Criterium du Dauphine 2014: Chris Froome cements status as Sky’s top man with stunning time-trial victory

Froome looks certain to head into the Tour de France as Team Sky's lead rider

Cycling Correspondent

While large question marks hover over Sir Bradley Wiggins’ participation in this year’s Tour de France, Sky team-mate Chris Froome’s stunning victory in the Critérium du Dauphiné’s opening time trial yesterday showed the Kenyan-born Briton is more than ready to defend his yellow jersey.

Yesterday’s opening 10.3 kilometre (6.4 mile) time trial in Lyon was a short, technical stage with a strong headwind in the final stages. But Froome nonetheless managed to open up a considerable gap – eight seconds, as much time as there was between all the next 19 riders on the results sheet – over second-placed Alberto Contador.

Froome’s superb victory in a time of 13min 13sec left Spaniard Contador – one of his top rivals for the Tour title – trailing in his wake. It put Froome, the defending Critérium champion, in the lead from the word go in the eight-day race.

“I’m very, very happy with my performance. I didn’t think I’d do so well in such a short and flat time trial,” Froome said after pulling on the leader’s yellow jersey. “I’m definitely here to try and win the race overall. We’ll do everything we can but the most important thing is to wear the yellow jersey at the end of the race, not at the beginning.

“[But] I’m pretty much where I was last year, if not a little bit better,” Froome added.

Read more: Sky accused of 'low' act by leaving out Wiggins
'Gutted' Wiggins says he will miss Tour de France
Comment: Sky have taken a risk by discarding Tour expert Wiggins

His next big mission will be to defend his lead – and demonstrate he has lost none of his Tour climbing strength – in the mountains. Today’s 156km stage culminates in a 13.6km ascent of the Col du Béal and a second straight victory would confirm Froome’s status as the favourite to win the Tour.

Following Wiggins’ controversial assertion on Friday that he would only be racing the Tour if his Sky team-mate Froome was injured, Froome’s victory has enabled Team Sky to round off a tumultuous week on an upbeat note.

Meanwhile, the Sky team principal Sir Dave Brailsford insisted yesterday no final decision had yet been taken on who would be racing the Tour alongside Froome.

“We have two world-class races this month, the Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse, Chris is in one, Brad’s in the other,” Brailsford said.

“Let’s see how they come out of those races because they will show us where we are.”

Brailsford also emphasised that the final decision on Sky’s line-up for the Tour next month would be made by him, not Froome.

However, assuming today’s stage in the mountains goes as well for Froome as his time trial yesterday, questions about who Team Sky’s leader should be seem extremely unlikely to arise.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
News
Cumberbatch spectacularly photobombs U2 at the Oscars
news
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

News
Will menus with calorie counts really deter junk-food addicts from eating junk?
i100
Sport
Today's Liverpool Echo back page
football
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
i100
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

2nd Line server support - Microsoft certified

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large organisa...

IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

Reception Teacher required in Cardiff

£100 - £105 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, Adobe, ...

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?