Hello and welcome to our full live coverage of stage 6 of the Critérium du Dauphiné - 141km from La Rochette to Meribel. It is the decisive mountain stage of the race.
Bonjour and welcome to the big day at the Dauphine. Today will see another face off in the French Alps as Chris Froome (Team Sky) tries to defend his narrow race lead.
As we raise the Cyclingnews blimp, the riders are gathering at the start.
Today's stage to Meribel is the Queen stage of the race thanks to the five major climbs packed into the 141km distance.
The climbs start just a few kilometres after the start, making for a hard and intense day in the saddle.
Mid-stage sees the rider climb the Hors Category Col de la Madeleine. It is 19km long and has a gradient of 7.9%.
The finale of the stage includes a series a of minor climbs before the 12.3km - 6.6% climb up to the finish in the ski resort of Meribel.
We can expect some aggressive racing as riders try to take the stage victory and as Froome, Porte, Contador and others fight for overall success and the leader's yellow jersey.
With the Tour de France just a few weeks away, it is time for the big-name riders to show their form. There will be nowhere to hide today.
The riders have lined-up at the start under sunny skies but there is a serious risk of rain, adding an extra twist to the race.
Many of the riders in the race carefully warmed up for the aggressive start on the rollers, including race leader Chris Froome.
They're off! The riders have left the start line for the kilometre 0 point.
A total of 158 riders are in the peloton today. The only non-starter is Dominik Nerz (Bora-Argon 18).
Chris Froome (Team Sky) wears the race leader's yellow jersey after winnnig the stage on Friday and taking the lead from Alberto Contador (Tinkoff).
This is the current top ten overall. We will soon find out if Froome is as strong today.
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 21:24:59
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 00:00:07
3 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 00:00:27
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step 00:00:37
5 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 00:00:42
6 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge 00:00:52
7 Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team 00:01:08
8 Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 00:01:16
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 00:01:21
10 Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre - Merida 00:01:27
The flag has dropped and so we're live!
We immediately have an attack, with five rider jumping away trying to form the break of the day on the flat roads before the first climb.
The first climb has began and the first attack is breaking up. It's going to be an intense day in the saddle.
The ever-aggressive Cesare Benedetti (Bora-Argon 18) is now the only rider up the road.
A counter attack of around 20 riders has gained 40 seconds on the peloton and Benedetti has been caught.
Robert Kiserlovski (Tinkoff) is now on the attack.
Is Tinkoff trying to send riders up he road to help Contador later on?
Kiserlovski is quickly caught, leaving a 21-rider group up front.
Three other riders have joined the move as the riders near the summit of the Col de Champ-Laurent.
Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data) was one of the first to attack today. He is chasing points in the climber's competition.
Teklehaimanot leads the climber's competition and is chasing more points.
Astana seems to be the only team to have missed the attack and so have sent Andrey Grivko and Luis Leon Sanchez up the road to try to join the move.
The riders in the attack are:
Ben Hermans (BMC), Robert Kiserlovski and Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff), Thibaut Pinot and Jérémy Roy (FDJ), Laurens De Plus and Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step), Mikaël Chérel and Ben Gastauer (AG2R-La Mondiale), Daryl Impey (Orica), Jurgen Van den Broeck (Katusha), Tony Gallopin and Louis Vervaecke (Lotto-Soudal), Serge Pauwels and Daniel Teklehaimanot (Dimension Data), Marc Soler (Movistar), Thomas Voeckler, Bryan Nauleau, Perrig Quémeneur and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo), Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Cesare Benedetti and Patrick Konrad (Bora-Argon 18), Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre-Merida).
Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale) is also trying to power across to the attack before the gap becomes too big.
As you can see, there are some interesting names in the attack, including Pinot, Voeckler, Van den Broeck and Tony Martin.
As the riders approach the summit of the first climb Grivko is close to closing the gap. However Nauleau has been distanced.
Team Sky does not have a rider in the attack and so will have to lead the chase behind.
@Etixx_QuickStep Sat, 11th Jun 2016 11:40:01
The peloton is 2:30 behind.
The riders are close to the summit.
The high pace is hurting behind and Igor Anton is the first to quit the race today.
Anton rode the Giro d'Italia for Dimension Data and is clearly tired after a lot of racing.
