Froome Wins Dauphine For Second Year In A Row
Chris Froome celebrated his third career Criterium du Dauphine title on Sunday afternoon. The British rider finished off another impressive performance in France, and proved that he is the man to beat at the Tour de France in July.
The Dauphine got underway last Sunday with an uphill prologue time trial. It was Alberto Contador who came out on top on a tough day of climbing. Richie Porte and Froome finished second and third. For the Spanish rider it was the start he was looking for, as he went into the week with a 13-second advantage over Froome.
The next day was one for the sprinters. Stage favorite Nacer Bouhanni took the win, and the general classification remained unchanged at the top.
Stage two was almost a day for the breakaway riders to claim a win. Unfortunately for them they were caught inside the last kilometer, and in the end Jesus Herrada took the stage. Froome had a nice result by finishing in eighth place, but was unable to gain any time on Contador. Romain Bardet had the worst day out of all the GC riders. He was involved in a crash with a teammate, and lost 45 seconds as a result.
The next day belonged to Fabio Aru. A risky attack by the Italian late on in the race turned into a stage win. Holding off the sprinters at the line. It never appeared that he would pull off the win. At some points in the final kilometers his lead was only at five seconds. In the end it was a gusty performance, and a great result for him. Especially as he gears up for his first Tour de France appearance.
There were no changes atop the GC standings in stage three, but in stage four it was a different story. Froome managed to gain some time on Contador and move past Porte into second place. A crash in the last three kilometers split the peloton, and as a result allowed Froome to gain time on the pair. Edvald Boasson Hagen was the stage winner. Claiming his sixth victory of the season.
Stage five gave us another classic Froome performance in the mountains. With two kilometers to go the British rider attacked the yellow jersey group. Contador was unable to follow, but the Australian Porte got on his wheel. The two battled it out all the way to the finish, and in the end Froome came out on top. The former teammates now moved into first and second place in the GC standings. It was now the defending champions race to lose.
In the penultimate stage of the race Froome would have to play catch up. The french duo of Thibaut Pinot and Bardet got into a breakaway group, and started to put significant time between themselves and the yellow jersey group. At one point Bardet was the virtual leader of the race. Behind the breakaway riders Team Sky were busy at work, making sure that the yellow jersey remained with their leader.
The two Frenchman went head-to-head in the final kilometer, as they both sprinted for stage glory. It was Pinot who went past Bardet and claimed the stage win. After they crossed everyone waited to see where Froome was at. He came across the line over a minute later, but it wasn’t enough to take the jersey away from him. His teammates Mikel Landa and Sergio Henao were instrumental in helping him retain the jersey, and the Maillot Jaune was very grateful for the teams efforts on the day.
The final day of the race was another mountainous day. It offered many opportunities for the GC riders to try and displace each other. Contador tried to do exactly that by attacking Froome not once, but twice. Both times the leader of the race and his team were able to cover the attacks.
In the final kilometers of the stage Dan Martin launched what proved to be a well timed attack. As he moved into third place in the GC standings as a result. Despite all the attacks, there was no one who had what it took to displace Froome at the end of the day. It was another brilliant performance by the two time Tour de France champion.
It had turned into a bit of a disappointment on the final day for some of the other riders. Porte had faded to fourth place overall after a strong start earlier in the week. Contador was unable to regain a podium spot and finished in fifth. For Bardet it turned out to be a fantastic performance. His second place finish was highest finish ever at the race.
Steve Cummings was the final stage winner. He had capped off a terrific week for Team Dimension Data. The team had Boasson Hagen win the green points jersey, and Daniel Teklehaimanot won the king of the mountains jersey.
For Froome and Team Sky it was a day of celebration. Sky were the team winners of the race to go along with the GC victory for their team leader. They had put together a terrific performance riding for their team leader, and he had capitalized on it.
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