Astana rider Pello Bilbao was the last survivor of an early breakaway on today’s sixth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné from Frontenex to La Rosière Espace San Bernardo and fended off the GC contenders who closed in on him on the short but very competitive stage to La Rosière on the route of stage 11 of the forthcoming Tour de France.
Second again, Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) extended his lead while Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) moved up to the top 3 overall. Yesterday’s stage winner Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) finished third on the stage and moved up to fourth overall.
Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic) initiated a breakaway at kilometre 12. Seven riders reacted and a group of 27 was formed at kilometre 20 on the hors-category Montée de Bisanne. In addition to Bilbao, others in the breakaway included his team-mate Dario Cataldo, Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic), Ian Boswell (Katusha-Alpecin) with Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale) bridging across later.
Nine riders including Latour started the final ascent to La Rosière with an advantage of 30 seconds over the yellow-blue jersey group.
Latour attacked with 10 kilometres to go and Boswell counter-attacked. Bilbao passed them one by one to take the lead by himself with 7 kilometres to go. Stage 5 winner Dan Martin attacked again and brought Thomas and Bardet with him on the hunt for the Basque rider.
Adam Yates rejoined the chasing trio with 4 kilometres to go but they didn’t manage to reel him in. Thomas powered to second like the day before. It was a well-deserved victory for Bilbao who recently finished sixth overall in the Giro d’Italia after winning stage 1 of the Tour of the Alps.