Chris Froome sent out a warning to his Tour de France rivals with a stunning climb on stage eight to claim Criterium du Dauphine glory.
The Team Sky rider – who won the event in 2013 and went on to triumph in the Tour – wiped out an 18-second deficit on the final stage to overtake BMC’s Tejay van Garderen and wrap up his second Dauphine title by 10 seconds thanks to the time bonus for crossing the line first.
Froome had maintained a watching brief within the peloton for much of the 156.5 kilometres from Saint-Gervais to Modane Valfrejus, using team-mate Wout Poels to launch his attack.
With 2.6 kilometres to go, Froome made his move and Van Garderen – who eventually finished fourth – was unable to counter, allowing the Briton to come home ahead of Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida), who were fifth and third overall respectively.
“I can’t believe it, I couldn’t have expected it to go any better,” said Froome. “Everyone’s legs were tired after yesterday, the whole team was suffering, I don’t know how they did it but whole team lifted themselves, giving everything.
“My team-mates were fantastic until the last moment when I could attack and put pressure on Tejay.
“Of course the Tour de France is the big objective, the team is ready, I think I’m almost ready.”
An early breakaway of seven riders were quickly joined by six others and they controlled the pace for the first half of the race until Tony Martin (Etixx-Quick Step) made a lone break just past the halfway point.
Martin opened up a lead of over one minute on the peloton, navigating the outrageous Lacets de Montvernier with ease – the 3.4-kilometre climb containing 17 hairpin bends.
Slowly the chasing pack began to reel Martin in, but the German managed to reach the fifth of six climbs in the lead before watching MTN-Qhubeka’s Stephen Cummings take over at the front.
Froome and Van Garderen were not interested in breaking from the safety of the peloton, but Poels helped raise the pace after Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) had looked to stretch them out.
Poels’ efforts for his team leader produced the desired results inside the final three kilometres, the Dutchman enabling Froome to overtake Cummings and set off for the line.
Van Garderen looked to go with him to try to hold onto the yellow jersey, but the high gears deployed by Froome saw him pull away and seal victory.
Yates’ late break to snatch second ensured he claimed the young riders’ jersey, while Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) secured the points classification and Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) finished king of the mountains.