Risoul - British rider Chris Froome reinforced his status as favourite for
this year's Tour de France on Sunday when he won the testing warm-up
race, the Criterium du Dauphine.
The 28-year-old, second behind
Team Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins in last year's Tour de France,
claimed victory after Italian Alessandro de Marchi won the 155.5km
eighth and final stage from Sisteron to Risoul.
Kenyan-born and brought up in South Africa but who has ridden with a
British licence since 2008, was followed in the overall standings by Sky
team-mate Richie Porte of Australia, who finished 58sec in arrears.
victory was the third successive British win in the race, Wiggins - who
is not defending his Tour de France crown this year - having won it in
the past two years.
Froome, who had already been designated as
Sky's leader for this year's Tour de France before Wiggins announced he
was not going to compete because of injury, had effectively clinched
victory in the Criterium with his victory in the first mountain stage on
Sunday's stage saw five riders approach the final climb
with a lead of more than three minutes and it was de Marchi who was to
prove the strongest as he broke free of Belgian Tim Wellens in the final
The 27-year-old Italian came home 24sec ahead of Froome and American Andrew Talansky.
two-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador had a miserable
stage, falling on the descent from the col de Vars before sacrificing
his chances for a consolation stage win by waiting for Australian
team-mate Michael Rogers, who was third overall going into Sunday's
final stage, when he got into difficulty on the final climb.
Dreadful weather had prompted several retirements during the stage.
time-trial world champion Tony Martin didn't even start the 155.5km
stage from Sisteron to Risoul as he had a sore throat.
though, did start but found the going too tough to see the race through
to the finish including French champion Nacer Bouhanni and compatriots
Thomas Voeckler, Pierre Rolland and Sylvain Chavanel.
eighth in last year's Tour de France, said he had felt a twinge in his
Achilles tendon on Saturday evening after the seventh stage.
decided with the staff that I would give it a go today but that at the
slightest hint of pain I should take no risks with just three weeks to
the start of the Tour," he said.
"I am very disappointed and a
little and a little crestfallen. I hope that a few days of rest will
suffice for me to recover," added the 26-year-old specialist climber.
to call it a day were Belgian Thomas de Gendt, Norway's 2010 world road
race champion Thor Hushovd and Spaniard David Lopez.
oblivious to their difficulties as he rode serenely on to record his
ninth win of the season, including the Tour of Romandie and the
His only significant defeat came in March
in the Tirreno-Adriatico at the hands of Italian ace Vincenzo Nibali,
who went on to win the Giro d'Italia
Results from the eighth and final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine from Sisteron to Risoul (155.5km):
1. Alessandro De Marchi (Italy / Cannondale) 4:28:09"
2. Chris Froome (Britain / Team Sky) +24"
3. Andrew Talansky (U.S. / Garmin)
4. Richie Porte (Australia / Team Sky) +31"
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark / Astana) +38"
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar) +49"
7. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain / Katusha)
8. Daniel Moreno (Spain / Katusha)
9. Daniel Navarro (Spain / Cofidis) +55"
10. Rohan Dennis (Australia / Garmin) +1:00"
1. Chris Froome (Britain / Team Sky) 29:28:46"
2. Richie Porte (Australia / Team Sky) +58"
3. Daniel Moreno (Spain / Katusha) +2:12"
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark / Astana) +2:18"
5. Daniel Navarro (Spain / Cofidis) +2:20"
6. Michael Rogers (Australia / Saxo - Tinkoff) +3:08"
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar) +3:12"
8. Rohan Dennis (Australia / Garmin) +3:24"
9. Samuel Sanchez (Spain / Euskaltel) +4:25"
10. Alberto Contador (Spain / Saxo - Tinkoff) +4:27"