The first mountain stage of the 2017 Critérium du Dauphiné did not disappoint, with action on the hors-categorie Mont du Chat climb delivering a shakeup to the GC leaderboard and bringing the overall battle into clearer focus.
A high pace on the fearsome final climb reeled in the early break and also blew the peloton apart, and several GC hopefuls found themselves going backward as the summit approached. An attack by Astana's Fabio Aru whittled down the lead group even further, with only his Astana teammate Jakob Fuglsang, Sky's Chris Froome and BMC's Richie Porte in shouting distance going over the top of the climb.
The quartet regrouped on the tricky descent to the finish, and came to the line together despite the best efforts of Froome, who pulled clear for a spell on the steep downhill gradient but was brought to heel before the flamme rouge. Fuglsang proved fastest to the line in the ensuing sprint, though only just, with Porte a tire-length behind for second. Froome finished third, with Aru in fourth.
With overnight leader Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) dropped early on the final climb, Porte found himself in the yellow jersey after the stage. Porte now leads Froome by 39 seconds, with Fuglsang in third overall at 1:15.
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