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Team Sky rider misses podium by 1 second following thrilling final stage as Fuglsang takes overall

 

Chris Froome insists his preparations to defend his Tour de France title next month remain on target despite the Team Sky rider missing out on the podium at the Criterium du Dauphiné today following a spectacular final stage to the week-long French race.

The stage was won by Jakob Fuglsang of Astana, who pointed to the sky as he crossed the line in tribute to his team mate Michele Scarponi who was killed in April when he was hit by a truck while training for the Giro d’Italia.

Fuglsang overhauled overnight leader Richie Porte of BMC Racing to take victory on a short but tough 115-kilometre stage from Albertville to Plateau de Solaison in which the attacking was relentless from the start.

Froome, who was second overall ahead of the final stage, 1 minute 2 seconds behind Porte, his close friend, training partner and former lieutenant at Team Sky.

At one point, Froome was virtual leader on the road as the race leader was distanced, but on the final climb Fuglsang launched the attack that would lead to him becoming the first Dane to win the race.

He clinched it by just 10 seconds from Porte, who had limited his losses to finish runner-up. Dan Martin of Quick Step Floors finished third overall.

Froome said afterwards: "Everyone knew it was going to be a really aggressive day of racing. For us we weren’t here to try and protect second place – we wanted to race for the win today.

“So we put all our cards on the table and I think that’s exactly what we did as a team. Even though it didn’t pay off in the end I think we’ve got to be happy with that. I came here looking for a hard week of racing and that’s exactly what I got.

“I only had 19 days of racing before the Dauphiné so I’m really light on racing. Hopefully this will move me on now as well in terms of preparations for July.

 "At one point I was close to being in the virtual yellow jersey. But I think I’d done so much work earlier on to try and set up that situation that when I got to the final climb I didn’t have much left unfortunately.

“But if I’d just been here to defend second place I would have been more conservative. I would have waited for the last climb and just followed Jakob and [his Astana team mate, Fabio] Aru. That wasn’t the plan today.”

Froome had been looking to win the race for what would have been a record fourth time, his previous victories coming in 2013, 2015 and 2016 – the three years in which he went on to win the Tour de France.

The result leaves him without a victory to date in 2017 but he insists his preparations for this year’s 104th edition of the three-week race are going according to plan.

"If I look at where I was a few weeks ago at the Tour of Romandie I seemed to be a long way off the pace,” he said.

“Here I feel as if I’ve got better and better over the week and at least I’m heading in the right direction. I feel as if I’m on track for July."

Last week, both Froome and BMC Racing insisted that there was no truth in a report on L’Equipe that he had contacted the US-registered team with a view to joining it in 2018.

> Updated: Chris Froome and BMC Racing rubbish Team Sky star transfer rumour

It has subsequently been reported that an extension of his contract with Team Sky may be announced before the Tour de France starts in Düsseldorf on 1 July.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

11 comments

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don simon [1528 posts] 6 months ago
2 likes

Don't worry Chris, it's all in hand mate. Just keep an eye out for the Jiffy bag.  3

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Bobbinogs [254 posts] 6 months ago
6 likes

Brilliant stage. Froome and Sky light this one up and kickstarted the spectacle it was, although pretty much every rider played their part having a go: Valverde and Aru, Martin, Kwiatovski...and a fantastic effort from Porte. Shame some folks can't just enjoy a bloody great race without some little cynical snipe from the comfort of an armchair.

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don simon [1528 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

I read the article as being Froome's explanation as to why he and SKY didn't light this one up, fanboy.  3

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RobD [539 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

Hopefully this bodes well for the Tour, Froome's obviously in pretty good shape, although maybe not quite as dominant as previous years (but having seen him reduce racing beforehand to still have something left for the third week it's not a big surprise).

Some of the other guys have really stepped up this year, and having seen that they can beat Froome on a race he's clearly very good at should give a little bit of confidence and open up the racing a bit more (or hopefully not the complete opposite where all the teams just sit on and wait and wait until the last stage or two where they attack because they don't feel they need to make such desperate attempts)

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CXR94Di2 [1856 posts] 6 months ago
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It should be a great TDF. I hope Froome does well, but at the same time I hope all the new contenders push him to the limit. It will be exciting to watch if a handful of riders have a shot of winning in the 3rd week

I think Contador seems to have crested and is now slowly descending down in performance. Quintana is not as punchy. Porte is great form and could easily win if everything goes his way, deserves it after being right hand man to Froome for several years

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handlebarcam [1061 posts] 6 months ago
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Richie Porte seemed pretty pissed that "some people" seemingly would do anything they could to "stop him from winning", even at their own expense. Not sure how much help Froome might get from BMC in July were he to find himself isolated.

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peted76 [795 posts] 6 months ago
1 like

Fantastic stage, really exciting, gets my vote for best 'stage' of a 'stage race' this year. So much going on  1

Porte was superb, he just would not crack, the way he brought back that 'super group' including Froome on the last climb.... it's a shame he missed out on the overall, but it's not at the  detriment of Fuglsang, who rightly deserved the win, he's been a beast all week and the best rider on the day won the race in the end. 

@Don Simon - it sounds like you didn't watch the race, Froome atacked from the off yesterday, again and again and again, Michael Kwika's value/stocks must be going through the roof and Pete Kenneagh won the stage on Saturday.  

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daturaman [19 posts] 6 months ago
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peted76 wrote:

Fantastic stage, really exciting, gets my vote for best 'stage' of a 'stage race' this year. So much going on  1

Bizarrely, the whole broadcast had no commentary on Eurosport player. Not sure if that was intentional. It didn't affect the excitement at all though, far from it. Road cycling really can be enthralling when it's so competitive llike that.

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Ad Hynkel [162 posts] 6 months ago
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Daturaman, sounds like you were watching the UCI channel that gets broadcast alongside. Good for avoiding adverts or if you get tired of commentators...

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don simon [1528 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
peted76 wrote:

 

 

@Don Simon - it sounds like you didn't watch the race, Froome atacked from the off yesterday, again and again and again, Michael Kwika's value/stocks must be going through the roof and Pete Kenneagh won the stage on Saturday.  

Must have missed that on the highlights...  smiley

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1961BikiE [392 posts] 6 months ago
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Wasn't the excitement actually because (and I'm only going on highlights show) there were no teams with more than half their team in position by the last 2 climbs. I'll be very surprised if this is repeated at Le Tour. We can hope though.

Fuglsang advantage, as well as being in great shape, was having Aru up there at the end in almost the same condition. Though they didn't do the classic 1 - 2, that is what happened and it was always likely to play to the advantage of one of them. Though perhaps not to the degree it did in the end.

TBH thought the race was very mundane until the last three stages.