In a new feature, the Cyclingnews team pick their rider of the day from the Criterium du Dauphine. Chris Froome is the stage 5 pick, and we will be selecting a rider after each stage.
After finishing ‘only’ third in the prologue, Chris Froome (Team Sky) has been peppered with questions about his form ahead of the Tour de France. Alberto Contador’s win on the opening day was as comprehensive a victory as he could have hoped for but since then the tables have slowly turned in Froome’s favour. On the final climb of stage 5 the two rivals swapped more than just the leader’s jersey – this was a psychological blow across Contador’s bow as much as it was physical, because regardless of whether one is at 90 per cent or another is at 100 per cent, neither enjoys losing to the other.
At the starts and finishes during this year’s race there has been a growing sense that Froome was just waiting for his moment to pounce. He couldn’t wait to get stuck in. He raced at the front on every stage and when the opportunity was created he stamped authority on the race.
"It's a really nice feeling to be back in yellow and to win a stage like that," he said at the finish.
The race is far from won, however.
Daniel Benson says: Froome and Sky have been criticised in the past for the manner in which they ride and win. There are multi-faceted reasons behind that but if you take the argument that they dominate races into submission then today’s performance flew in the face of that. Instead of eight Sky riders on the front, the British team sat back and allowed Contador’s squad to wear themselves out. Landa’s role was pivotal but in another sense inconsequential. He laid the groundwork for Froome but the strongest rider won. He just did it in a different – and somewhat more impressive – way.