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AFP / ASO
Britain’s defending champion Chris Froome won the first stage of the Criterium du Dauphine, an individual time-trial in Lyon, on Sunday. Froome finished the 10.4km course in 13:13, 8 seconds ahead of biggest rival Alberto Contador of Spain. Early pace setter Bob Jungels of Luxembourg finished third at 9 seconds ahead of American Andrew Talansky.
“I’m a bit surprised to be honest, I didn’t expect to win. It’s a result that confirms the work done in training and the fact that I’m in form,” Froome said afterwards. “During the course I didn’t have any information regarding the times of my rivals, I preferred to just focus on myself and what I was doing. I only knew that the final 4km were difficult going into the wind, so I saved my strength for that part.
Froome, who will also try to defend his Tour de France title next month, admitted that he hadn’t anticipated wearing the race leader’s yellow jersey quite so soon.
“It’s a bit of an unexpected situation because I didn’t expect to find myself in this position but it’s great to not have any time to make up. “The Dauphine this year is really hard right from the opening stages. I think tomorrow again we can expect a really big race in the mountains,” added the Team Sky rider.
Monday’s second leg is a 156km ride between Tarare and the Col du Beal, with a final climb of 13.6km at 6.6 percent.
Criterium du Dauphine Stage 1
1. Chris Froome (GBR/SKY) 13:13
2. Alberto Contador (ESP/TIN) @ :08
3. Bob Jungels (LUX/TRE) @ :09
4. Andrew Talansky (USA/GRM) @ :11
5. Wilco Kelderman (NED/BKN) @ s.t.
6. Lars Boom (NED/BKN) @ :12
7. Vasil Kiryienka (BLR/SKY) s.t.
8. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/AST) @ :13
9. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/BMC) s.t.
10. Matthias Brandle (AUT/IAM) s.t.