Critérium du Dauphiné 2014: Stage 6
January 1 - June 15, Grenoble, France, Road - WorldTour
Bonjour and welcome to the Cyclingnews live coverage of stage six of the Criterium di Dauphine.
It's another hot day in the Alps and another day of hilly racing at the Criterium di Dauphine.
The showdown for overall victory will happen at the weekend, with today's stage expected to see a breakaway go clear, with possible attacks from Froome's rivals on the testing and twisting final roads near Poisy.
The riders have already rolled out of Grenoble and have covered 15km of the 178.5km stage.
153 riders remain in the race, the same number as the finishers of Thursday's tough stage.
We have seen several attacks to try and form the break of the day but nothing has stuck so far.
The early part of the stages follows the l'Isere river before heading into the hills. The snow-capped peaks of the Alps cast long shadows over the race route but the riders avoid any major climbs today.
Sadly Stephan Denifl (IAM Cycling) has been forced to abandon. He crashed hard yesterday in the big pile-up early in the stage.
145km remaining from 168km
Eight riders briefly get a gap but the peloton has pulled them back.
With no major climbs on the race route, it is difficult for s break to get away and lots of teams want to be in the move today. They know it is probably their last chance for success before Team Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana take control for the overall showdown.
Luca Wackerman (Lampre-Merida) has also abandoned the race. The hard racing and crashes is taking a significant toll on the riders.
The speed is still high in the peloton, close to 45km/h. Two riders are trying their hand but have yet to open a significant gap.
Here we go. The race is breaking up, we have a breakaway forming.
First two, then another 11 and now a total of 216 riders have joined the attack. The peloton seems keen to let them go.
123km remaining from 168km
The peloton has eased back, allowing the break to open a 3:45 gap.
The 16 riders in the break are: Simon (Cofidis), Keukeleire (Orica-GreenEdge), Erviti (Movistar), Westra (Astana), Paulinho (Tinkoff-Saxo), Péraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Ligthart (Lotto Belisol), Saramtins (IAM Cycling), Bodnar (Cannondale), Voigt (Trek Factory Racing), Bakelants, Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), Damuseau (Giant-Shimano), Conti (Lampre-Merida), Tankink (Belkin) and Benedetti (NetApp-Endura).
The gap is up to 4:30.
The 16 now have a gap of 5:00. Team Sky seems uninterested in chasing today, hey will need their legs for the weekend stages.
Only six teams have missed the break of the day: Team Sky, Europcar, BMC, Katusha, FDJ and Garmin-Sharp.
Who will lead the chase?
Team Sky has the race leadership and so the unwritten rules of cycling say the British team should set the pace for at least the first half of the stage.
98km remaining from 168km
Jan Bakelants (OPQS) is the best placed rider in the break. He is 6:03 behind Chris Froome and so will soon be virtual race leader.
The Belgian has been very aggressive during the Dauphine as he tries to secure a place in the OPQS team for the Tour de France.
The break is working hard out front, with the riders following a double pace line. The gap has stabilised at around 5:00.
The race has passed the 4th cat climb mid-stage. Thomas Damuseau (Giant-Shimano) was the first over the top, ahead of Bakelants and Conti.
The break has covered 100km of the 178.5km stage.
Chris Froome used the new Pinarello Dogma F8 bike to win the mountain stage of the Criterium di Dapuhine.
We got a special look at the bike and created this photo gallery that reveals all the design details and custom spec that Froome has on his bike.
Click here to see the photo gallery.
48km remaining from 168km
After 120km of racing, the gap remains around five minutes. The 16 riders will no doubt begin to fight for stage victory when they tackle the final circuit in the hills near Poisy.
A reminder that Froome leads but Contador and Kelderman are just twelve seconds back.
The break has moved out to 5'31 though with 42km to go. The 16 men are working well, and they should decide the outcome of the stage even if the GC battle hots behind.
Team Sky are on the front and setting the pace for the peloton with Tinkoff sitting just behind them.
The bunch are strung out under the pace from Team Sky as Contador gives a little wave to the TV crowd. Both Tinkoff and Astana have men in the break.
The gap has come down to 4'48, with FDJ joining Team Sky on the front of the peloton.
The peloton are on a slight descent and the gap has come down by another 30 seconds with FDJ still doing most of the work. Sky can take a back seat for now.
There are two fourth categorised climbs still to come and the break are close to the base of the first ascent. The gap is at 4'11 with 24km to go.
It's not categorised but there's also a short but steep ramp just before the finish too.
Katusha have joined FDJ on the front so extra help for Sky at the moment. Katusha missed the break but the gap is at 3'44.
And just like that Ligthart attacks and Westra goes with him.
Voigt is trying to ride over to them but he's bringing the entire group with him.
The leading pair have maybe five or six seconds but more riders are trying to sling shot over.
Back in the bunch the Sky riders are back on the front.
Westra has attacked again and is now on his own but Bakelandts and Ligthart are trying to catch him.
Ligthart, Bakelants and Westra lead by around 10 seconds from the rest of the break with 19km to go. That's a decent little trio at this stage of the race. They need to work together and hope that the riders behind them hesistate for a little bit longer.
The rest of the break doesn't want the trio to stay away but they're giving it everything.
Even by taking a few risk on a shadowy descent.
The blackboard shows the trio they have a 30-second lead.
Behind the peloton is lined out, with Team Sky protecting race leader Chris Froome.
The other riders in the break are attacking each other but this will only help the trio up front stay away.
Valerio Conti (Lampre-Merida) is the latest to try.
8km remaining from 168km
Westra seems the strongest as the road kicks up, he is trying to crack the other two.
Crash! Froome has been delayed too.
Vanotti (Astana) seemed to go down and it seems Froome crashed too. He is looking at his left hand and his left shoulder is covered in dirt.
Froome is back in the peloton but seems a little shaken up.
6km remaining from 168km
Upfront Westra and Bakelants have dropped Pim Ligthart (Lotto Belisol). They look set to fight for the stage victory.
5km remaining from 168km
Westra and Bakelants are sharing the work upfront. Whoever wins could seal a place in their respective teams for the Tour de France.
Froome has a series of cuts and road rash along his left side after the crash.
The peloton is 5:00 behind now and Bakelants is only 6;03 down overall. However Tinkoff-Saxo is now setting the tempo, perhaps to keep Froome in yellow.
Westra has a dig on the last climb as the two play tactical games.
Westra seems the strongest but Bakelants is riding a clever race.
The two are almost doing a track stand before Westra surges away.
Last kilometre. The chasers are coming after them but the two should stay away.
Bakelants is on the front now.
Westra kicks at 300m.
He leads it out but Bakelants comes up along the barriers to win the stage.
Westra bangs his bars in frustration but made a hash of the sprint finish by leading it out in the final corners.
Behind teammate Stybar takes he sprint for third place.
The peloton is about to finish. Froome seems to be pedaling ok but has lost some skin and will be in pain.
Porte brings home the peloton, 3:55 down on Bakelants.
The shoulder of Froome's yellow jersey was shredded in the crash. He also has a cut on his left elbow.
He'll need some treatment but the injuries do not look serious. He'll no doubt be at the start on Saturday.
Froome remains the race leader. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) is 12 seconds behind, with Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) third at the same time.
Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) remains fourth overall, at 33 seconds.
Thanks for joining us for today's live coverage from the Criterium du Dauphine.
We'll have a full stage report, huge photo gallery and news on Cyclingnews very soon.
Join us tomorrow for live coverage from stage seven of the race.
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