Chris Froome repeated as Criterium du Dauphine champion after his Sky team regrouped and protected his lead to the finish of the final stage of the race.

The 151.5km stage from Le Pont-de-Claix to Superdévoluy was won by Steve Cummings (Dimension Data) ahead of Dan Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) and Romain Bardet (AG2R).

Cummings was the last survivor of a 20-rider break and in what his now become trademark bravado, drove hard to finish 3min 58sec clear of the chasing elite.

“It's getting harder and harder to win races so I tried to force something going from far out," Cummings said. I was just thinking of training for the Tour de France.

"I'm really happy. This is my third stage race in the World Tour this year and my third stage win. We don't have a GC rider at Dimension Data, which leaves us free so I have more opportunities and I win more races.

"I prefer to race for stages. GC is boring sometimes. There was a head wind when I attacked and it was hard. I went to (Tony) Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) because he's a good one. I dropped him. I was hoping someone would come.

"I just carried on alone. It's impressive but it comes from people getting dropped in the climb. I think everyone was quite tired after the last two days.”

The general classification was turned on its head inside the final kilometre as Australian Richie Porte (BMC) was caught napping by Bardet's late attack but could not respond after he was boxed in by Froome and his team-mates.

As a result Porte fell from second to fourth place overall, behind Bardet, who finished second, and Martin. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) was fifth.

Botched finish pushes Porte off the podium
Richie Porte left the Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday with extra appetite for the Tour de France after slipping from second to fourth overall in the last kilometre of the final stage.

The 31-year-old Froome had to survive some nervous moments in the final 15km to Superdevoluy as Contador launched several accelerations on the penultimate climb.

Bardet also tried his chances on a rapid descent between the final two climbs but Froome doggedly chased down every attack.

It's a massive satisfaction to win the Dauphiné for the third time," Froome said. "It's a very important race in the calendar.

"Coming into this week, I was just happy fighting for the podium. Sitting here with the yellow-blue jersey is an amazing feeling.

"The last few days, we went flat out and today was no different. My team-mates came back to help me control the race at the end. I knew via radio that Landa, Henao and Poels were coming across.

"This is a great time for me to have a win under the belt. It's a booster confidence ahead of the Tour de France but there's still some work to do before July.

"I'm not at my best yet. I hope to reach that by the start of the Tour de France. I've not raced much this year in order to be at my best during the third week of the Tour.” 

Monday 13 Jun 2016