Shout it from the rooftops: Derek Gee is a race winner. After those famous near misses, particularly during last year’s Giro d’Italia, the Canadian rider finished a brilliant Israel – Premier Tech performance to win stage three of the Critérium du Dauphiné in Les Estables on Tuesday.

Gee‘s second reward for this unforgettable day was the race leader’s yellow jersey, which he’ll wear in Wednesday’s individual time trial.

“This is definitely on a different level,” says Gee. “It’s unbelievably special to win here. I’ve been waiting for a win in Europe. I’ve come second several times. It was nice to finish it off. A massive part of it was Krists Neilands attacking with one kilometer to go and I was in a good position and it was strung out. I wasn’t planning on going there but as soon as he came back, there was a bit of a lull and I had to take advantage of it.”

IPT’s 16th victory of 2024 was the least the team deserved for its strong start to this prestigious race, which is one of the two key warm-up events for the Tour de France. Dylan Teuns placed sixth in Monday’s second stage after his teammates worked throughout to close down the day’s breakaway group. Today, Neilands’ blistering acceleration under the flamme rouge put other teams on the back foot, before Gee launched his counter move seconds after his teammate was caught.

Romain Grégoire (GFC) was the only rider who could follow Gee; the Frenchman briefly looked like he was going to claim the victory. But Gee, whose determination and character won over so many fans in that breakthrough Giro performance last year, sprinted past him 150 meters from the line and held on for an unforgettable win. To make it extra special, his fiancée Ruby greeted him for the celebrations.

Gee says: “The goal coming into the race wasn’t necessarily for me to win a stage. We were going for Dylan [Teuns] most of the day, it was a good finish for him, but he made the call on the final climb saying ‘boys if you have the legs, go for it’ and we took it up. I’m really happy to come away with it.”

Before today, Gee’s two previous wins on the road were in the Canadian Time Trial Championships in 2022 and 2023. Because of this victory, he’ll swap his national skinsuit for a yellow one in tomorrow’s 34.4-kilometer test between Saint-Germain-Laval and Neulise.

“Wearing the yellow jersey is pretty special,” he adds. “That’s going to be quite a feeling I think.”

Sports Director Daryl Impey adds: “It was an amazing ride by all the guys! A great team victory, finished off by Derek. It’s only day three out of eight, but we’re not done yet and we’re hungry for more at this Dauphiné.”