Julian Alaphlippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) blew the cobwebs away with a familiar attacking approach on stage 1 of the Critérium du Dauphiné. The Frenchman had not raced since Liège-Bastogne-Liège in late April and a phenomenal spring campaign that included wins in Flèche Wallonne, Strade Bianche, and Milan-San Remo. However, he was on the attack on home soil as he and his team looked to split the race on the opening stage between Aurillac and Jussac. Deceuninck lifted the pace on the final climb of the day with Zdenek Stybar putting in a ferocious turn of speed on the lower slopes of the Cote de Roquenatou. On his wheel was Alaphilippe, who took over once the former cyclo-cross rider emptied the tank. The Frenchman's following assault strung out the remnants of the peloton, with Team Ineos' Chris Froome and Michal Kwiatkowski among the first to make contact.ADVERTISEMENT Although the pace eventually slowed, the accelerations were enough to see off the pure sprinters such as Sam Bennett and Andre Greipel, both of whom were distanced and unable to regain contact before the finish. In the final Alaphilippe brought Philippe Gilbert to the front with another impressive turn of speed, but the Paris-Roubaix winner was forced to settle for second place behind Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data). Alaphilippe admitted that the fight for the yellow jersey was not his focus this week but he added that he and his team would race from the front throughout the eight-day event. It's been almost a month since the Belgian outfit won a WorldTour race, which is quite something for a squad that dominated from January to mid-May in such dramatic fashion. "We'll try and do the best result as possible. Today is a good stage for our team and we have some cards to play," he told Cyclingnews and ITV at the start in Aurillac.
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