Froome climbs to victory on Col du Béal

Chris Froome won the battle but on the evidence of the Col du Béal on Monday afternoon, the war will be harder won than it was a year ago, both at the Critérium du Dauphiné and at next month’s Tour de France.

Froome pointed to his yellow jersey after he saw off the challenge of Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) in the finishing straight and he could indeed be pleased with his own performance as he claimed his second stage victory in as many days and moved 12 seconds clear of the Spaniard in the overall standings.

An elite six-man group formed under Froome’s impetus in the final five kilometres of racing, and even within that lofty company, the hierarchy was clear, as Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) coughed up 27 seconds on the final haul to the line. Contador, however, was able to match Froome pedal stroke for pedal stroke almost to the summit. His fine spring form, it seems, has transferred through to summer.

“I gave everything today. In such a climb, it became a great battle with Alberto Contador. We rode flat out,” Froome said. “It was really tough between the two of us. I've tried to attack him a couple of times but he was very strong. Everyone here is almost at the same level as at the Tour de France. Today it was our first duel with the two of us in form, so I'm delighted to win in these circumstances.”

The impressive Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) moves up to third overall, 21 seconds off Froome, while Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) was also very prominent in the finale and now lies in fourth place, 33 seconds back.

Froome and Contador

After winning the opening day time trial in Lyon, Froome was looking to put a significant down payment on final overall victory on the Dauphiné’s first summit finish, and his Sky team duly dictated the terms and conditions on the lower slopes of the Col du Béal, with Geraint Thomas particularly prominent in whittling down the leading group.

When last man Mikel Nieve swung over with a shade over five kilometres to go, Froome launched his long-anticipated acceleration. Just like on Mont Ventoux at last year’s Tour, the seated Froome cut a decidedly awkward figure as he attempted to break clear, but unlike last July, he was unable to rid himself of the persistent Contador.

Indeed, Contador was the only man who could withstand each of Froome’s accelerations on the final haul to the summit, as the leading group fragmented and reformed under his impetus – Nibali, Wilco Kelderman (Belkin), Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) and Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto Belisol) were the others who found themselves out in front after Froome began his onslaught.

Tellingly, Contador never once deigned to track anyone else’s attacks, allowing Froome to drag him back up to Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) and Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) when they launched fierce efforts of their own after latching back on to the leading group.

Inside the final kilometre, Froome kicked once again, determined to shake off Contador almost as a point of pride. On two further occasions, Contador dealt impressively with Froome’s forcing, but in the final 200 metres, he was unable to summon up the strength to come around the Briton, who claimed his second stage win in as many days.

The resolute Kelderman battled gamely to take third on the stage, 4 seconds down, while Talansky and Van Den Broeck also limited their losses in the closing kilometre. For Vincenzo Nibali, however, after an assured start, the finale turned into something of an ordeal. He was dropped after the second of Froome’a attacks but fought back on in the company of Talansky, but after grimly holding on for three kilometres, he conceded 27 seconds in the last 800 metres.

Early break

The stage was animated by a five-man break featuring Thomas Damuseau (Giant-Shimano), Kevin Reza (Europcar), Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) and Matthias Brändle (IAM Cycling), which broke clear on the opening climb of the day and stayed out in front until the lower slopes of the final ascent, the hors catégorie Col du Béal.

The quintet collaborated smoothly over the rolling terrain, where Reza led over each of the first five categorised climbs, but with Team Sky maintaining a brisk tempo at the head of the bunch, their lead was never allowed to extend beyond four minutes, and it was already disintegrated as they hit the final haul to the line.

After Vasil Kiryienka and Danny Pate’s earlier work, Geraint Thomas took over the pace-making for Sky at the base of the Béal and his impressive stint managed to whittle the yellow jersey group down to 40 riders. After consulting with Froome, Richie Porte swung off before it was his turn to lead the line, however, and the Australian’s travails will only add to the furore surrounding Bradley Wiggins’ expected exclusion from the Sky Tour team.

Even so, Mikel Nieve took up the baton resolutely from Thomas, and the Spaniard’s 2.5km turn on the front managed to shed the likes of Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) from the front group, and peg back De Marchi, the last survivor from the early break. When Nieve had burnt the last of his matches, Froome came surging through with a fierce acceleration of his own, an effort that rid Contador and Nibali of their remaining teammates, and turned the race into hand-to-hand combat over the final five kilometres.

Nibali battled gamely but was clearly struggled to answer the questions posed by Froome. Contador, by contrast, looked far more comfortable, even if he never managed to put Froome on the back foot.

Meanwhile, Van Den Broeck had a reassuring afternoon after a difficult start to his season, while the youngsters Talansky and Kelderman gave further notice of their maturing talent, as did British neo-professional Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge), who recovered well towards the summit to take 8th on the stage.

