The Brit feels on track for his Tour de France defence after missing out on a podium spot at the Dauphiné

Despite missing out on a podium spot by one second, Chris Froome has said he is “on track” for the Tour de France after a hard week of racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Going into the race as defending champion, Froome took the positives from a performance that saw him slip from second to fourth on the final day.

>>> Analysis: It’s advantage Porte, but Chris Froome has reason for optimism as the Tour approaches

“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 [Fuglsang] and [Fabio] Aru. That wasn’t the plan” he said.

“If I look at where I was a few weeks ago at the Tour de Romandie I seemed to be a long way off the pace. 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.


Watch: Critérium du Dauphiné stage eight highlights


“For us we weren’t here to try and protect second place – we wanted to race for the win. 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” he explained after finishing fourth overall and eighth on the stage on Sunday.

After missing out on the day’s initial attack, Froome found himself with Porte as their rivals went for glory. The Team Sky man found himself having to rely on his descending skills as he dropped Porte over the top of the Col de la Colombiere. He soon bridged the gap to the front group but only after some considerable effort.

>>> Five things we learned from the Critérium du Dauphiné

“At one point I was close to being in the virtual yellow jersey” he said, “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” he explained.

Froome can take solace in the fact that he is slowly progressing towards his season’s main goal, the Tour de France.

“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.”