Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) has won the Queen stage of the 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné.
The 2008 Olympic road race champion finished just 16 seconds ahead of an elite group containing race leader, Britain’s Chris Froome (Team Sky) at the end of the 187.5km stage from Le Pont-de-Claix to Superdevoluy.
Sanchez claimed his first WorldTour victory of the season by beating Jakob Fuglsang in a two-up sprint at the end of a demanding stage that included an ascent of l’Alpe d’Huez.
An emotional Sanchez dedicated his victory to two friends who had recently died, explaining that he had raised his arms to heaven in their memory.
“I suffered a lot, especially in the last three kilometers,” said Sanchez. “Fuglsang was very strong, but I put everything I had to pass him at the end. The team has worked very well throughout the day. We got the end dreamed of.”
Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) set tempo for much of the stage, seemingly riding in support of team-mate, Michael Rogers, who moved to third overall.
Richie Porte (Team Sky) led home the yellow jersey group of team leader, Froome, further cementing his own second place on GC.
Froome rode an untroubled stage and has now only to safely negotiate tomorrow’s 155.5km closing stage from Sisteron to Risoul to wrap up the most prestigious victory of his career to date.
The final etape is far from a formality, however, given the severity of the parcours, which includes three categorised climbs, the 2,100 metre Col du Vars among them, and a first category summit finish at 1,844 metres.
Critérium du Dauphiné 2013: stage seven – result
1) Samuel Sanchez (ESP) – Eusklatel-Euskadi – 5.26.14
2) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – Astana – ST
3) Richie Porte (AUS) – Team Sky+15″
4) Daniel Moreno (SPA) – Katusha +16″
5) Stef Clement (NED) – Blanco Pro Cycling
6) Alejandro Vlaverde (ESP) – Movistar
7) Chris Froome (GBR) – Sky Pro Cycling
8) Daniel Navarro IESP) – Cofidis
9) Michael Rogers (AUS) – Saxo-Tinkoff
10) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Saxo-Tinkoff
1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Sky Pro Cycling – 25.00.13
2) Richie Porte (AUS) – Team Sky +51″
3) Michael Rogers (AUS) – Saxo-Tinkoff +1.37
4) Daniel Moreno (ESP) – Katusha
5) Daniel Navarro (ESP) – Cofidis
6) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – Astana
7) Stef Clement (NED) – Blanco Pro Cycling +2.32
8) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – 2.47
9) Rohan Dennis (AUS) – Garmin-Sharp +2.48
10) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Saxo-Tinkoff +2.56