On the scene on the Criterium du Dauphine

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After almost two years away from the races, I was thrilled to be at the start of the Criterium du Dauphine in Issoire.

Stage one winner, Brent Van Moer:

Stage two winner Lukas Pöstlberger was whooping and hollering as he crossed the finish line, and then it was hugs all around.

Pöstlberger spotted his countryman Sebastian Schonberger in the finishing straight and threw his arms wide for a hug:

When his breakaway companion, Shane Archbold, finished 11 minutes later, Pöstlberger interrupted his tv interviews to come and embrace him:

And even the podium lion got a hug.

The verdant countryside provided a lovely background for Sonny Colbrelli’s stage three win ahead of Alex Aranburu and Brandon McNulty.

For the stage four time trial, I tried out a few different viewing spots along the final kilometer.

Shane Archbold:

Lawson Craddock:

Michal Kwiatkowski:

Anthony Perez:

Brandon McNulty:

Sander Armée:

Ion Izaguirre, about to catch his minute man, Enric Mas:

Wilco Kelderman:

Alex Aranburu:

Lukas Pöstlberger:

The old man’s still got it! Alejandro Valverde showed the youngsters a clean pair of heels in the stage six finish at Le Sappey-en-Chartreuse.

Jack Haig, Steven Kruijswijk, and Geraint Thomas:

Richie Porte and David Gaudu:

Chris Froome finished with Sean Bennett and Greg Van Avermaet, 2’43” down on Valverde.

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