany/Bora-Hansgrohe) s.t.
12) Michael Woods (Canada/EF Education First) +0:46

2019 Critérium du Dauphiné GC
1) Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark/Astana) 27:36:40
2) Adam Yates (Great Britain/Mitchelton-Scott) +0:08
3) Tejay van Garderen (U.S.A./EF Education First) +0:20
14) Michael Woods (Canada/EF Education First) +2:24

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