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Chris Froome faces crucial Dauphiné test to clinch Tour de France place

Four-time yellow jersey winner finished Tour de l’Ain 26 minutes behind team-mate Egan Bernal

Chris Froome faces a crucial test at the forthcoming Criterium du Dauphiné – the same race where his career was nearly ended by a crash in June last year – if he is to clinch a place in the Ineos Grenadiers line-up for the Tour de France later this month.

The 35 year old, who has his sights set on a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey finished in 41st place overall, more than 26 minutes behind team-mate and reigning Tour de France champion Egan Bernal at the Tour de l’Ain, which finished today.

Bernal was himself pipped to victory in the three-day race by 19 seconds by Primoz Roglic of Jumbo-Visma, who took his second successive stage win to

The Slovenian was one of three riders from the Dutch team in the top five of the general classification – Steven Kruijswijk was fourth and George Bennett fifth.

That show of strength suggests that in this topsy-turvy season, where top-level racing was suspended for almost five months and form is only now becoming clear – the dominance of Team Sky and latterly Team Ineos at the French Grand Tour faces its greatest threat since Vincenzo Nibali, then with Astana, won the 2014 edition.

Other than that, the British team has been all-conquering at the Tour de France as far as the overall is concerned, with Sir Bradley Wiggins’ victory in 2012 followed by Froome’s triumphs in 2013 and 2015-17, Geraint Thomas’s win in 2018 and Bernal prevailing last year.

And with Froome’s forthcoming move introducing an element of unpredictability – would he ride for himself, or for the team and sacrifice his own chances – and Sir Dave Brailsford having amply demonstrated in the past that he isn’t bound by sentiment when it comes to selection, it’s easy to imagine that the four-time winner may be at home in Monaco if the race starts, as planned, on 29 August a few kilometres along the Cote d’Azur in Nice.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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