Chris Froome is the winner of the 65th Criterium du Dauphiné. He finished second in the last stage in Risoul behind Alessandro De Marchi who courageously stayed ahead of the big stars and claimed a well deserved victory after 153 kilometres of breakaway under the cold and rainy conditions in the south of the Alps. Froome is more than ever the hot favorite of the Tour de France.
Wellens ahead from start to (almost) finish
After only two kilometers of racing, Tim Wellens (LTB) instigated a breakaway that was eventually formed of 24 riders with Francesco Gavazzi and Andriy Grivko (AST), Yannick Eijssen and Manuel Quinziato (BMC), Juan Manuel Garate and Marc Goos (BLA), Markel Irizar (RLT), Travis Meyer (OGE), Alberto Losada (KAT), Rudy Molard (COF), Mikel Astarloza and Egoi Martinez (EUS), Anthony Geslin (FDJ), Perrig Quéméneur (EUC), Gianni Meersman (OPQ), Alessandro De Marchi and José Sarmiento (CAN), Jonathan Castroviejo and Imanol Erviti (MOV), Juan Antonio Flecha (VCD), William Clarke and Thomas Damuseau (ARG) and Sébastien Duret (BSE). Two notable members of the group were the polka dot and green jersey wearers. Damuseau secured his lead in the King of the Mountains competition for good as he passed the third category côte de la Bréole in first position.
Saxo-Tinkoff ambitious before Contador's crash
While many riders pulled out due to injury like Pierre Rolland (OPQ), sickness like Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) or else, with Thor Hushovd (BMC), Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ), Sylvain Chavanel (OPQ), Daniel Teklehaimanot (OGE), among others, Meersman reached his goal as he won the hot spot sprint at Jausiers (km 96). In the ascent to col de Vars, Wellens and De Marchi were the first riders on the move, prior to being rejoined and dropped by Meyer. De Marchi made it across and passed in first position atop the col de Vars with the peloton led by three Saxo-Tinkoff riders (Sergio Paulinho, Alberto Contador and Michael Rogers) and two riders in between: Warren Barguil (ARG) and Alejandro Valverde (MOV).
De Marchi resists to Team Sky's return
Contador crashed with no consequences in the downhill of col de Vars where five riders gathered at the front: De Marchi, Wellens, Meyer, Losada and Quinziato. Wellens losing contact on the wet asphalt, the leading quartet started climbing to Risoul with an advantage of 2.30 over Barguil and 3 minutes over the main peloton. But the young Belgian being much more at ease uphill than downhill, he rode away solo with 10.5km of climbing remaining. However, with 6km to go, Wellens was overtaken by De Marchi who went on to win the last stage of the Dauphiné. He benefited from two factors: Contador waited for Rogers who was in difficulty instead of trying to win the stage and Froome slowed down as Porte didn't manage to follow him. The Brit wanted to get a stage win for his Australian team-mate and they had to be content with the fantastic 1-2 on GC as De Marchi was strong enough t stay away and win in Risoul.