Remco Evenepoel sends out Tour de France warning and takes race lead at Criterium du Dauphine with thunderous ITT

Soudal - Quick-Step's Remco Evenepoel was playing down his ambitions and his level heading into the 2024 Criterium du Dauphine. In the stage 4 time-trial however, the Belgian looked back to his best as he powered to the stage win and moved into the race lead in the process, sending out a Tour de France warning.

As expected, the fastest of the early riders by some distance was the INEOS Grenadiers' European champion, Joshua Tarling. The Welshman completed the 34.4km course in a time of 42.06, over two minutes quicker than anyone else to have finished by that point, averaging out at 49.014 kilometres an hour.

Tarling was still the dominant rider when world champion Remco Evenepoel, who started the day in 33rd overall, took to the start ramp, still no one had gone within two minutes of the INEOS Grenadiers powerhouse. At the first time check however, Evenepoel was two seconds quicker than his rival. At the line meanwhile, both Matteo Sobrero and Tim Wellens got within two minutes of Tarling.

As Evenepoel reached the second time check, the difference between him and Tarling had been overturned with the Welshman now in front although just by a single second. At the finish line though, Evenepoel showed why is world champion to move into the hot seat and set the fastest time by 17 seconds.

As the rest of the general classification hopefuls followed Evenepoel, Sepp Kuss crossed the line 3:35 slower than Evenepoel. Tao Geoghegan Hart was 1:38 down. David Gaudu was a disastrous 4:07 off the pace, whilst Santiago Buitrago stopped the clock at 2:00. Juan Ayuso would have been slightly disappointed with his effort, finishing 1:27 down of the Soudal - Quick-Step leader. Oier Lazkano impressed, finishing 1:21 slower and moved into provisional third on the day.

Closing out the efforts of the day, Aleksandr Vlasov was 1:48 down on the stage winner, Carlos Rodriguez stopped the clock at 1:41 down, Matteo Jorgenson was at 1:07, Primoz Roglic kept himself in contention by losing just 39 seconds and Derek Gee battled bravely in the Maillot Jaune, losing 1:24.

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