Teklehaimanot is the first to the top of the climb, taking maximum points for the climber's competition.
The peloton reaches the summit some 3:15 down.
After a short descent the riders face the Col du Grand Cucheron climb. It is 3.4km long at 6.9%. After they can enjoy a long descent o the foot of the much feared Col de la Madeleine, which begins after 70km.
113km remaining from 141km
Thanks to the short descent, Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Jan Bakelants (AG2R-La Mondiale) have now joined the attack, with 27 riders now in the move.
Teklehaimanot is on form today and also takes five points as first to the summit of the Grand Cucheron climb.
He beat fellow African Grmay of Lampre-Merida as they fight for mountain points.
Bryan Nauleau is back in the attack after struggling on the climbs.
@TeamDiData Sat, 11th Jun 2016 12:13:27
106km remaining from 141km
The peloton is not letting the break open a big gap. its is now 3:00.
As expected, the race has settled after the fireworks of the opening two climbs.
@TeamDiData Sat, 11th Jun 2016 12:34:50
As the Queen stage of the Dauphine continues, you can also follow the Cyclingnews live coverage of the opening TT at the Tour de Suisse.
Click here to go the dedicated live page: Tour de Suisse.
Here we go, the break hits the Col de la Madeleine!
As we suspected the Col de la Madeleine has inspired an attack from Contador!
Also in the move is Fabio Aru, plus Jesper Hansen (Tinkoff), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Dayer Quintana (Movistar) and Bjorn Thurau (Wanty).
It will now be up to Sky and BMC to chase to protect the GC positions of Froome and Porte.
@TeamSky Sat, 11th Jun 2016 13:01:14
The Madeleine will be a real test of Contador and Froome. It's a high risk strategy for the Spaniard but he has shown it can work in the past.
The long climb is already hurting the attack up the road, with several riders distanced.
These include Voeckler, Marco Minnaard, Andriy Grivko, Cesare Benedetti. Contador's speed is also hurting som of the riders who attacked with him, including Dayer Quintana and Thurau.
Behind Team Sky is setting a steady pace in pursuit, with six riders from the British team on the front of the peloton.
80km remaining from 141km
The stage has exploded but there is still 80km of racing to go. Contador has put all his cards on the table with his attack.
The Contador attack has gained 30 seconds on the Froome group.
The Contador group is 1:45 down on the break, with the Froome peloton around 25 seconds further back.
Upfront Daniel Teklehaimanot has been dropped from the attack. He will miss out on points on the Madeleine and so his lead in the climber's competition could be at risk.
Team Sky seems to have landed a blow to Contador's hopes. His attack has been caught 4km from the summit of the Madeleine.
We'll chalk that up as round one to Froome and Team Sky.
Contador seems to have given up the idea of attacking Froome but Aru goes again.
Aru has jumped across to LL Sanchez and is now chasing the break of the day.
@TeamSky Sat, 11th Jun 2016 13:33:47
The riders are enjoying the sunny weather in the Alps today, with blue skies and warm temperatures in the mountains.
At 2km from the summit of the Madeleine, Aru and Sanchez are just 45 from the attack of the day, with the peloton 50 seconds back. It seems that Team Sky is happy to let Aru go away but kept Contador under control.
Contador attacks again!
The summit is just 1km away, as Team Sky chase after Contador.
Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) is also on the attack. He has a gap on Contador, who has been caught by Froome and Contador.
It's mano a mano out on the top of the Madeleine.
Aru is hoping to get across to the break before the long descent but he is running out of climb. The race is almost at the summit of the Madeleine.
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) isthe first to the summit of the Madeleine, ahead of Louis Vervaeke and Mickael Cherel. However he is then distanced on the descent.
Aru reaches the summit 45 seconds after the break, with Contador, Porte and Froome in a 20-rider group further back.
Bardet has caught Aru to create a big-name duo that is chasing the break and the chance of stage victory. Both are no longer overall threats.
The two lead by 40 seconds.
Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data) is riding aggressively and has gone past Pinot to catch Vervaeke and Cherel.
It's a busy day of racing today.
To see live video coverage on Cyclingnews of the Air Force Cycling Classic Clarendon Cup in the USA, click here.
The women's race is about to get underway.
@TeamDiData Sat, 11th Jun 2016 13:52:05
Aru and Bardet have caught the back end of the attack of the day. They look well placed to go for the stage victory now.
