Froome not taking anything for granted ahead of Tour de France

'I'm not at my best yet. I hope to reach that for the start of the Tour de France,' says Criterium du Dauphine champion

Chris Froome (Team Sky) safely navigated through the final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine to secure his third title in the French race.

The 2015 Tour de France winner withstood several attacks from Alberto Contador on the penultimate climb before finishing with his main rivals. He won the overall with Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) in second and Daniel Martin (Etixx-Quickstep) in third.

"This race is incredibly important to me in its own right but I think if we can take anything away from this week, it's not to be complacent," he said at the finish of stage 7.

"Yes, this is a great victory but we're going to have to work really hard now before July to make sure we're in the right kind of shape for the Tour de France.

"The last two or three days have been flat out but it didn't stop the other riders from attacking today. My biggest rivals put us under a lot of pressure and it came down to that final climb."

Contador once again led the offensive and isolated Froome on the penultimate climb in a move that briefly involved the pair, Richie Porte and Bardet. The foursome were eventually caught by the second GC group on the road.

Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) won the stage after another epic solo break with Dan Martin in second. Froome almost crashed in the sprint to the line after he and Porte were almost forced into the barriers. The incident cost Porte a place on the podium after he was unable to respond to Martin's acceleration. The Irishman and Bardet both taking enough time from the Australian to nudge him into fourth.

"Unfortunately, when the sprint started, myself and Richie decided to try to pass on the right, but my teammates were trying to get out of the way for the sprint and they blocked myself and Richie. I almost crashed. I didn't have my hands on the brakes – I was trying to go into a sprint. It was bad miscommunication between me and my teammates.

"I feel really bad for Richie Porte. Regardless, he's shown that he's going to be one of the main contenders for the Tour."

Froome also stressed that like many of his rivals he had not yet hit his peak form. From the Dauphine he will return home and in the coming weeks recon several stages of the Tour de France. He will be aware that his previous two Dauphine wins, in 2013 and 2015, have been followed by Tour de France success.

"I'm not at my best yet. I hope to reach that for the start of the Tour de France. I'm coming into it a little bit fresher and I'm hoping that will bring me into the third week of the race in better shape. But I can't say if that's going to happen or not. Wait and see, but the third week of this year's Tour is going to be extremely hard."

The Tour de France favourite also pointed out that his Tour squad is a work in progress. Team Sky drafted in Mikel Landa at the start of the season but the Basque was supposed to have his feet up in June after riding the Giro. He abandoned the Italian Grand Tour due to illness, and was a late inclusion in the Dauphine. In the mountains in France he has been a trusted sidekick for Froome but communication has taken time to develop.

"This is the first time, for example, I've raced with Mikel Landa, He's an amazing rider in his own right. This week was really important to work with him on communication and really getting to know each other. Stuff like that doesn't happen overnight. There are little things that we can work at: it's a continuous process to work at."

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