• Richie Porte and Chris Froome were kept out trouble by their BMC and Sky team-mates. (Getty)Source: Getty
Richie Porte and Chris Froome were just two of the big names to dust off the cobwebs and launch themselves back into the Critérium du Dauphiné racing fray ahead of the Tour de France.
Cycling Central

5 Jun 2017 - 1:51 PM 

The key general classification contenders still have their tests to come which left the first stage in St Etienne open to a rider like eventual winner Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal).

And while De Gendt was enjoying his spoils, Porte (BMC) and Froome (Sky) were happy with a result which saw them and rivals Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), Fabio Aru (Astana), Dan Martin, Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott) ride to a stalemate.

“It was a hard stage to get things started," Porte said. "It’s just nice to get the race started as it seemed like we’ve been sitting in the hotel room forever. I think the team did a fantastic job today.

“I think the signs are good for this week. We have a fantastic team here so we’ll just see how the next days go.

"Obviously the next weekend is the big crunch time. I think the GC guys will be on the look out every day. There will be some hard starts with quite a lot of uphill starts but we’ll be looking more towards the time trial and mountain stages.”

Froome hasn't put anything in the win column so far this season but he emerged content with his ride which saw him finish one minute and nine seconds off De Gendt.

"It was a good stage and good for us to get that one out of the way without any major issues," Froome said. "It’s my first day of racing since Romanide. Today was a good day to blow out the cobwebs and it was pretty grippy in the final there.

"We did quite a bit of work early on, just to not let the break go too far, but it seemed like not many other people wanted to contribute until it was too late.

"For us it’s just about staying out of trouble, staying out of the wind and saving it for when it really matters."

Stage 2 takes the peloton on a lumpy 171km ride from Saint-Chamond to Arlanc and includes four categorised climbs right in the middle of the course and a finish for the sprinters.