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Froome Doubles in Criterium du Dauphine Stage 2

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AFP / ASO

Britain’s defending champion Chris Froome of Team Sky made it two wins in two days when he won Monday’s second stage of the Criterium du Dauphine ahead of Spanish arch-rival Alberto Contador. After victory in Sunday’s opening time-trial stage, Froome ensured himself of the race leader’s yellow jersey on the 156km second stage that ended with a gruelling 13.6km climb of the Col du Beal.

“It’s the first time this year that we’ve both battled,” said Froome of his “duel” with Contador. “I gave it everything. It was block to block. I tried several times to attack but he (Contador) is very strong. It was really tough between us.”

A breakaway by Alessandro de Marchi was eventually reeled in with 7.5km to go despite a 2:40 lead the Italian had going into the final ascent. Froome was followed home by Contador, with Dutch rider Wilco Kelderman in third, 4 seconds adrift. The Kenyan-born Briton, the reigning Tour de France champion, now stands 12 seconds clear of Contador, himself twice a winner of the Grand Tour, in the overall classification.

Kelderman and American Andrew Talansky, who finished fifth, two emerging riders, as well as Belgian Jurgen Van den Broeck, fourth, vainly tried to make the most of the rare moments of respite offered by Froome in the final kilometers. But it was a group of six riders, still lead by the Briton, which emerged going into the final kilometer. Among this group, Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali finally conceded 27 seconds to Froome and Contador to cross in sixth.

Kelderman, well oiled by the recent Giro d’Italia, resisted better without being able to rival the yellow jersey winner for the second time in two days. Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski and American Tejay Van Garderen, both Tour de France hopes, lost two minutes to Froome.

Tuesday’s third stage is a 194km ride from Ambert to Teil.

Criterium du Dauphine Stage 2
1. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 4:24:41
2. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) @ s.t.
3. Wilco Kelderman (NED/BKN) @ :04
4. Juergen Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) @ :10
5. Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) @ :12
6. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) @ :27
7. Igor Anton (ESP/MOV) @ :40
8. Adam Yates (GBR/ORI) @ :42
9. Sebastien Reichenbach (SUI/IAM) @ :44
10. Daniel Navarro (ESP/COF) @ :45

General Classification After Stage 2
1. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 4:37:44
2. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) @ :12
3. Wilco Kelderman (NED/BKN) @ :21
4. Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) @ :33
5. Jürgen Van den Broeck (BEL/LTB) @ :35
6. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) @ :50
7. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/TRE) @ 1:22
8. Jakob Fuglsang (DEN/AST) @ s.t.
9. Adam Yates (GBR/ORI) @ 1:31
10. Tanel Kangert (EST/AST) @ 1:35