Van Aert pips SA’s Daryl Impey in late sprint on stage one

South African rider Daryl Impey and Tour de France champion Egan Bernal were pipped by Wout van Aert who won the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphine, as Chris Froome struggled on Wednesday.

Belgian Van Aert, who won the Milan-Sanremo on Sunday, beat Impey in second and Bernal in third in a sprint finish to the north of Saint-Etienne.

This season’s Dauphine has been shortened and moved due to the coronavirus pandemic with Chris Froome, who finished in 86th place 5min 23sec behind Van Aert, returning to a race which almost finished the four-time Tour de France winner’s career last year when he had a serious accident.

“Apparently I have good legs. I came to the hotel really tired yesterday and the team still did a perfect job for me today,” Van Aert told France Televisions.

Thursday’s 135-kilometre second stage heads from the town of Vienne up to the Col de Porte and includes three steep climbs.

The race is a key warmup for this season’s Tour de France which has been rescheduled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It will start on August 29.

Stage result:

1. Wout Van Aert (BEL/JUM) 5hr 27min 42sec, 2. Daryl Impey (RSA/MIT) same time, 3. Egan Bernal (COL/INE) s.t, 4. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/MOV) s.t, 5. Tadej Pogacar (SLO/UAE) s.t, 6. Alexey Lutsenko (KAZ/ASY) s.t, 7. Sergio Higuita (COL/EF1) s.t, 8. Benoit Cosnefroy (FRA/ALM) s.t, 9. Primoz Roglic (SLO/JUM) s.t, 10. Guillaume Martin (FRA/COF) s.t

Selected others

18. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) s.t, 19. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) s.t, 22. Tom Dumoulin (NED/JUM) s.t, 23. Steven Kruijswijk (NED/JUM) s.t, 26. Geraint Thomas (GBR/INE) s.t, 86. Chris Froome (GBR/INE) 5 mins 33 sec

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