Jakob Fuglsang wins Criterium du Dauphine

The short final stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné had a bit of everything. Four mountain passes and multiple storylines were crammed into 115 breathless kilometres of racing, as Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) triumphed at Plateau de Solaison to snatch the overall race victory from Richie Porte (BMC) by just 10 seconds, while Chris Froome (Sky) faded in the closing kilometres to fall short of a podium place.

Porte set out from Albertville with a lead of 1:02 over Froome atop the general classification, and doubtless expected his former teammate to be the principal threat to his yellow jersey, but instead it was Fuglsang who emerged as the main challenger – and, eventually, the victor – on the final haul to the stage 8 finish line after Porte had been distanced by the podium contenders on the penultimate ascent, the Col de la Colombière.

When Froome hit the front of the reduced leading group at the base of Plateau de Solaison, with Porte chasing at a deficit of 1:30, it looked as though the Dauphiné was about to bend to his will. Seven kilometres from the summit, however, Fuglsang danced clear in the company of Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) and the dynamic of the race suddenly changed.

Fuglsang proceeded to edge clear of Martin, who nonetheless kept pace with the Dane thereafter to finish second on the stage, 12 seconds down. Although Froome continued to set the tempo in the group of favourites, he was steadily conceding ground both to Fuglsang, who was 30 seconds clear with five kilometres to go, and to Porte, who was a minute down at the same juncture.

On the upper ramps of the climb, Fuglsang was still tapping out a metronomic pace, while Froome was betraying signs of suffering. Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) were sufficiently emboldened as to attack Froome with 3 kilometres to go, just as Porte was bridging back up to him. Meintjes sparkled as the gradient bit, and he danced his way to third on the stage, 27 seconds down.

Having produced a measured fightback, Porte looked to have salvaged his maillot jaune as he entered the final three kilometres, but up front Fuglsang was still piling on the pressure and maintaining an advantage of around a minute over the Australian. Fuglsang never once faltered in the closing kilometres and proceeded to claim stage honours, before enduring an anxious wait for Porte to finish.

With 1500 metres to go, Porte accelerated and shed himself of Froome, but impressive though his turn of speed was, he was unable to make inroads into Fuglsang's lead. He crossed the line in seventh place on the stage, precisely 1:15 behind Fuglsang, who claimed the overall Critérium du Dauphiné victory by 10 seconds thanks to the stage winner's 10-second time bonus.

Froome came home in eighth place, 1:36 down, and his travails in the final kilometre or so were such that he slipped to fourth overall, as Dan Martin deservedly moved onto the GC podium for the second successive year after an aggressive afternoon of racing.

Other attackers were less fortunate. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) had kickstarted the denouement by sallying clear on the Colombière with Fabio Aru (Astana), but the Spaniard conceded 3 minutes to drop to 10th overall. Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) had tracked all the important moves until the final climb, but he dropped out of the top 10 altogether after cracking in the finale. It was that kind of day, and it belonged, rather unexpectedly, to Jakob Fuglsang.

So often a supporting act, Fuglsang's stage win on Friday was his first-ever WorldTour win, and he admitted to a degree of surprise at claiming two more in the Alps on Sunday. "I don't know what to say," Fuglsang smiled. "We tried to keep our GC, that was the plan of the day, but it came down to a big, big, big fight and with me and Fabio we played it really good, and then of course also we had a few things that played in our favour. Froome had to pull after Fabio and Valverde and he went so hard. In the end, Daniel Martin attacked and I just followed."

How it unfolded

Ever since Contador almost blew the 2011 Tour de France apart on the road to Alpe d'Huez, ASO has increasingly warmed to the value of short mountain stages as a means of animating its races, and Sunday's final leg of the Dauphiné was a further indication of the success of the format.

The attacking began on the first ascent, the Col des Saisies, where Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) led alone over the top, having jumped away from an unwieldy early break, but of greater interest were the probing accelerations of Froome and Valverde, which served to rid Porte of most of his teammates.

The dose was repeated on the second-category Col des Aravis, where Froome produced another fierce acceleration after his teammates Michal Kwiatkowski and David López had infiltrated an earlier counter-attack on the climb. Froome began the descent in the company of Kwiatkowki, but they were soon reeled in by the yellow jersey group. Shortly afterwards, Gallopin, too, was pegged back, and with 50 kilometres to go, Porte and all of his challengers were in a leading group of 22 riders.

The brief détente came to an end on the slopes of the mighty Col de la Colombière, where Valverde and Aru punched clear. The Sardinian was particularly impressive as they opened a lead of a minute over the yellow jersey group, and their attack prompted Martin, Fuglsang and Bardet to launch a counter-offensive of their own and close to within 30 seconds. This chasing trio were in turn joined by a Contador-led group towards the top of the Colombière, but it was notable that neither Porte nor Froome elected to follow when the Spaniard accelerated.

Instead, an apparently struggling Froome stayed rooted to Porte's wheel and the race leader, for his part, seemed unsure of how best to proceed. Less than a kilometre from the summit, Froome unleashed a fierce acceleration that brought him clear of Porte, and it looked as though the Australian had fallen victim to a form of rope-a-dope, as Froome proceeded to bridge across to Contador, Fuglsang, Martin and company on the descent of the Colombière.

On the approach to the foot of the final, hors categorie haul to Plateau de Solaison, Valverde and Aru had just 10 seconds in hand on the Froome and Fuglsang group, while Porte had only youngsters Tiesj Benoot (Lotto Soudal) and Sam Oomen (Sunweb) for company as he gave chase some 1:30 behind.

It seemed a straightforward pursuit between Porte and Froome, but nothing is ever straightforward on the final day of the Dauphiné. A race that is supposed to provide indications for the Tour instead leaves us with more questions than answers.

Porte's form all week looked that of a Tour winner in waiting, and his pursuit on the final climb was steadfast, yet squandering Dauphiné victory in this could allow some familiar doubts to seep into his psyche ahead of La Grande Boucle.

Froome, for whatever reason, is clearly not (yet) the man of 2016, far less of 2013 or 2015, and his rivals will have taken heart from his struggles here. Contador and Valverde are others shy of their best, but Martin, in particular, Aru and Bardet will all be encouraged by how their races played ultimately out.

And Fuglsang, seventh overall on his sole GC tilt at the 2013 Tour d France, will hope that he has done enough to merit co-leadership (at the very least) in Astana's Tour team. "It's still a long way to the Tour. I'm really happy with my condition now, and we'll have to see if I'm too far already. I'll have to take it easy until the Tour," he said. "As it looks now, me and Fabio we be a couple in the Tour, and we'll have a strong team for GC."

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team3:26:20
2Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors0:00:12
3Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates0:00:27
4Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:00:44
5Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team0:01:01
6Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:02
7Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:01:15
8Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky0:01:36
9Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal0:01:41
10Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team0:03:30
11Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo0:04:10
12Simon Clarke (Aus) Cannondale-Drapac0:04:28
13Simon Yates (GBr) Orica-Scott0:04:43
14Tiesj Benoot (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:04:48
15Sam Oomen (Ned) Team Sunweb0:05:09
16Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:08:05
17Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:08:21
18Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:08:22
19Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 18 - Cell 2
20Andre Fernando S Martins Cardoso (Por) Trek-SegafredoRow 19 - Cell 2
21Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 20 - Cell 2
22Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb0:09:21
23Thomas Degand (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:10:04
24Guillaume Martin (Fra) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 23 - Cell 2
25Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates0:11:40
26Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Orica-Scott0:12:00
27Oliver Naesen (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale0:13:17
28Ben O'Connor (Aus) Dimension Data0:13:57
29Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain-MeridaRow 28 - Cell 2
30Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Dimension DataRow 29 - Cell 2
31Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:14:47
32Jasha Sütterlin (Ger) Movistar Team0:15:13
33Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal0:15:35
34Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Team Sky0:15:45
35Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Bahrain-Merida0:16:00
36Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Direct Energie0:16:51
37Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:16:57
38Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal0:17:47
40Kilian Frankiny (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 39 - Cell 2
41Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Movistar Team0:17:54
42Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Katusha-Alpecin0:18:00
43Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-Scott0:18:05
44Julien El Farès (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:18:37
45Serge Pauwels (Bel) Dimension Data0:19:04
46Delio Fernández Cruz (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:19:26
47Michael Gogl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo0:20:29
48Petr Vakoc (Cze) Quick-Step FloorsRow 47 - Cell 2
49Romain Sicard (Fra) Direct Energie0:20:45
50Tim Declercq (Bel) Quick-Step Floors0:21:03
51Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team0:21:23
52Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac0:21:37
53Johan Esteban Chaves Rubio (Col) Orica-Scott0:21:49
54Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica-ScottRow 53 - Cell 2
55Damien Howson (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 54 - Cell 2
56Jack Haig (Aus) Orica-ScottRow 55 - Cell 2
57Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team EmiratesRow 56 - Cell 2
58Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing TeamRow 57 - Cell 2
59Dylan van Baarle (Ned) Cannondale-DrapacRow 58 - Cell 2
60Koen Bouwman (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:22:07
61Lennard Hofstede (Ned) Team Sunweb0:22:37
62Michael Valgren Andersen (Den) Astana Pro TeamRow 61 - Cell 2
63Marco Minnaard (Ned) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:23:32
64Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky0:24:56
65Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team0:25:23
66Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) Dimension Data0:26:22
67Scott Thwaites (GBr) Dimension DataRow 66 - Cell 2
68Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 67 - Cell 2
69Alexey Vermeulen (USA) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 68 - Cell 2
70Manuele Mori (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 69 - Cell 2
71Julien Vermote (Bel) Quick-Step FloorsRow 70 - Cell 2
72Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 71 - Cell 2
73Matteo Bono (Ita) UAE Team EmiratesRow 72 - Cell 2
74Alberto Bettiol (Ita) Cannondale-DrapacRow 73 - Cell 2
75Haimar Zubeldia Aguirre (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 74 - Cell 2
76Brendan Canty (Aus) Cannondale-DrapacRow 75 - Cell 2
77Dion Smith (NZl) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 76 - Cell 2
78Axel Domont (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 77 - Cell 2
79Jorge Arcas (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 78 - Cell 2
80Bert De Backer (Bel) Team SunwebRow 79 - Cell 2
81Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-DrapacRow 80 - Cell 2
82Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Katusha-AlpecinRow 81 - Cell 2
83Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 82 - Cell 2
84Quentin Pacher (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 83 - Cell 2
85Thierry Hupond (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 84 - Cell 2
86Bryan Nauleau (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 85 - Cell 2
87Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 86 - Cell 2
88Nils Politt (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 87 - Cell 2
89Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 88 - Cell 2
90Phil Bauhaus (Ger) Team SunwebRow 89 - Cell 2
91Silvio Herklotz (Ger) Bora-HansgroheRow 90 - Cell 2
92Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team SunwebRow 91 - Cell 2
93Enrico Battaglin (Ita) Team LottoNL-JumboRow 92 - Cell 2
94Julien Simon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 93 - Cell 2
95Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kaz) Astana Pro TeamRow 94 - Cell 2
96Anthony Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions CreditsRow 95 - Cell 2
97Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence KTMRow 96 - Cell 2
98Yoann Offredo (Fra) Wanty - Groupe GobertRow 97 - Cell 2
99Nicolas Roche (Irl) BMC Racing TeamRow 98 - Cell 2
100Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 99 - Cell 2
101Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Astana Pro TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Chris Hamilton (Aus) Team SunwebRow 101 - Cell 2
103Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain-MeridaRow 102 - Cell 2
104Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Movistar TeamRow 103 - Cell 2
105Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) BMC Racing TeamRow 104 - Cell 2
106Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team SkyRow 106 - Cell 2
108Ian Boswell (USA) Team SkyRow 107 - Cell 2
109Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team0:26:50
110Angelo Tulik (Fra) Direct EnergieRow 109 - Cell 2
111Christoph Pfingsten (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe0:27:10
112Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJRow 111 - Cell 2
113Jeremy Maison (Fra) FDJRow 112 - Cell 2
114Mickaël Delage (Fra) FDJRow 113 - Cell 2
115Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) FDJRow 114 - Cell 2
116Rick Zabel (Ger) Katusha-AlpecinRow 115 - Cell 2
117Michael Mørkøv (Den) Katusha-AlpecinRow 116 - Cell 2
118Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:27:13
119Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:27:25
120Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Trek-SegafredoRow 119 - Cell 2
121Youcef Reguigui (Alg) Dimension DataRow 120 - Cell 2
122Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ0:27:40
123Federico Zurlo (Ita) UAE Team Emirates0:28:28
124Amund Grondahl Jansen (Nor) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:30:06
125Nikita Stalnov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team0:30:49
OTLGijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:32:57
OTLDavide Cimolai (Ita) FDJRow 126 - Cell 2
OTLCyril Gautier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:33:28
OTLAdrien Niyonshuti (Rwa) Dimension Data0:34:24
OTLAngel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:34:59
OTLSamuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:39:33
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Points
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team15pts
2Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors12Row 1 - Cell 3
3Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates10Row 2 - Cell 3
4Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe8Row 3 - Cell 3
5Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team6Row 4 - Cell 3
6Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale5Row 5 - Cell 3
7Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team4Row 6 - Cell 3
8Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky3Row 7 - Cell 3
9Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal2Row 8 - Cell 3
10Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team1Row 9 - Cell 3
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Mountain 1 (Cat. 1) Col des Saisies, km 30
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal10pts
2Ben Swift (GBr) UAE Team Emirates8Row 1 - Cell 3
3Stef Clement (Ned) Team LottoNL-Jumbo6Row 2 - Cell 3
4Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky4Row 3 - Cell 3
5Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana Pro Team2Row 4 - Cell 3
6Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team1Row 5 - Cell 3
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Mountain 2 (Cat. 2) Col des Aravis, km 56
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal5pts
2Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Sunweb3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates2Row 2 - Cell 3
4Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Orica-Scott1Row 3 - Cell 3
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Mountain 3 (Cat. 1) Col de la Colombière, km 80.5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team10pts
2Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team8Row 1 - Cell 3
3Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors6Row 2 - Cell 3
4Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale4Row 3 - Cell 3
5Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team2Row 4 - Cell 3
6Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Trek-Segafredo1Row 5 - Cell 3
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Mountain 4 (HC) Plateau de Solaison, km 115
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team15pts
2Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors12Row 1 - Cell 3
3Louis Meintjes (RSA) UAE Team Emirates10Row 2 - Cell 3
4Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe8Row 3 - Cell 3
5Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team6Row 4 - Cell 3
6Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale5Row 5 - Cell 3
7Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team4Row 6 - Cell 3
8Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky3Row 7 - Cell 3
9Rafael Valls (Spa) Lotto Soudal2Row 8 - Cell 3
10Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team1Row 9 - Cell 3
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Teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1AG2R La Mondiale10:36:28
2Astana Pro Team0:00:30
3Trek-Segafredo0:03:26
4Lotto Soudal0:04:36
5UAE Team Emirates0:11:36
6Orica-Scott0:17:20
7Movistar Team0:19:09
8Team Sunweb0:19:39
9BMC Racing Team0:22:57
10Quick-Step Floors0:24:16
11Team Sky0:24:49
12Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:26:12
13Team LottoNL-Jumbo0:27:48
14Team Dimension Data0:29:30
15Cannondale-Drapac Team0:30:26
16Bora-Hansgrohe0:36:48
17Bahrain-Merida0:38:51
18Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:43:38
19Direct Energie0:46:30
20Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:46:57
21Katusha-Alpecin0:53:16
22FDJ1:04:02
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Final general classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team29:05:54
2Richie Porte (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:00:10
3Daniel Martin (Irl) Quick-Step Floors0:01:32
4Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky0:01:33