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Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, France, June 14, 2019 (AFP) – Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe powered to victory in the sixth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Friday, edging out Gregor Muehlberger in a photo finish after a long breakaway.
The 27-year-old claimed his 10th victory of the season, having also won the one-day Milan-San Remo, Fleche Wallonne and Strade Bianche.
He also claimed two stage victories and the best climber’s jersey on the 2018 Tour de France.
“I don’t know yet if I’ll start the Tour in top condition or race for the polka dot jersey. We’ll see after the Dauphine,” said Alaphilippe.
Britain’s Adam Yates retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey ahead of Saturday’s ‘queen’ stage of a race which has been overshadowed by four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome’s horrific crash on Wednesday.
Alaphilippe and Austrian Muehlberger escaped from the peloton only 12 kilometres into the 228km ride from Saint-Vulbas to Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, alongside Alessandro de Marchi.
Italian De Marchi was dropped on the eighth and final climb of the day, about 10km from the finish, leaving Alaphilippe and Muehlberger to fight it out for the win, with the home favourite taking the spoils.
“It was a soft sprint after such a long and difficult race,” added Alaphilippe.
“On the last climb, I tried two or three times to accelerate but I couldn’t tell the difference.”
The main group of overall contenders, including Yates, crossed the line six minutes and 10 seconds adrift.
Mitchelton-Scott rider Adam Yates remains four seconds clear of Belgian Dylan Teuns in the overall standings, with American Tejay Van Garderen just two seconds further behind.
Yates said, “It wasn’t a full gas stage. The three guys away were quite far down on the GC and everyone else was happy with what we were doing. On the last climb, we expected the race to be a little harder.
“We controlled the race pretty much from start to finish and had the guys around me from kilometre 0 till the end. So it was a fantastic team performance all around!
“It’s a short stage tomorrow and the day after, so I’m sure a lot of guys want to break away. There’ll be a long climb of 20km to finish with.
“I almost haven’t done anything like that this year yet but I feel good. It’s hard to say what will happen. We’re all still very close on GC.”
Saturday’s seventh and penultimate stage ends with the punishing climb at Pipay, which lasts for 19km with an average gradient of 6.9 percent.
The majority of riders are using the eight-day race as their final warm-up for the Tour de France which starts on July 6 in Brussels.
STAGE 6 RESULTS
1. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) Deceuninck – Quick-Step 6:00:54
2. Gregor Mühlberger (AUT) BORA – hansgrohe ”
3. Alessandro De Marchi (ITA) CCC Team +22
4. Wout Poels (NED) Team INEOS +6:10
5. Gorka Izagirre (ESP) Astana Pro Team ”
6. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) Astana Pro Team ”
7. Jack Haig (AUS) Mitchelton – Scott ”
8. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton – Scott ”
9. Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team ”
10. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana Pro Team ”
11. Xandro Meurisse (BEL) Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team ”
12. Romain Bardet (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale ”
13. Rudy Molard (FRA) Groupama – FDJ ”
14. Daniel Martin (IRL) UAE Team Emirates ”
15. Emanuel Buchmann (GER) BORA – hansgrohe ”
16. Nicolas Edet (FRA) Cofidis, Solutions Crédits ”
17. Bjorg Lambrecht (BEL) Lotto – Soudal ”
18. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) Groupama – FDJ ”
19. Steven Kruijswijk (NED) Team Jumbo – Visma ”
20. Michael Woods (CAN) EF Education First ”
1. Adam Yates (GBR) Mitchelton – Scott 23:35:04
2. Dylan Teuns (BEL) Bahrain – Merida +4
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) EF Education First +6
4. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) Astana Pro Team +7
5. Steven Kruijswijk (NED) Team Jumbo – Visma +24
6. Thibaut Pinot (FRA) Groupama – FDJ +25
7. Emanuel Buchmann (GER) BORA – hansgrohe +26
8. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ) Astana Pro Team +30
9. Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team +40
10. Wout Poels (NED) Team INEOS ”
11. Richie Porte (AUS) Trek – Segafredo +54
12. Daniel Martin (IRL) UAE Team Emirates +1:13
13. Romain Bardet (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale +1:27
14. Rudy Molard (FRA) Groupama – FDJ +1:39
15. Michael Woods (CAN) EF Education First +1:43
16. Guillaume Martin (FRA) Wanty – Gobert Cycling Team +1:59
17. Alberto Bettiol (ITA) EF Education First +2:02
18. Bjorg Lambrecht (BEL) Lotto – Soudal +2:45
19. Nicolas Edet (FRA) Cofidis, Solutions Crédits +2:52
20. Philippe Gilbert (BEL) Deceuninck – Quick-Step +3:04