Daniel Martinez of Colombia emerged as a surprise winner of the five-day Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday, having been in fifth place overnight. The stage itself was won by American Jumbo-Visma rider Sepp Kuss, a 25-year-old from Colorado who crossed the finish line 27 seconds ahead of the chasing pack
Several favorites including Ineos’ Egan Bernal and his key rival Primoz Roglic pulled out injured during the race seen as a dress rehearsal for the Tour de France, and marred by a mass fall Saturday. France’s emotional climber Thibaut Pinot started Sunday’s fifth and final stage in the lead but was seen smashing a water bidon into the ground when he realised he could not follow a final attack. No Frenchman has won the Dauphine since Christophe Moreau in 2007. Colombian national time-trial champion Martinez of the American Education First team said he had gone up the final climb unsure of where Pinot was.
– Yellow and white –
“We are in the mountains and the earphone doesn’t always work,” he said at the finish line.
Martinez won the best young rider’s white jersey and the overall winner’s yellow one, and said he had pushed himself to the limit.
“It’s one of the biggest races in the world and to be able to win this, coming from Colombia, makes me very happy,” said the 24-year-old from Bogota, who was second on this season’s Tour of Colombia He was also second on the day here ahead of Slovenian UAE rider Tadej Pogacar, 21, who claimed three stages on the 2019 Vuelta a Espana.
With a staggering view of Mont Blanc on the final ascent there were plenty of cow bells but few face masks on the verdant slopes as Kuss attacked for a popular stage win.
Kuss had worked relentlessly for the Jumbo team, leading their uphill train courageously all week, but with two of his three team leaders gone the Dutch outfit let him off the leash for the team’s 13th stage win of the season.
“I’m having so much fun on the bike right now. Now we can focus on the Tour de France with a confidence boost,” said Kuss who will likely play a prominent role in Jumbo’s bid to unseat Grande Boucle behemoth Ineos when the race starts on August 29. The remaining Ineos hope, Russian champion Pavel Sivakov leapt up from the tarmac back onto his bike after a nasty fall to finish fourth on the day but outside the top 10 in the overall.
1. Sepp Kuss (USA/JUM), 3:58:39
2. Daniel Martinez (COL/EF1) at 27
3. Tadej Pogacar (SLO/UAE) 30
4. Pavel Sivakov (RUS/INE) 45
5. Tom Dumoulin (NED/JUM) 51
Final overall standings
1. Daniel Martinez (COL/EF1) 21:44:58
2. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) at 29
3. Guillaume Martin (FRA/COF) 41
4. Tadej Pogacar (SLO/UAE) 56
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (COL/AST) 1:38
6. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 1:43,
7. Tom Dumoulin (NED/JUM) 2:07
8. Lennard Kamna (GER/BOR) 2:14
9. Warren Barguil (FRA/ARK) 2:49
10. Sepp Kuss (USA/JUM) 2:55