Crit̩rium du Dauphin̩ РStage 7

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Westra goes one better on stage 7 whilst Contador puts time into Froome and takes the Yellow jersey

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Crit̩rium du Dauphin̩ РStage 7

Today’s battle between Alberto Contador and Chris Froome had been forecasted leading up to the hardest stage of this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné with two HC climbs on the last 30 kilometers of the stage.

Etape_7_Westra_Dauphine

And so it turned out to be. With two kilometers to go, in the wake of many kilometres of hard tempo set by Team Sky, Alberto Contador launched a late attack. The Tinkoff-Saxo captain quickly opened a significant gap and took 20 seconds on Froome on the line.

“I didn’t get the stage win today, since we had given the breakaway a big advantage. But I managed to take 20 seconds on Froome and even more time on some of my other rivals, which means that I’ll be in the yellow jersey with just one stage to go. Even more important, I saw that I am getting better every day and that I’m progressing ahead of the Tour”, explains a happy Contador and continues:

“Sky set a hard tempo in the finale but I had great support from my teammates until the last climb, where I was strong enough to make a decisive move on my own”.

Chris Froome meanwhile had this to say: “Obviously I’m disappointed to lose the yellow jersey, but in the same breath, I think we can take a lot away from today – it was such a strong team performance. I took a bit of a knock yesterday in the crash and lost a bit of energy because of that. I felt a bit blocked through my thighs, especially where I landed yesterday, but I’m not going to let that get me down”.

“I think it’s normal that I was a little bit off and Alberto rode a fantastic race, so respect to him. He took the race on when it was at its hardest, and he’s got the jersey to show for it.”

“The guys have been on the front for six days now, which has been incredible, and it’s been a good test for us all. It was an amazing feeling as team leader to see six of us on the front heading onto that last climb, looking around and seeing the other team leaders on their own. As a team we’re in a really good position.”

“It’s been a good week for us, two stage wins, six days and yellow and I’m still top of the points classification. We’ve got some really good things out of this week, even if we don’t end up with the leader’s jersey”.

“That said, there’s only eight seconds to make up on the hill-top finish tomorrow and the big thing for me will be to see how my legs are, and how my body is feeling. It’s never over until it’s over.”

THE STAGE
Lieuwe Westra took his revenge twenty-four hours after missing out on the stage win against Jan Bakelants in Poisy. The Dutchman imposed himself on the queen stage at Finhaut-Emosson.

After a very fast start from Ville-la-Grand where the mayor, Raymond Bardet, decorated up and coming French climber Romain Bardet, his homonym, five riders went away at the initiative of stage 6 runner up Lieuwe Westra (Astana).

Stage 4 winner Yuriy Trofimov (Katusha) was hungry for more as he passed the first categorized climb of the day in first position. After the côte des Gets, a chasing group came across to the six leaders, Tony Gallopin (Lotto) having firstly bridged the gap by himself, to make it a 14-man breakaway at km 53:

— Lieuwe Westra (Astana), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Blel Kadri (AG2R), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Tony Gallopin (Lotto), Matthias Brändle (IAM), Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Greg van Avermaet (BMC), Egor Silin and Yuriy Trofimov (Katusha), Julian Alaphilippe (OPQS), Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin), Lars Boom (Belkin) and Daniel Schorn (NetApp).

It took more than fifty kilometres for Lieuwe Westra to move into the virtual lead of the Dauphiné. The Dutchman was 5.59 down on Chris Froome after stage 6. The breakaway reached an advantage of six minutes at km 105. They increased their lead to 7.45 at km 113 until Tinkoff-Saxo took over from Team Sky at the head of the peloton while a head wind was reported in the valley.

Trofimov was obviously hungry for more as he attacked seven kilometers before the col de la Forclaz and once again three kilometers away from the summit as Gallopin, Westra, Silin and Hesjedal were the last four climbers able to follow him.

He was instructed by his team staff to wait for Silin on the downhill, so a duo from Katusha started climbing to Finhaut-Emosson. They looked like having bagged the stage victory but fatigue took its toll in the last kilometers and Westra had saved some energy to overtake them in the last 200 metres to get the victory he had sought all race.

Tenth Overall for Adam Yates at Dauphiné Heading into Final Stage
In his first test in the high mountains, Adam Yates fought valiantly to maintain contact with what was left of the yellow jersey group over the two hors categorie climbs that made up the finale. Falling off the pace only in the final eight kilometres, Yates rounds out the top ten, 2’52 behind the new race leader, following stage seven.

Adam said to his team he felt average all day today, and he didn’t feel like he did a good ride. He feels a bit disappointed with his performance. The team however added, “We’re quite proud of what Adam has done all week, and think he put in a really good ride today as a neo-pro on the queen stage of his first Dauphiné”. He’s still holding onto a top ten position, which is great for him.

 


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