Criterium du Dauphine 2014: observations ahead of the Tour de France

Alberto Contador impresses as Chris Froome falters - and what now for Adam Yates?

Having won the first two stages to earn the overall lead, Chris Froome was looking in great shape for the Tour de France. A crash on stage six, however, derailed his race and meant it ended on a downer – his challenge for the maillot jaune unravelling on the climb into Courchevel – David Lopez eventually leading him home five minutes after stage winner and team-mate Mikel Nieve.

Chris Froome bears the scars of his stage six crash, an incident which derailed his overall bid (pic: Sirotti)

Despite the ending, however, was it all bad news at the Dauphine for the Kenyan-born Brit? As long as he suffers no longer-term effects of his crash, perhaps his post-race claims the campaign was a success will hold more weight.

Nieve’s stage win was a reminder of the phenomenal climbing talent Froome has around him, with Lopez, Vasil Kiryienka, Richie Porte and Geraint Thomas all also proving they are in good shape at various times.

The manner of Froome’s stage two win – an emphatic team ride, before some even more emphatic attacks from the team leader showed they are set to be a proposition to be feared once again this year.

Porte struggled for fitness at times, but looked in better shape than he had done in Romandie in his previous WorldTour outing, while Nieve proved he is more than capable of being Froome’s right-hand man if Porte can not get right for the Tour.

There was no overall Dauphine win for Team Sky this year, for the first time in four years, but three stage wins and the points jersey certainly bodes well for the Tour as Froome suggested.

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