COURCHEVEL, France, June 15, 2014 (AFP) – American Andrew Talansky picked
up the biggest victory of his career as he won the Criterium de Dauphine after
an epic battle against Spanish double Tour de France winner Alberto Contador
The 25-year-old Garmin rider from Miami came home fourth on the eighth and
final stage behind the day’s winner Mikel Nieve of Spain, but crucially 1min
6sec ahead of Contador to snatch overall victory by just 27 seconds.
Britain’s defending Tour de France champion Chris Froome struggled badly
and was clearly not fit as he came home over five minutes behind the leaders
to relinquish the title he won last year.
Froome, who crashed on stage six and lost the race lead the following day
to Contador on Saturday, finished in overall 12th position.
Nieve, who made it three stage wins for Sky over the eight day race, said
the Kenyan-born Froome had failed to recover from his nasty crash on Friday.
“It was very, very hard today, Chris still hadn’t recovered from his
accident so I went for the stage win,” said the Spaniard.
“He really suffered after the crash and yesterday he still hadn’t recovered
and today wasn’t better. I had an opportunity and went for it.”
The riders covered three category climbs including a summit finish during
the 131.5km run from Megeve to the ski resort of Courchevel.
Contador fought furiously to catch Talansky on the final climb and was
within five seconds of regaining the virtual lead with less than 2km to run.
However at the front, Talansky proved too strong and had just enough in the
tank to hold off Contador by a meagre 27secs.
Belgium’s Jurgen Van den Broeck finished fifth on the stage, nine seconds
behind Nieve, but enough for third place overall just 35secs behind Talansky.
“You put your life into something and make sacrifices for days like this,”
said Talansky, who broke down in tears when he realised he had won.
“Every bad moment, every crash, all the problems makes it all worth while
for moments like this.
“It was a very hard start but (Ryder) Hesjedal went to the front and worked
so hard to sacrifice for me and when we got in front, we saw the opportunity
and we had to try,” continued Talansky.
“It’s an incredible day! I’ve often been second, at Paris-Nice and the Tour
of Romandy but when you win, the feelings are completely different.”
When asked if he was now one of the favourites for the Tour de France,
which begins in Leeds, England on July 5 and runs until July 27, he played
down his chances.
“No, Im not a favourite, this is the Dauphine, the Tour de France is
another race but I’ll try.
“My goal in the Tour is to do better than last year (10th). If everything
goes well maybe top ten even top five. I’m leaving tomorrow (Monday) to
discover the time-trial for the Tour.”
Leading results after the eighth
and final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday, a 131.5km run from
Megeve to Courchevel.
1. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 3hr 20min 29sec, 2. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) at
03sec, 3. Adam Yates (GBR/ORI) 05, 4. Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) 09, 5. Jürgen
Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) 09, 6. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) 15, 7. Wilco
Kelderman (NED/BKN) 32, 8. John Gadret (FRA/MOV) 36, 9. Daniel Navarro
(ESP/COF) 41, 10. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) 1:15,
14. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 1:44, 20. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 5:05.
1. Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) 31hr 08min 08sec, 2. Alberto Contador
(ESP/TIN) at 27sec, 3. Jürgen Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) 35, 4. Wilco Kelderman
(NED/BKN) 43, 5. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 1:20, 6. Adam Yates (GBR/ORI) 2:05,
7. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) 2:12, 8. Mikel Nieve (ESP/SKY) 2:59, 9. Daniel
Navarro (ESP/COF) 3:04, 10. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) 3:17, 11. Leopold König
(CZE/APP) 4:03, 12. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 4:25