Dubai: UAE Team Emirates rider Davide Formolo came up with a 15th win for the season when he crossed the line first on Stage 3 of the Criterium du Dauphine, late on Friday.
After narrowly missing out on a victory at last week’s Strade Bianche, Formolo took his first win of the season with a 60km solo attack that left a bunch of riders vying for second place behind him.
An Italian national champion, Formolo was able to make the early breakaway with a small but strong contingent of riders who worked together to keep the peloton at bay over a series of challenging climbs.
As the group of nine worked their way up the penultimate ascent on the Col du Madeleine, Formolo made his move – exploding into action with a powerful attack that his rivals couldn’t match.
Formolo started the final climb to Saint-Martin-de-Belleville with a five-minute lead, and despite looking exhausted and with the pack closing, it was Formolo who came out on top of the pack as he battled up the last 14.6km climb for a well-deserved stage win.
The Italian kept his determination, guile and experience to ensure a smooth ride a clear 33 seconds ahead of Primoz Roglic of the Jumbo Visma team, while Groupama rider Thibaut Pinot followed in third.
Formolo was relieved with his first stage win of the season. “I was in the break from the start with eight guys, and already before the Col de la Madeleine I thought we only have three minutes – there’s no way I can wait until the finish,” the 27-year-old from Negrar said.
“So I decided to ride my own rhythm on the Madeleine and try and get some space between me and the bunch. I actually thought the last climb started straight after the descent, but it was 10km up and down in the valley, which was really hard and I lost a lot of energy.
“On the last climb I didn’t know if I could make it. I was looking at the profile and saw the Madeleine was really hard. Then I saw this last climb was slightly up and down the whole time. I thought it would be impossible to make a big difference in the break so I’d better attack on the Madeleine, and then pray I came to the finish line, and this is exactly what happened.”
Allan Peiper, Sports Director of UAE Team Emirates, was also a pleased man. “Today we had planned to get someone in the breakaway, and luckily we got our best man in it with Formolo,” he said.
“At the base of the climb he created enough of a gap and was able to leave the rest of the breakaway behind and hold off the bunch until the finish. It was a pretty amazing ride actually.”
Later on Saturday, the team will turn their attention to Stage 4 - a 153.5km mountain stage from Ugine to Megeve with six classified climbs ahead of another brutal summit finish.
1. Davide Formolo (UAE Team Emirates) 4:06:56
2. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) +33s
3. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) Same time
1. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) 13:14:35”
2. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +14s
3. Emanuel Buchmann (Bora Hansgrohe) +20s
11. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) +1:17