Christophe Laporte has won the third stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné. Wearing the yellow leader’s jersey, the Frenchman of Team Jumbo-Visma was the fastest in the bunch sprint. The victory in the streets of Le Coteau was Laporte’s 30th as a professional.
The third stage of the French stage race had two phases. The first part of the stage was challenging for the peloton with the necessary climbing. This changed in the last part of the stage, which was flat. Team Jumbo-Visma rode at the front of the peloton all day and kept the team out of trouble.
In the final kilometres, the black-and-yellow squad kept Jonas Vingegaard at the front. Then it was up to Laporte to position himself for the final sprint. With just a few hundred metres to go, the Frenchman seemed unable to compete for the win, but Laporte managed to manoeuvre himself to the front. The 30-year-old rider outsprinted the pure sprinters to earn his fourth victory of the year. It was the 32nd victory of the season for Team Jumbo-Visma.
“This win comes as a surprise”, Laporte admitted. “Before the race, you might have said this finish was only for pure sprinters. But I let the team know that I wanted to go for the win. The main goal was to protect Jonas in the final. Once we had done that, I took my chance and went into the gap. Luckily I had enough speed to win. I am very happy with that. It has been a long time since I aimed for a flat bunch sprint. Thanks to the strength of the team, I was able to focus on a good result in the final. To win for the second time in three days is a great feeling.”
Laporte’s grip on the yellow jersey has strengthened, thanks to the bonification seconds. However, the Frenchman has no illusions that he will be able to retain the jersey for much longer. “Tomorrow’s time trial is usually a bit too long for me. I have a good time trial in my legs, but a time trial of over 30 kilometres is a bit too much. Of course, I will give it my all. You don’t just let go of a jersey like that.”