Chris Froome praises Alberto Contador's efforts on the penultimate Dauphine stage's final climb

One day after Sky’s Chris Froome crashed, Alberto Contador rode away from his rival and into the race lead in the Critérium du Dauphiné. Team Tinkoff-Saxo’s Spaniard shot free with around 1.5 kilometre to race up the Col de la Gueulaz and kept Froome at bay by 20 seconds, given him an eight-second lead with one day to race.

“I’m pretty knackered after yesterday,” Froome said. “Obviously, I’m disappointed to lose the yellow jersey.”

Froome looked down at his body in bandages. He crashed in yesterday’s final 10 kilometres and today, began with his hip, back and stitched elbow wrapped up.

“Obviously, I took a knock in the crash yesterday. I lost some energy because of that, but I’m remaining upbeat.”

Sky made sure that Froome could be upbeat. It had Vasil Kiryienka, David Lopez, Geraint Thomas, Richie Porte and Mikel Nieve for Froome at the base of the final climb. When his rivals had no team-mates, Froome still had Porte and Nieve. The crash yesterday or simply Contador’s strength were too much for Froome, however.

“It was interesting to see coming up the last climb, there were six of us, looking around seeing all the other leaders on their own, or some of them with only one team-mate, ” Froome said.

“We are in a good position as a team, it’s normal to expect that I’m a little bit off after yesterday but having said that, Alberto did a fantastic race, respect to him. He took the race on when it was hardest, he has the leader’s jersey now to show for it.”

Froome won the Dauphiné stage race en route to last year’s Tour de France victory. To have a chance to repeat, he will have to overtake Contador when the race finishes at the Courchevel ski station tomorrow. The 5.9-kilometre climb will decide the winner of what is a tied match: Froome got the best of Contador on the Col du Béal and Contador on the Col de la Gueulaz.

“I’m trying not to look at it in a negative light, it’s been a good week for us, two stage wins, riding on the front all week as a team, we got some really good things out of this week even if we don’t end up with the leaders jersey,” Froome said.

“I’ve got eight seconds to make up, but the big thing for me to see how the legs are tomorrow and how the body’s feeling. It’s never over until it’s over.”

  • poisonjunction

    ‘TeamTimkoff Saxo’s Spaniard [Contador] shot free with about 1.5 km to race ….’
    very descriptive ….. was the actual breakaway filmed, or was it tactfully edited out?

    A similar Contador effort was filmed the following and last day, and that WAS edited. IMHO

    ……………… Contador realised he’d been ‘suckered’ into sitting on the Sky Team [in the absence of Timkoff-Saxo support], and allowed other GC contenders to go up the road and into the ‘overall ‘ picture.

    The remains of the peloton were heading uphill in the LH lane. Suddenly the sound of accelerating motor bikes was audible and seconds later two appeared abreast in the clear RH lane, and swept past the field on the Left, milli seconds later who should shoot past, going almost as quickly as if in pursuit of the motor bikes ……… out of the saddle, big gear rolling …… Bertie boy doing I would estimate approx 25 mph. How wonderous is that ……. !

    Nothing on the screen earlier, until the live broadcast director had ensured anything that might be ‘somehow misconceived’ was edited out.

    You can’t stop riders from being unsportsmanlike, at the risk of upsetting us the viewer[!!}
    But a step in the right direction would be a ban on slow moving motorcycles, accelerating away from approaching riders particularly when travelling
    uphill. IMHO of course..!

    We also had a sight recently that missed editing, when a rider a few places back from the peloton head, sat up waving and gesticulating at the Motor Cameraman to get further away from the riders. With telephoto lenses, there is absolutely no need for camera bikes to be anywhere near riders.

    Watch carefully and be surprised.