/ Cycling

Chris Froome underlines status as Tour de France favourite with victory in Criterium du Dauphine

Updated: Sunday, 09 Jun 2013 15:26 | Comments

The victory adds to Froome's successes in the Tour of Oman, the Criterium International and the Tour of Romandie this season
The victory adds to Froome's successes in the Tour of Oman, the Criterium International and the Tour of Romandie this season

Chris Froome navigated poor weather on the final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine to underline his status as Tour de France favourite with overall victory.

The first significant rain of the race made conditions treacherous during parts of the 155.5-kilometre run to the finish at Risoul, causing several riders to withdraw through precaution less than three weeks out from the Tour de France.

But there was no let up from Froome, who crossed the line second after charging out of the peloton late in the stage alongside Team Sky team-mate Richie Porte to follow Alessandro De Marchi, the lone survivor of a breakaway, home.

Andrew Talansky bridged the gap to pip Porte to third place.

The victory adds to Froome's successes in the Tour of Oman, the Criterium International and the Tour of Romandie this season and he looks in imperious form as he heads for the Tour, which starts on Corsica on 29 June.

The Criterium is always considered a significant barometer going into the Tour, and Froome will now hope to emulate team-mate Bradley Wiggins, who won this event in both 2011 and 2012 before becoming the first British Tour winner last year.

Froome finished 58 seconds clear of team-mate Porte in second, with Katusha's Daniel Moreno moving up into third place ahead of Team Saxo-Tinkoff's Michael Rogers.

Rogers, who had helped Wiggins to victory here last year while with Team Sky, slipped all the way to sixth in the overall standings, overhauled by Jakob Fuglsang and Daniel Navarro after struggling in the wet despite the best efforts of his team-mate Alberto Contador to help him.

Contador, considered a contender here before a disappointing time-trial left him well down the standings, eventually finished 10th overall, four minutes and 27 seconds off Froome's time.

Earlier in the day, De Marchi had been part of a 24-man breakaway along with the likes of Tim Wellens, who led the race going towards the summit finish at Montee de Risoul.

De Marchi was able to get back on his wheel and pull clear heading into the final three kilometres and Wellens fell back, swallowed up by a peloton being paced by the relentless Sky riders.

Froome and Porte made their break with one kilometre left but De Marchi held on to win the stage by 24 seconds from Froome and Talansky, with Porte a further seven seconds back.

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