FINHAUT EMOSSON, Switzerland, June 14, 2014 (AFP) – Spaniard Alberto
Contador grabbed the lead in the Criterium du Dauphine on Saturday with a
desperate attack on the final climb of stage seven that leaves Britain’s Chris
Froome trailing by eight seconds.
The double Tour de France winner, laid down a psychological marker for this
year’s race, as he attacked Froome with 2km to run on a brutal beyond category
climb with the Sky rider desperately clinging on but unable to protect his
“It’s a result that gives me confidence and confirms all the work I’ve
done. I’m on the right track but there are still 20 days until the Tour de
France which is the big objective for the season,” said Contador.
“The most important thing is to improve every day. Today, Froome was behind
me but that can change from one day to another.”
Dutch rider Lieuwe Westra won a sensational stage as he collapsed across
the line with Russia’s Katusha rider Yury Trofimov second and teammate Egor
Silin just behind in third on a 160km run from Ville-La-Grand to
Finhaut-Emosson, just across the Swiss border.
The Dutch time-trial champion overtook the two Russians in the final 200m
after the trio broke away from an earlier 14 man escape.
Contador arrived 1min 31secs later in fourth while Froome settled for
seventh and admitted he was hampered by a nasty crash in Friday’s sixth stage
with less than 8km to run.
“I’m obviously disappointed to lose the yellow jersey but I took a knock in
the crash yesterday (Friday) and I lost a bit of energy because of it,” said
“Alberto rode a fantastic race and congratulations to him. He attacked at
the most difficult part of the stage but it was a good test for all of us. As
a team, we’re still in a really good position,” he added about his Sky
“Two stage victories, six days in yellow and the green jersey for points,”
continued Froome after a fine week for the British team.
“There is only an eight second difference in the standings and for me it
will depend on how I feel. It’s never finished until you’ve crossed the line.”
Contador was modest after his win and said he hadn’t been thinking about
overall victory when he turned up at the start line.
“I came to the Dauphine without thinking about the victory but now I’m in
the yellow jersey although that doesn’t change too much because yellow is the
colour of my team jersey,” joked Contador.
“Tomorrow (Sunday), I know it’s going to be difficult, we’ll just have to
see what happens,” he added.
The 31-year-old took off with 2km to race and went into his trademark
dancing style in the pedals as Australian Sky rider Richie Porte worked
relentlessly to keep teammate Froome in touch.
With 1km to the finish, Froome went off alone in a bid to catch Contador
but although he could see him just ahead, the 2007 and 2009 Tour de France
winner did enough to gain 20 seconds on the day and eight overall.
American Andrew Talansky had a strong day and came home fifth two seconds
ahead of Froome which puts him third overall as he overtakes Dutchman Wilco
Kelderman who finished 12th at 2min 32secs.
Sunday’s eighth and final stage is a 131.5km run from Megeve to Courchevel
and will provide a chance for Froome to still win the race on a route littered
with three category one climbs including another summit finish.
Results after the
seventh and penultimate stage of the Criterium du Dauphine, over 160km from
Ville-la-Grand to Finhaut-Emosson, Switzerland.
1. Lieuwe Westra (NED/AST) 4hr 32min 51sec, 2. Yury Trofimov (RUS/KAT) at
07secs, 3. Egor Silin (RUS/KAT) 16, 4. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 1:33, 5.
Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) 1:51, 6. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM) 1:53, 7. Chris
Froome (GBR/SKY) 1:53, 8. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 2:11, 9. Romain Bardet
(FRA/ALM) 2:16, 10. Sebastien Reichenbach (SUI/IAM) 2:19, 11. Jurgen Van den
Broeck (BEL/LTB) 2:24, 12. Wilco Kelderman (NED/BKN) 2:32, 13. Richie Porte
(AUS/SKY) 2:54, 14. Leopold König (CZE/APP) 3:01, 15. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY)
3:06, 16. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 3:13, 17. Igor Anton (ESP/MOV) 3:13, 18.
Adam Yates (ENG/ORI) 3:13, 19. Daniel Navarro (ESP/COF) 3:13, 20. Daniel
Moreno (ESP/KAT) 3:35.
23. John Gadret (FRA/MOV) 4:29, 24. Tony Gallopin (FRA/LTB) 4:48, 27. Tejay
Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 5:07, 68. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/EUC) 17:21
Did not start: Damiano Caruso (ITA/CAN), Jack Bobridge (AUS/BKN), Yoann
Offredo (FRA/FDJ), Michal Kwiatkowski (POL/OPQ)
Retired: Sylvester Szmyd (POL/MOV), Vincent Jérôme (FRA/EUC), Jürgen
Roelandts (BEL/LTB), Thierry Hupond (FRA/GIA), Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg
1. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 27hr 46min 51sec, 2. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY)
at 0:08sec, 3. Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) 0:39, 4. Wilco Kelderman (NED/BKN)
0:59, 5. Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) 1:14, 6. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST)
1:16, 7. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 2:11, 8. Sebastien Reichenbach (SUI/IAM)
2:14, 9. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 2:50, 10. Adam Yates (ENG/ORI) 2:52, 11.
Leopold König (CZE/APP) 3:00, 12. Daniel Navarro (ESP/COF) 3:11, 13. Haimar
Zubeldia (ESP/TRE) 3:41, 14. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 3:57, 15. Tanel Kangert
(EST/AST) 4:02, 16. Lieuwe Westra (NED/AST) 4:04, 17. Daniel Moreno (ESP/KAT)
4:32, 18. Egor Silin (RUS/KAT) 4:58, 19. Kristijan Durasek (CRO/LAM) 5:35, 20.
Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 5:44
Selected: 22. John Gadret (FRA/MOV) 6:45, 28. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM)
11:05, 48. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/EUC) 29:08