Derek Gee wins stage 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

‘I’ve been waiting for a win’: Derek Gee breaks through at the Dauphiné

After a run of second-place finishes at last year's Giro d'Italia, the Canadian finally got that elusive first WorldTour win.

Dane Cash
by Dane Cash 04.06.2024 Photography by
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Just over a year after he made a name for himself with one near miss after another at the 2023 Giro d’Italia, Derek Gee (Israel-Premier Tech) has his first WorldTour win. The 26-year-old Canadian bested Romain Grégoire (Groupama-FDJ) after the pair surged clear of a reduced bunch in the closing meters of stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

“I’ve been waiting for a win in Europe. I’ve come second enough times, and it was nice to finish it off,” Gee said after the victory, which also propelled him into the race leader’s jersey. “It’s definitely a different level. It’s unbelievably special to win here.”

Although Gee is a two-time national time trial champion in Canada, it was his bevy of runner-up rides in the lumpy Giro stages last year that catapulted Gee to wider recognition in the pro peloton. He finished second on stages 8, 10, 14, and 19 in the race and also stood second in the final standings for the mountains and points classifications without having won any of them. The results grew his profile as an up-and-coming pro, but that first big win was still elusive until Tuesday.

The IPT team was active in the finale of the hilly third stage of the Dauphiné, which finished with a third-category climb to Les Estables. According to Gee, “the goal coming in 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.”

Gee’s teammate Krists Neilands tried an attack with around a kilometer to go. That move fell short, so Gee made an attempt of his own at 500 meters to go, drawing Grégoire with him. The pair held on to the line, where Gee beat the Frenchman convincingly.

Given all the close calls Gee has experienced over the past two seasons, it was a particularly impactful result.

“You always have a little bit of impostor syndrome, especially after the Giro,” he said according to CyclingNews. “Credit to the team, they’ve always believed in me, but sometimes it’s a little harder to believe in yourself when you have such a good race or a good three weeks last year and then you go back to the level you were in before it. You think, ‘Was that a fluke?’ So it’s nice for the confidence to be able to back it up this year.”

Gee’s Tuesday triumph was another big win for an Israel-Premier Tech team that is having far more success on the road in 2024 than they did last year, when Michael Woods’ Tour de France stage victory was the team’s lone WorldTour win. The squad already has more pro wins overall (16) than in all of 2023, when it scored 12, and five of this year’s victories have been at the WorldTour level.

That kind of success could help take some of the focus away from any talk of a spat between Chris Froome and Woods (as reported recently in L’Equipe and subsequently denied by Froome and Woods) over Tour participation.

In any case, it’s a huge step forward for Gee, who can finally call himself a WorldTour winner.

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