Resplendent in the yellow jersey after winning Sunday’s opening time trial stage, Froome led the way in the final finale of the stage after his Sky teammates dropped him off earlier on the punishing ascent. Froome launched a big acceleration within the final five kilometres to distance all of his rivals barring Contador.
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After Froome had checked over his shoulder to see what company he had, the lead pair slowed slightly. This allowed Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol), Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) and Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) to regain contact but behind them, the rest of the chase group was in pieces.
Kelderman and Van den Broeck both launched attacks, with Nibali and Talansky distanced at one point, but the group of six was back together with two and a half kilometres to go.
Froome kept up the pressure, putting in several digs as they headed toward the kick up to line with Contador attached to his back wheel.
Contador simply couldn’t match Froome in the finale and the British Tour de France 2013 champion crossed the line victorious ahead of the Spaniard. It was another highly convincing display by Froome to match his previous day’s ride against the clock.
Kelderman came home for third, with young British climber Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) once again proving his class at the top level in eighth, just 13 seconds behind Nibali.
Froome now leads Contador by 12 seconds overall, with Kelderman in third at 21 seconds. Yates is in ninth overall at one minute and 31 seconds.
Tuesday’s stage three takes the riders from Ambert to La Teil over 194km. The 2014 Criterium du Dauphine concludes on Sunday, June 15.
Criterium du Dauphine 2014, stage two: Tarare to Col du Béal, 158.5km
1. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky in 4-24-41
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at same time
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 4 secs
4. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 10 secs
5. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 12 secs
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 27 secs
7. Igor Anton (Spa) Movistar at 40 secs
8. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 42 secs
9. Sebastien Reichenbach (Sui) IAM Cycling at 44 secs
10. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis at 45 secs
Overall classification after stage two
1. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky in 4-37-44
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 12 secs
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 21 secs
4. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 33 secs
5. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol at 35 secs
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 50 secs
7. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing at 1-22
8. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1-22
9. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 1-31
10. Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana at 1-35
Images from the opening stage of the Criterium du Dauphine, won by Chris Froome. Photos by Graham Watson
Defending Criterium du Dauphine champion Chris Froome takes early race lead with dominant display in time trial
Full preview of the 2014 Criterium du Dauphine: info, stages, past winners and more