Just over one year ago, the cycling world fell in love with Derek Gee at the Giro d’Italia with his tenacity and determination in the breakaway day after day making him a fan favorite. Today, as he stood on the podium at the Critérium du Dauphiné in third place, his first-ever WorldTour podium, it’s safe to say Gee has once again shown just how good he is.

Not only did the Canadian land his first win on European soil with an impressive attack on stage 3, which put him into the leader’s yellow jersey, but he backed it up with another four top-10 results, including third, fourth, and fifth on the key mountain stages.

With his sights set on defending his GC podium ahead of today’s final stage, Gee animated the stage on the category one climb Plateau des Glières by forcing a selection in the GC group. And although stage winner Carlos Rodriguez and second overall Matteo Jorgenson managed to distance Gee with a little over one kilometer to go, Gee dug deep to finish third on the stage and secure his historic podium.

“I think all week I was nervous, waiting for the legs to give out,” Gee said. “After the line I was suffering so much I couldn’t enjoy it but now, it’s all starting to sink in. There will be a lot of reflection after this. Right now I am just enjoying it as it is. But, it’s been really cool.

“I was suffering on the final climb but as soon as I saw Roglič get dropped I thought “maybe I have good legs today” so I gave it a shot. Matteo [Jorgenson] said he was on the limit and couldn’t pull through and pulled off and then I was immediately on the limit. Rodriguez and Jorgenson rode away and I couldn’t do anything about that but I was really happy with the legs.”

All week, Gee has had nothing but praise for his teammates, including three-time winner Chris Froome and two-time winner Jakob Fuglsang,

“The team has ridden amazing for me,” he adds. “Five Dauphiné wins in the team and these are the guys who are helping me stay on the podium so I’m just really glad I could finish it off.”

Following a block at altitude, Gee came to his first Critérium du Dauphiné looking to test his legs and see how far he could go on the General Classification. His results exceeded expectations explained Sports Director Daryl Impey.

“This whole week has been a nice surprise,” admitted Impey. “Coming into the Critérium du Dauphiné, we believed Derek could do a decent GC result here but he exceeded expectations. Purely because of the hard work he has been putting in prior to this, working hard at camp, but not just him, the whole team. It was great to see everyone rise up and everyone came in with good condition from training camp, they wanted to be there, they believed in themselves, and they believed in the team. We were one of the only teams with four guys left in the end there today so it shows the depth we have in the team and how we are growing.”

While Gee may have transitioned from a breakaway star to GC contender, the priority right now is celebrating his success in France.

“A podium in one of the biggest stage races before one of the most important races of the season is a clear indication of Derek’s abilities and we look forward to seeing what he can do down the line,” added Impey. “But first, we’re really happy with this podium and we will enjoy the success. With a stage win, wearing the yellow jersey, and a GC podium, we have exceeded our expectations here and we really rode to this group’s potential.”