UAE Team Emirates rider Dan Martin had no luck on his side during stage two of the Criterium du Dauphine as he finished 32nd.
The 31-year-old, who finished third in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the race, is bidding for his third consecutive podium finish in France as he continues his preparations for next month’s Tour de France.
Daryl Impey of the Mitchelton team dominated the bunch sprint to win yesterday’s second stage of the eight-day race in France.
Sky’s Polish rider Michal Kwiatkowski retains the yellow overall leader’s jersey after his victory in the prologue, a 6.6km time trial on Sunday.
Speaking after the stage finish in Saint-Just-Saint-Rambert, Martin said: “I managed to reach the arrival in the first group: the stage profile was not as demanding compared to previous years, however, two crashes in the final 15 km split the group.
“(Sven Erik) Bystrøm, (Valerio) Conti, (Edward) Ravasi and I succeeded in being with the front of the race. I was following Conti and I was very close to crashing, but I managed to avoid to being involved.
“I feel pretty good, I really hope to repeat the podium results of the past two years, when I was third.
He added: “The Dauphine is important also because it’s a mini-Tour de France, with an individual time trial, a team time trial – things that are hard to mimic in training – and because we race on some of the same roads that we are going to face in the 11th stage of the Tour.”
Best for UAE Team Emirates were: Valerio Conti (18th), Sven Erik Bystrøm (22nd), Edward Ravasi (38th), Rory Sutherland (118th), Simone Petilli (122nd) and Manuele Mori (143rd).
Today’s third stage will see the peloton tackle a 181km ride from Montbrison to Belleville.
UAE Team Emirates’ Diego Ulissi finished just shy of his third podium place at GP Lugano in Switzerland on Sunday.
The 28-year-old Italian, who finished third and second in the 2014 and 2016 editions of the race, could only settle for fourth following a 185.6km ride around the south Switzerland town.
Hermann Pernsteiner (Bahrain-Merida) barrelled over the finish in triumph ahead of Kristian Sbaragli (Italy) and Enrico Gasparotto (Bahrain-Merida).
Ulissi arrived to the line 1 min 40 seconds behind the winner.
He said: “I did everything possible to take on the numerical advantage of Team Bahrain-Merida. Pernsteiner made a good move and proved to have strong legs to win the race. He looked unstoppable out there.
“I felt brilliant around the course, and that’s over a course that had 4000 metres of climbing. I’m happy with this result, although a place on the podium would have been favourable.”
Best for UAE Team Emirates were Filippo Ganna (28th), while Simone Consonni, Anass Ait El Abdia, Aleksandr Riabushenko, Jan Polanc and Ben Swift failed to set a time.
The 2018 Tour de France will feature nine “beyond category” climbs over its 3351km route, organisers of the July 7-29 event revealed on Sunday.
Even when it climbs familiar mountains, the Tour can take different routes, so each year the organisers classify all the climbs in the race. They can be 4, 3, 2, 1 or beyond category, depending on length, steepness, and elevation.
For 2018, nine climbs have been classified as beyond category and 10 are category 1, giving a total of 19 challenging ascents, compared to 23 in 2017 and 28 in 2016.
The first riders over each summit gain points, weighted according to the category of the climb, and the points leader gets to pull on the Tour’s polka-dot, or “king of the mountains,” jersey.
The Plateau des Glieres, the Montee de Bisanne, the Cols du Pre, de la Madeleine and de la Croix-de-Fer, the Alpe d’Huez and the Cols du Portet, Tourmalet and Aubisque are, in order, the beyond category climbs steeped in Tour legend awaiting this year’s roster.
Tour organisers gave out the information to the various teams involved at the eight-day Criterium du Dauphine race that started with a time-trial around Valence on Sunday.
It was also revealed that there will be a “points bonus” of one, two and three seconds to the first three finishers on the eight flat stages.