For others – including Tejay van Garderen, who lost three minutes – it was a trying afternoon. For Froome and Contador, however, the Col du Béal may just have been the opening act of a summer-long duel.



Full Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky4:24:41
2Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Tinkoff-SaxoRow 1 - Cell 2
3Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:00:04
4Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol0:00:10
5Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp0:00:12
6Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:00:27
7Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Movistar0:00:40
8Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge0:00:42
9Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling0:00:44
10Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits.0:00:45
11Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory RacingRow 10 - Cell 2
12Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Fdj.fr0:00:51
13Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team0:00:53
14Tanel Kangert (Est) Astana Pro Team0:00:55
15Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol0:01:04
16Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura0:01:17
17Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky0:01:27
18Kristijan Durasek (Cro) Lampre-MeridaRow 17 - Cell 2
19Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:33
20Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Team Tinkoff-SaxoRow 19 - Cell 2
21George Bennett (NZl) CannondaleRow 20 - Cell 2
22Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha0:01:51
23Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma Quick Step Cycling Team0:02:11
24Jhon Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) BMC Racing TeamRow 23 - Cell 2
25Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 24 - Cell 2
26Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto-BelisolRow 25 - Cell 2
27Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 26 - Cell 2
28Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits.0:02:33
29Valerio Conti (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 28 - Cell 2
30Ivan Santaromita (Ita) Orica GreenEdgeRow 29 - Cell 2
31John Gadret (Fra) Movistar0:02:38
32Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 31 - Cell 2
33Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 32 - Cell 2
34Yohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits.0:02:57
35Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 34 - Cell 2
36Gustav Erik Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling0:03:05
37Alex Howes (USA) Garmin-SharpRow 36 - Cell 2
38Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits.Row 37 - Cell 2
39Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp0:03:55
40Winner Anrew Anacona (Col) Lampre-Merida0:04:15
41Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar0:04:20
42Alexander Rybakov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 41 - Cell 2
43Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Omega Pharma Quick Step Cycling Team0:04:26
44Chad Haga (USA) Team Giant-Shimano0:04:47
45Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits.Row 44 - Cell 2
46Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team KatushaRow 45 - Cell 2
47Egor Silin (Rus) Team KatushaRow 46 - Cell 2
48Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team0:05:20
49Sergio Miguel Moreira Paulinho (Por) Team Tinkoff-SaxoRow 48 - Cell 2
50Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 49 - Cell 2
51Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 50 - Cell 2
52Kristjan Koren (Slo) CannondaleRow 51 - Cell 2
53Giovanni Visconti (Ita) MovistarRow 52 - Cell 2
54Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team0:05:55
55Mickaël Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:06:54
56Jean Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 55 - Cell 2
57Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits.Row 56 - Cell 2
58Carlos Verona Quintanilla (Spa) Omega Pharma Quick Step Cycling TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma Quick Step Cycling TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Damiano Caruso (Ita) CannondaleRow 59 - Cell 2
61Daan Olivier (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano0:07:28
62Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team0:08:06
63Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing TeamRow 62 - Cell 2
64Eduard Alexander Beltran Suarez (Col) Team Tinkoff-SaxoRow 63 - Cell 2
65Dmitriy Kozontchuk (Rus) Team Katusha0:08:20
66David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp0:08:49
67Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:10:27
68Damien Howson (Aus) Orica GreenEdgeRow 67 - Cell 2
69Richie Porte (Aus) Team SkyRow 68 - Cell 2
70Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM CyclingRow 69 - Cell 2
71David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team SkyRow 70 - Cell 2
72Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team SkyRow 71 - Cell 2
73Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 72 - Cell 2
74Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek Factory Racing0:10:48
75Yannick Martinez (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 74 - Cell 2
76Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory RacingRow 75 - Cell 2
77Frantisek Padour (Cze) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 76 - Cell 2
78Kevin Reza (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 77 - Cell 2
79Arthur Vichot (Fra) Fdj.fr0:11:14
80Jérôme Pineau (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 79 - Cell 2
81Jan Barta (Cze) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 80 - Cell 2
82Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La MondialeRow 81 - Cell 2
83Fumiyuki Beppu (Jpn) Trek Factory RacingRow 82 - Cell 2
84Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 83 - Cell 2
85Imanol Erviti (Spa) MovistarRow 84 - Cell 2
86Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) MovistarRow 85 - Cell 2
87Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdgeRow 86 - Cell 2
88Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing TeamRow 87 - Cell 2
89Lars Boom (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:12:11
90Kevin De Weert (Bel) Omega Pharma Quick Step Cycling Team0:12:18
91Yohan Offredo (Fra) Fdj.frRow 90 - Cell 2
92Rory Sutherland (Aus) Team Tinkoff-SaxoRow 91 - Cell 2
93José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) MovistarRow 92 - Cell 2
94Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma Quick Step Cycling TeamRow 93 - Cell 2
95Cayetano José Sarmiento Tunarrosa (Col) CannondaleRow 94 - Cell 2
96Dominik Nerz (Ger) BMC Racing TeamRow 95 - Cell 2
97Stig Broeckx (Bel) Lotto-BelisolRow 96 - Cell 2
98Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits.Row 97 - Cell 2
99Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits.Row 98 - Cell 2
100Simon Spilak (Slo) Team KatushaRow 99 - Cell 2
101Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM CyclingRow 101 - Cell 2
103Nicki Sørensen (Den) Team Tinkoff-SaxoRow 102 - Cell 2
104Natnael Berhane Teweldemedhin (Eri) Team EuropcarRow 103 - Cell 2
105Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto-BelisolRow 104 - Cell 2
106Michal Golas (Pol) Omega Pharma Quick Step Cycling TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Martijn Keizer (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team0:12:36
108Benat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar0:12:55
109Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory Racing0:12:58
110Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol0:13:02
111Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica GreenEdge0:13:51
112Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Fdj.frRow 111 - Cell 2
113Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 112 - Cell 2
114Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma Quick Step Cycling Team0:14:10
115Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:15:02
116Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 115 - Cell 2
117Christian Meier (Can) Orica GreenEdgeRow 116 - Cell 2
118Ramunas Navardauskas (Lit) Garmin-Sharp0:15:04
119Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling0:15:06
120Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Giant-Shimano0:18:34
121Dmitriy Gruzdev (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 120 - Cell 2
122Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:18:41
123Scott Thwaites (GBr) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 122 - Cell 2
124Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEdgeRow 123 - Cell 2
125Cesare Benedetti (Ita) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 124 - Cell 2
126Andrey Zeits (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 125 - Cell 2
127Anton Vorobyev (Rus) Team KatushaRow 126 - Cell 2
128Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM CyclingRow 127 - Cell 2
129Nick Van Der Lijke (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 128 - Cell 2
130Bruno Pires (Por) Team Tinkoff-SaxoRow 129 - Cell 2
131Hayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory RacingRow 130 - Cell 2
132Marco Marcato (Ita) CannondaleRow 131 - Cell 2
133William Bonnet (Fra) Fdj.frRow 132 - Cell 2
134Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 133 - Cell 2
135Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team SkyRow 134 - Cell 2
136Maciej Bodnar (Pol) CannondaleRow 135 - Cell 2
137Johannes Frohlinger (Ger) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 136 - Cell 2
138Vincent Jerome (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 137 - Cell 2
139Daniel Schorn (Aut) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 138 - Cell 2
140Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 139 - Cell 2
141Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Giant-ShimanoRow 140 - Cell 2
142Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Garmin-SharpRow 141 - Cell 2
143Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 142 - Cell 2
144Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Trek Factory RacingRow 143 - Cell 2
145Jack Bobridge (Aus) Belkin Pro Cycling TeamRow 144 - Cell 2
146Jean Marc Marino (Fra) CannondaleRow 145 - Cell 2
147Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Trek Factory Racing0:19:12
148Mickael Delage (Fra) Fdj.fr0:20:09
149Arnaud Demare (Fra) Fdj.frRow 148 - Cell 2
150Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto-BelisolRow 149 - Cell 2
151Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro TeamRow 150 - Cell 2
152Alexey Tsatevitch (Rus) Team KatushaRow 151 - Cell 2
153Ralf Matzka (Ger) Team Netapp-EnduraRow 152 - Cell 2
154Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing TeamRow 153 - Cell 2
155Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin-SharpRow 154 - Cell 2
156Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Team Tinkoff-SaxoRow 155 - Cell 2
157Danny Pate (USA) Team SkyRow 156 - Cell 2
158Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 157 - Cell 2
159Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Lotto-BelisolRow 158 - Cell 2
160Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-MeridaRow 159 - Cell 2
161Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin-Sharp0:20:14
162Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale0:20:17
163Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida0:20:43
164Dries Devenyns (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano0:22:45
165Enrique Sanz Unzue (Spa) Movistar0:22:53
166Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEdge0:31:25
167Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Team Sky0:31:44
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Points 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling5pts
2Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale1Row 2 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Points finish
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky15pts
2Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Tinkoff-Saxo12Row 1 - Cell 3
3Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team10Row 2 - Cell 3
4Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol8Row 3 - Cell 3
5Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp6Row 4 - Cell 3
6Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team5Row 5 - Cell 3
7Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Movistar4Row 6 - Cell 3
8Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge3Row 7 - Cell 3
9Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling2Row 8 - Cell 3
10Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits.1Row 9 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Mountain 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Kevin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar10pts
2Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale9Row 1 - Cell 3
3Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale8Row 2 - Cell 3
4Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano7Row 3 - Cell 3
5Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling6Row 4 - Cell 3
6David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team Sky5Row 5 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Mountain 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Kevin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar3pts
2Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale2Row 1 - Cell 3
3Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano1Row 2 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally