Mon, Jun 15, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Chris Froome takes stage

Reuters, SAINT-GERVAIS MONT BLANC, France

Chris Froome, center, rides with Sky teammates during stage 7 of the Criterium du Dauphine between Montmelian and Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc in France on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Chris Froome won the penultimate stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Saturday, but the Briton is still some way short of his peak with the Tour de France looming.

A day after looking vulnerable in the rain, the Team Sky rider and 2013 Tour champion made his decisive move 1.5km from the finish.

He dropped Tejay van Garderen, who snatched the overall leader’s yellow jersey, and crossed the line 17 seconds ahead of the American.

Froome had lost ground on Friday in the driving rain, but he came back strongly in the seventh stage, while defending Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali cracked in the finale and lost the overall lead.

However, for the top riders the idea is not to peak too soon, as a three-week battle awaits on the Tour from July 4 to July 26.

“He’s got a lot more to come, I think,” Team Sky principal Dave Brailsford told reporters. “One of the lessons of the past is we got in absolutely pinging and come the last week you’re kind of hanging on.”

The goal for Froome is that his form improves as the Tour progresses and does not nosedive during the final week in the Alps.

“I’m not quite at my best yet,” Froome told reporters. “I think I’ve still a bit of work to do between now and the Tour.”

“That’s one of the reasons we’re here, to really test and see where we’re at,” he said. “I’m happy with where I’m at. It’s a good place to be at his time of the season.”

Although his level appears short of what it will need to be on the Tour, Froome still impressed.

“When he attacked he went by so fast there was no way I could get on his wheel,” Van Garderen said.

BMC’s Van Garderen led Froome by 18 seconds heading into yesterday’s final stage, a 156.5km mountain trek to Modane-Valfrejus.

Nibali, who took the yellow jersey on Friday after breaking away with four other world-class riders, slumped to 11th overall, 3 minutes, 5 seconds off the pace.

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