June 19th, 2024

Canadian rider Derek Gee celebrates podium finish in Critérium du Dauphiné

By The Canadian Press on June 9, 2024.

Canadian rider Derek Gee celebrated his first ever WorldTour general classification podium Sunday, finishing third in the Criterium du Dauphine. Canadian cyclist Derek Gee is shown in this undated handout image provided by Israel-Premier Tech. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Israel-Premier Tech **MANDATORY CREDIT **

THÔNES, France – Canadian rider Derek Gee celebrated his first ever WorldTour general classification podium Sunday, finishing third in the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic, a favourite for the Tour de France, held on to win the eight-day race by eight seconds over American Matteo Jorgenson with Gee another 28 seconds behind.

The Critérium du Dauphiné is considered a key Tour de France warm-up race.

Eleven racers have won the race and the Tour de France in the same year, most recently Denmark’s Jonas Vingegaard in 2023.

Gee credited his Israel-Premier Tech teammates for their support in a gruelling finale that included 3,640 metres of climbing and a final 9.4-kilometres ascent.

“I’m really glad I could do that because the boys gave me everything,” an exhausted Gee said after the race. “I’m just really happy I finished that off.”

Spain’s Carlos Rodríguez won Sunday’s 160.6-kilometre final stage, which started at Thieres and finished at Plateau des Glieres, with Jorgenson second and Gee third. Roglic was sixth.

The 26-year-old Gee from Ottawa was in a small lead group but was eventually dropped by Rodriguez and Jorgenson.

Fellow Israel-Premier Tech rider Hugo Houle, from Sainte-Perpétue, Que., finished 64th overall.

Gee, who went into Sunday’s finale in third place overall, also placed fourth in the points race and sixth in the climbing category.

Roglic, a favourite for the Tour, won the penultimate stage to lead the overall standings by 62 seconds over Jorgenson.

Gee was another 11 seconds back, some 43 seconds ahead of Russian Aleksandr Vlasov.

Gee won Stage 3 on Tuesday, earning the right to wear the yellow leader’s jersey in the general classification. He became the first Canadian to wear the leader’s jersey since David Veilleux, who won the first stage in 2013 and held onto the lead for three days.

Gee dropped to fourth overall after finishing sixth in Wednesday’s time trial.

Stage 5 Thursday was called prematurely after a mass crash. Gee climbed into fourth place overall Friday, moving into third Saturday.

Gee turned heads last year in his first Grand Tour race, finishing second four times and fourth twice in the Giro d’Italia.

He placed 22nd in the final general classification standings and was runner-up to Italy’s Jonathan Milan in the points race and France’s Thibaut Pinot in the King of the Mountains standings.

The Canadian was also honoured as the Giro’s “super combative rider.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2024

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