Critérium du Dauphiné 2014: Bruised Chris Froome loses race lead to Alberto Contador

 

finhaut-emosson

With less than three weeks to go to the Tour de France, defending champion Chris Froome suffered an unexpected setback yesterday when he lost the lead of the Critérium du Dauphiné race to arch-rival Alberto Contador of Spain.

Until two kilometres from the summit of yesterday's final climb at Finhaut-Emosson, Froome seemed in control, with his Sky team-mates setting a relentless pace that shrank the peloton to less than a dozen contenders.

However, when Contador suddenly darted away and opened up a gap of nearly 20 seconds, Sky's supremacy disintegrated. Froome, his head rocking with the effort, initially used key mountain wing-man Richie Porte to try and hold the gap, and then attempted to chase the Spaniard down himself.

Although Contador's margin remained at 20 seconds right the way to the line thanks to Froome's sustained countercharge, the Sky leader suffered badly in the closing metres and several of his rivals were able to regain contact. Contador finally finished fourth behind Dutch winner Lieuwe Westra, with Froome slipping to seventh – and losing the race lead.

Injured in a crash on Friday, Froome initially seemed relatively unscathed, just needing two stitches in an elbow. But he admitted later that his injuries took more of a toll than he expected.

"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," Froome told Sky's website. "I took a bit of a knock on Friday in the crash and lost a bit of energy because of that. I felt a bit blocked through my thighs, especially where I landed, but I'm not going to let that get me down."

Injuries or no injuries, this week's racing in the Critérium du Dauphiné has shown that the performance gap between Froome, who dominated the 2013 Tour de France and Contador has narrowed considerably.

And with just eight seconds separating Contador from Froome in today's second and last Alpine stage, the battle starts again. Or as Froome put it: "It's never over till it's over."

Meanwhile Sir Bradley Wiggins came fourth in the opening time trial of the Tour de Suisse yesterday.

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before