Criterium du Dauphine Stage 1: Meersman 2nd in Field Sprint
Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Gianni Meersman attacked in the final meters of the 121km Criterium du Dauphine Stage 1 on Sunday, getting 2nd place out of the peloton sprint as David Veilleux (Team Europcar) won solo out of the original breakaway that escaped within the first 5km.
OPQS rider Tony Martin attacked earlier in the stage (km 33) in an attempt to bridge, but was brought back with about 18km to go after a long day of chasing. He eventually caught a dropped rider from the original breakaway, but the two working together was not enough to close the gap.
Veilleux attacked on Category 1 Col du Corbier, and once Martin — a threat to the GC — was caught, the peloton seemed to pull back on its pursuit of the solo rider.
Meersman finished 1'56" back from Veilleux. Tom Slagter (Blanco ProCyclingTeam) was 3rd. OPQS looks next to 191km Stage 2, which has six categorized climbs but includes a descent into a flat finish.
"First of all let me congratulate Veilleux," Meersman said. "He did a great ride today and he deserves the victory. He was the strongest. Concerning me, I felt good the entire day so at the end I decided to go for the sprint for the 2nd place with the help of my teammates. I'm happy about my shape. After AMGEN Tour of California I trained at home in Belgium. I'm also happy about my regularity. This year I'm trying to be a good level in all the races I do, and for the moment the work is paying off. Tomorrow we will try again. It seems to be a good stage for my skills, but let's see."