Criterium du Dauphine 2014: Chris Froome wins stage one

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Criterium du Dauphine 2014: Chris Froome strikes early blow with stage one time trial victory

Team Sky leader takes yellow jersey after time trial victory

Defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) struck an early blow against his Tour de France rivals by riding to individual time trial victory on stage one of the Criterium du Dauphine.

Froome, who won the race ahead of his Tour de France success last year, beat second-placed Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) by eight seconds, while Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), another of the Kenyan-born Brit’s main challengers, was a further five seconds back in eighth.

Chris Froome was fastest by eight seconds on the 10.4km Lyon time trial circuit (Pic: Sirotti)

Nibali had set the fastest time to the top of the stage’s intermediate climb, taking the King of the Mountains prize in the process, but Froome set a blistering pace on the latter sections of the course to take the stage.

The 10.4km time trial was the first time the three Tour de France favourites had competed together this season, giving first blood to Froome.

Earlier in the day, Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) – fresh from his top-ten finish at the Giro d’Italia – was the first big name out on the course, setting the early benchmark of 13:24 minutes.

Team-mate Lars Boom, Lieuwe Westra (Astana) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) were among the riders to beat the Dutchman’s time at the intermediate check-point, but all were unable to maintain their challenge over the rest of the course.

Kwiatkowski was among the biggest losers – his time of 13:29 eventually putting him 20th on the day, while 21-year-old Brit Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) lost 39 seconds..

There were no such problems for young Luxembourg rider Bob Jungels (Trek Factory Racing) however, as he took two seconds out of Kelderman’s mark to enjoy a long stint in the winner’s chair. Tejay van Garderen, who will lead BMC Racing at the Tour de France, avoided the disaster which befell him on the opening prologue of the Tour de Romandie, crossing four seconds behind Jungels.

Vincenzo Nibali was fastest to the first checkpoint to earn the polka dot jersey (pic: Sirotti)

British duo Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) were also among the riders unable to topple Jungels’ mark – despite the Welshman going initially fastest at the intermediate check-point.

Julian Alaphillipe (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) then beat Thomas’ time on the moderate climb, but again fell short at the finish while Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) was just two seconds slower than Jungels.

The Luxembourg rider’s lead was not to last, however, as the three chief contenders were the last three on to the course.

Nibali’s early pace – which saw him claim the King of the Mountains prize – did not hold, but Contador set a steady rhythm throughout to move into the lead.

The Spaniard’s mark was obliterated by Froome, however, with his effort affording him an eight-second gap over his rivals after only the opening day.

The Team Sky man will now wear the maillot jaune on the first road stage of this year’s race, over a 158.5km course which finishes atop the HC climb of the Col du Beal.

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Criterium du Dauphine 2014: stage one – result

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 13.13
2) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff-Saxo +8”
3) Bob Jungels (LUX) – Trek Factory Racing +9”
4) Andrew Talansky (USA) – Garmin-Sharp +11”
5) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Belkin Pro Cycling – ST
6) Lars Boom (NED) – Belkin Pro Cycling +12”
7) Vasil Kiryienka (BLR) – Team Sky – ST
8) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Astana +13”
9) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing – ST
10) Matthias Brandle (SUI) – IAM Cycling

General classification

1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 13.13
2) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff-Saxo +8”
3) Bob Jungels (LUX) – Trek Factory Racing +9”
4) Andrew Talansky (USA) – Garmin-Sharp +11”
5) Wilco Kelderman (NED) – Belkin Pro Cycling – ST
6) Lars Boom (NED) – Belkin Pro Cycling +12”
7) Vasil Kiryienka (BLR) – Team Sky – ST
8) Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) – Astana +13”
9) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing – ST
10) Matthias Brandle (SUI) – IAM Cycling

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