Chris Froome (Sky) stamped his authority on the Criterium du Dauphine with an impressive victory on stage five to take the overall lead from Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) and send a warning shot to his rivals ahead of the Tour de France.
From behind a typical Sky lead out Froome pounced on a late attack in the final 1.3km by Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff), catching the Spaniard before edging past him on the run in to the line.
It was the strong performance that had been expected of Froome and Sky in this year’s Dauphine; one which helped the British rider cement his place as outright favourite for the Tour de France in three weeks’ time.
Behind Froome, the sole remnant of the day’s 15 strong break, Matthew Busche (Radioshack-Leopard), was narrowly caught by the leading pair with metres to race but held on for third place on the stage.
Garmin’s youngster Dennis, after putting in a stoic performance in his big ring on the stage’s summit finish, conceded nearly a minute to Froome to drop to third overall behind Froome’s teammate Richie Porte.
Criterium du Dauphine 2013, stage five: Gresy-sur-Aix to Valmorel, 139km
1. Chris Froome (Sky) in 3-28-39
2. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) at 4 secs
3. Matthew Busche (Radioshack-Leopard) at s.t.
4. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at 10 secs
5. Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) at 12 secs
6. Daniel Moreno (Katusha)
7. Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) at s.t.
8. Daniel Navarro (Saxo-Tinkoff) at 21 secs
9. Richie Porte (Sky) at 24 secs
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) at 29 secs
Overall classification after stage five
1. Chris Froome (Sky) in 15-08-44
2. Richie Porte (Sky) at 52 secs
3. Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp) at 54 secs
4. Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) at 1-37
5. Daniel Moreno (Katusha) at 1-47
6. Daniel Navarro (Saxo-Tinkoff) at 1-49
7. Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) at 1-52
8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) at 1-58
9. Leopold Konig (NetApp-Endura) at 2-18
10. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) at 2-20
13. Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) at 2-49
25. Geraint Thomas (Sky) at 5-30
Richie Porte chases Matthew Busche
Matthew Busche goes solo
Alberto Contador attacks
Chris Froome wins