Alberto Contador lost time to his Tour de France rival Chris Froome at the Criterium du Dauphine yesterday as Team Sky’s leader rode away from the Spaniard to claim the stage win and the overall lead.
On the final climb of the day, Vaujany, Froome and BMC’s Richie Porte broke clear from the remains of the peloton as they contested the stage win; that honour fell to Froome. But his former teammate Porte took some time from Contador as the battle for the Dauphine hots up.
Froome broke with only 2.5km remaining, but the two-time winner of the Tour de France Contador couldn’t bridge the gap, and by the time the stage had finished, he was 21 seconds down on Froome.
Contador admits he didn’t have the speed to cope with Froome
With the Tour a little over three weeks away, Contador, Froome and Porte will all be rivals at cycling’s greatest race; but at the Dauphine it certainly looks like the British and Australian rider have the edge over there Spanish counterpart.
Speaking about losing time, Contador said: "In the final I tried to follow Chris and Richie. I need more speed in my legs, I know. I've said that before the race.”
The 33-year-old didn’t race the Giro D’Italia like he did last year; so he will be fresher come the start on July 2, but conceding time to Froome and Porte is something Contador wouldn’t have wanted as it gives them a mental boost.
Contador still has time to fine tune his preparations for the Tour, a Tour he will be bidding to win for a third time; but the Dauphine this week has really shown that Froome and Porte are entering the Tour at the peak of their powers.
"Each day I'm sure that I'll go better. The objective is the Tour de France. I've said that every day. That's our objective and it's 100 per cent," said the 33-year-old.