The Froome peloton is around a minute back on Aru and Bardet.
Also with them are Pinot and Gallopin as they chase Cherel, Vervaeke and Pauwels.
It seems that Contador is again back in the Froome group after a second failed attack. We can surely expect him to try again later.
@LottoJumbo_road Sat, 11th Jun 2016 14:02:23
48km remaining from 141km
@TeamDiData Sat, 11th Jun 2016 14:06:09
Today's stage goes deep into the Alps.
The situation is fluid at the head of the race, with Chérel joining Pauwels up front.
Behind them, Ben Hermans (BMC), Robert Kiserlovski, Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff), Thibaut Pinot, Jérémy Roy (FDJ), Laurens De Plus, Tony Martin (Etixx), Fabio Aru (Astana), Jan Bakelants, Romain Bardet, Ben Gastauer (AG2R), Daryl Impey (Orica), Jurgen Van den Broek (Katusha), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), George Bennett (Lotto-Jumbo) and Tsgabu Grmay (Lampre) have formed a chase group at 40 seconds.
The yellow jersey group at 2:00.
@EquipeFDJ Sat, 11th Jun 2016 14:08:36
The chasers are 45 seconds down on Chérel and Pauwels, with the peloton slipping back to 2:20.
The stage profile shows what the riders face in the finale of the stage. There is still a lot of climbing and racing to come.
35km remaining from 141km
With 35km to go, the attackers are on the lower slopes of the Montée des Frasses -it is 8km long at 6.5km.
Bardet has now gained a chunk of time on Team Sky and so has become an overall threat again.
The front group is thinning out as AG2R and Astana set the pace for Bardet and Aru.
Behind Froome has Wout Poels, Mikel Landa and Sergio Henao riding tempo fro him at the front of the peloton. But the gap remains at 2:00, meaning Bardet is the virtual race leader. He is only 1:34 down in the GC.
Aru is struggling in the break and so Sanchez waits for him. If he can't hold the pace, he has little chance of winning the stage.
Aru is spinning his gear but losing ground.
The riders are 2km from the top of the Montée des Frasses. the riders then face some rolling roads before the 12km climb to the finish.
The Froome group is slips back to 2:20 as Poels tries to set the pace.
The pace is bot fast, with Bart de Clerq (Lotto Soudal) even jumping away.
This is a delicate moment in the race for Froome and Team Sky. They have to control Bardet but also be ready for attacks from Porte and Contador on the final climb.
Upfront Van den Broeck, Kiserlovski, Kreuziger, Pinot, Bennett, Bardet, Bakelants, De Plus, Bakelants and Cherel are the riders left in the attack.
The AG2R team is doing a great job at dragging Bardet clear. Jan Bakelants has now sat up after doing a huge block of work on the front.
@Etixx_QuickStep Sat, 11th Jun 2016 14:39:20
26km remaining from 141km
The gap on the peloton is growing as the climb hurts. It is up to 3:20.
@Etixx_QuickStep Sat, 11th Jun 2016 14:43:19
The attackers and the Froome group of 20 riders have crested the summit of the Montée des Frasses climb.
21km remaining from 141km
The gap is down to 3:10 after a section of the descent. Bardet is virtual race leader but can he hold on?
Tony Martin is leading the chase on the descent, giving Team Sky a hand and helping his team leader Julian Alaphilippe.
Aru has been caught by the Froome group and fallen out the back. He's paying big time for his earlier aggressive riding.
On a sector of descent at 70km/h a AG2R team car tries to move past some riders but almost goes off the road. That was not a clever move.
14km remaining from 141km
It is almost time for the climb up to the finish in Meribel:12.3km at 6.6%. It will surely shake up the race.
Froome hits the front to do a turn on the descent. It will soon be time for him to spin his legs on the climb to the finish.
11km remaining from 141km
Upfront Bardet still has two teammates setting the pace . He will also soon have to make a big, big effort if he wants to win the stage and even try to take the race lead from Froome.
The gap is now 2:40. Bardet is virtual leader by 1:06.
The Froome group hits the climb with the Team Sky riders gathered on the front.
Poels offers his gels to his teammates and then sits up. His work is done.
Froome now has Henao and Landa to set the pace.
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) is also a danger for the stage victory today.
9km remaining from 141km
Here we go! Bardet accelerates away with Pinot.
But Pinot can't hold Bardet's wheel.
Pinot is trying to limit the gap but Bardet is going for it.
It's a long way out for Bardet to attack but it could mean he gains enough time on Froome to take the race lead. He also has a 10-second time bonus if he wins the stage.
Pinot has made a controlled chase and manages to get up to Bardet.
Pinot quickly goes to the front to do a turn. Froome and the front group are at 2:00 and so Bardet is still virtual race leader.
Can he hang on?
Landa is leading the chase for Froome and seems to have upped the pace.
Froome has to try to chase Bardet and Pinot but also watch his back fro attacks from Contador and Porte. for now he's stuck in the middle trying to manage both threats.
The Froome group is catching the remains of the attack but Contador still has two riders up the road to help him if he manages to attack.
5km remaining from 141km
The gap is down to 1:45. Froome is closing back in on the race lead.
Kiserlovski is about to be caught so will be of little help to Contador.
There are only a dozen riders left in the Froome group, with Pierre Rolland (Cannondale) collecting tickets as riders fall out the back.
Upfront Pinot is spinning his legs and working together with Bardet.
2km remaining from 141km
Attack Bardet! The AG2R rider goes for it but Pinot is soon on his wheel.
@MeridaProRoad Sat, 11th Jun 2016 15:25:33
Pinot is unlikely to work with Bardet after that attack.
Froome only Henao to set the pace behind but the gap is coming down.
Last Kilometre! Who will win the stage?
@TeamSky Sat, 11th Jun 2016 15:30:50
Henao moves over and so Froome takes up the pace, spinning his legs.
Upfront it will be a sprint between Bardet and Pinot for the stage win.
A steep 250m to go!
Bardet opens the sprint but Pinot is stronger.
Pinot beats Bardet to win the stage.
Behind Dan Martin attacks and only Froome can go with him.
They distance the others and finish 1:03 down on Pinot. Martin takes the time bonus for third place. Froome was fourth at 1:06 and so actually extends his lead on Porte and Contador. However now Bardet is closer.
Froome gained 8 seconds on Contador and 14 on Porte.
Provisional stage results:
1 Thibaut Pinot 4:24:16
2 Romain Bardet
3 Daniel Martin 0:01:04
4 Chris Froome 0:01:07
5 Louis Meintjes 0:01:15
6 Alberto Contador
7 Diego Rosa 0:01:17
8 Adam Yates
9 Julian Alaphilippe 0:01:21
10 Richie Porte
Pinot is unlikely to work with Bardet after that attack.
Thanks to his huge effort, Bardet is now third overall at 21 seconds, the same time as Porte, who is second overall.
General classification after stage 6:
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 25:50:22
2 Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:21
3 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:21
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:30
5 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff Team 0:00:35
6 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Etixx - Quick-Step 0:00:56
7 Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge 0:01:02
8 Diego Rosa (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:01:18
9 Louis Meintjes (RSA) Lampre - Merida 0:01:35
10 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ 0:02:12
Thanks to his stage win and aggressive day out in the Alps, Pinot also pulled on the climber's polka-dot jersey.
The final result and the late live television coverage did not tell the full story of the stage, with Contador trying but failing to blow the race part on the 19km Madeleine climb mid-stage.
That is perhaps where Team Sky proved their strength, by chasing down Contador with a real show of dominance.
It almost cost them as they had to pace their chase of Bardet but a controlled ride and refusal to panic eventually paid off.
Porte is noq second overall at 21 seconds, with Bardet third at the same time. Martin moved up to fourth at 30 seconds, with Contador slipping to fifth at 35 seconds.
On the podium Bernhard Hinault zips up Froome's yellow jersey and gives him the flowers. It must seem like handy practice for July for everyone.
Sunday’s final and decisive stage at the Criterium du Dauphineis from Le Pont de Claix near Grenoble to Superdevoluy. It is a tough final day with six categorised climbs. Froome looks in control but no doubt his rivals will try everything they can to crack him and Team Sky.
Thanks for joining us for our live coverage from the French race. Join us tomorrow for the final show down.
We will also have live coverage of the first stage of the Tour de Suisse.
A domain mes amis di velo!
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