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Critérium du Dauphiné 2012: Stage 7

Hello and welcome to our live coverage from the final stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné, 126km from Morzine to Châtel.

After yesterday's Queen stage we have but one day remaining in this year's Dauphine. It's certainly no stroll in the park with five categorised climbs to contend with.

- Côte de Mijouet, cat. 4, 2.2km at 5.3%, km 39.5
- Col de Cou, cat. 3, 6.6km at 4.4%, km 56
- Côte de la Vernaz, cat. 2, 3.2km at 8.2%, km 89.5
- Col du Corbier, cat. 1, 7.7km at 7.3% (alt. 1230m), km 102
- Châtel, cat. 3, 1.5km at 8.7%, km 124.5

We've raced roughly 30km of the stage so far, and there have been multiple attacks from the front of the bunch, as this is the last chance for a number of teams to leave the Dauphine with some success. Nothing has stuck though, and we're all together.

Here's where we stand on GC, with Wiggins in command:

 

1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 23:40:59
2 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:01:20
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:01:36
4 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:01:48
5 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:02:22
6 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team 0:02:58
7 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:03:07
8 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:03:26
9 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:03:44
10 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:03:51

We've a number of small groups on the road at the moment with gaps on the peloton:

Three riders in the lead: Rolland (Europcar), Coppel (Saur - Sojasun) and Westra (Vacansoleil).

Chavanel and Vandenbergh (Omega) are at 15 seconds and at 30 seconds we have Fofonov (Astana), Popovych (RadioShack) and Le Mével (Garmin).

Coppel is 4:39 down on Wiggins and a threat on GC, so it's unlikely that Sky will allow the Frenchman much room.

Thomas Voeckler has left the race with a knee injury.

In other news, Andy Schleck is off to the Alps and Pyrenees for training camps. Can he turn his form around in time for the Tour de France?

At least Fabian Cancellara is returning to a better level of form, so it's not all doom and gloom for Bruyneel and the Shack team

Another rider out of sorts is Nibali. The Italian hope for the Tour was dropped on the Joux Plane.

Okay, well the eight riders on the attack have merged and made one group. So we have Fofonov (Astana), Rolland (Europcar), Popovych (RadioShack), Le Mével (Garmin), Chavanel and Vandenbergh (Omega), Coppel (Saur) and Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) with a gap of 2:15 on the bunch.

After a couple of decent placing Le Mevel has been fairly quiet. It's unlikely that he'll make Garmin's Tour de France team but a stage win today wouldn't do his chances any harm.

70km remaining from 126km

Chavanel was first over the top of the col de Cou.

Coppel is still a good couple of minutes from riding into the virtual yellow jersey but both Sky and BMC have moved to the front to make sure things don't get out of hand.

35km remaining from 126km

Only Chavanel, Rolland, Coppel and Westra remain from the break, with the other four riders dropped from the break.

The gap is own to 1:22 and two Katusha riders - no idea why they're working  - have started setting the pace, with BMC following.

Katusha continue to wind up the pace on the côte de la Vernaz.

Chavanel has been dropped so that leaves just three riders on the attack. They're extending their lead though, which now stands at 1:50 over the peloton.

The three leaders are now on the Corbier and their lead over the peloton is 1:44.

Samuel Sanchez, who has battled bravely to stay in the race,  has been dropped by the bunch, along with a number of sprinters.

Sky are moving up with Wiggins sheltered by a number of his teammates.

BMC has moved to the front with Hincapie setting the pace. They'll be looking to defend Evans' third place and possibly set up a stage win for the Australian.

Machado and a handful of other riders have attacked from the bunch but they've not drawn out a huge lead.

Sky has replaced BMC at the front, with Hincapie swinging over and dropping out of the group of leaders. It's still quite a large group, with around 60 riders.

Evans is quite far back actually, while the break have 1km to go until the summit. Their lead is one minute.

Westra has to fight to keep Rolland's wheel, as behind Weening attacks from the peloton. The Bouet/Machado group only has a handful of seconds on the Wiggins group.

Wiggins has attacked. Nibali may have been in the Machado group and Wiggins has closed the gap on his own. It's all coming back together though as they crest the top of the climb.

Nibali is persisting on the descent and has now dropped the peloton. He's 41 seconds down on the Rolland group.

16km remaining from 126km

16km to go and Nibali isn't able to cut the deficit to the Rolland group, which stands at 43 seconds.

Coppel and Rolland have dropped Westra on the last descent. He should be able to catch them before the final climb though.

It's virtually uphill all the way the way to the finish.

BMC have moved to the front again.  Moreno is very close to the front, while Nibali has caught Westra.

Westra is riding away from Nibali.

9km remaining from 126km

And Nibali has been caught,  while Coppel and Rolland have 31 seconds on the peloton. Westra has also been caught. BMC have really put the hammer down now.

Geniez is closing in on the leaders but the gap is just 12 seconds to the bunch are unlikely to ease off.

5km remaining from 126km

Katusha and BMC lead the bunch, which is down to less then 30 riders, as Geniez catches Rolland and Coppel.

Hesitation up front and Geniez attacks.

2km remaining from 126km

2km to go and we're almost all back together again.

Moreno has moved up again towards the front.

And Evans moves  into 3rd wheel.

1km to go and they're all watching each other. Evans takes  up the pace setting.

An attack from a Saur rider and Lotto try and close  it down.

Sky is chasing it down. Evans on attacks. but Sky shut it down.

Leon Sanchez now drives for the line

But Moreno takes it, Luis Leon Sanchez has to settle for second after opening his sprint slightly too early.

Cadel Evans takes third.

Wiggins raises his arms as he crosses the line, just like he did in 2011 and goes home with the Dauphine title in his palmares. Rogers takes second on the podium with Cadel Evans in third. Froome finished fourth.

Thanks for joining us today and throughout the Dauphine. We'll be back tomorrow with more live coverage as we switch emphasis to the Tour de Suisse.

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