Froome sends Tour warning with Dauphine win

Sun Jun 14, 2015 2:28pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

MODANE VALFREJUS, France (Reuters) - Although not yet at his peak, Chris Froome sent a deafening warning to his Tour de France rivals by winning the Criterium du Dauphine with a trademark late attack to claim the final stage on Sunday.

The 2013 Tour champion, who will feature among the top favourites for the July 4-26 race, made his move 2.5 kilometres from the finish in the final climb to Valfrejus and never looked back.

He quickly swallowed fellow Briton Stephen Cummings (MTN Qhubeka), who had spent the day in the breakaway, and distanced yellow jersey holder Tejay van Garderen.

Team Sky rider Froome, who also prevailed in Saturday’s uphill finish in St Gervais, beat another Briton, Simon Yates (Orica GreenEDGE), to take the day’s laurels with an 18-second advantage.

At the end of Sunday's 156.5-km trek from St Gervais, Van Garderen was fourth, behind Rui Costa, both 18 seconds behind Froome.

Overall, Froome beat Van Garderen (BMC) by 10 seconds with Portugal’s Costa (Lampre) in third place, one minute 16 seconds off the pace.

"The Tour de France is the big objective," said Froome, who achieved the Dauphine-Tour double in 2013. "I think the team is ready and I think I'm almost ready. I'm really excited.

"If you take the race by its horns like that, stick to the plan, sometimes it pays off. I could not be happier right now."   Continued...

Race leader jersey holder Team Sky rider Christopher Froome of Britain cycles during the 204.5 km stage of the centenary Tour de France cycling race from Bourg d'Oisans to Le Grand Bornand, in the French Alps, July 19, 2013.  REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen