13 June 2015 17:47
Chris Froome triumphed on stage seven on the Criterium du Dauphine to close to within 18 seconds of the yellow jersey, now being worn by Tejay van Garderen.
Team Sky’s Froome had slipped to seventh overall following a disappointing outing on Friday, but recovered to win by 17 seconds over BMC Racing’s Van Garderen, while Louis Meintjes of MTN-Qhubeka and Benat Intxausti of Movistar were 41 seconds off the winning pace.
The result sees Van Garderen reclaim the yellow jersey he lost to Vincenzo Nibali on stage six.
Winner of this event in 2013, when he went on to prevail at the Tour de France, Froome is looking to banish memories of last year’s race, which saw him slip out of contention after picking up a chest infection.
And Froome attacked Van Garderen in the final two kilometres of the climb to come away with a comfortable victory in Le Bettex.
“I really couldn’t be happier right now because the guys rode out of their skins today, they really emptied themselves out there, just to try and make it as hard as possible,” Froome said.
“On the back of a day like yesterday, nearly 200km in the rain, a lot of the big contenders in the break yesterday, it made sense today to make it as hard as possible.
“That’s one of the beauties of stage racing, you can’t give everything on one day and expect to back it up the next day going into the queen stage, so the guys rode fantastically today and I can’t thank them enough.”
Van Garderen added: “We are thrilled to be back in yellow. The team were a little bit bummed out about yesterday but we bounced back today and everyone contributed really well, we had a really solid ride.
“Hopefully we can put up a good defence tomorrow.”
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