Critérium du Dauphiné: Froome takes overall De Marchi holds him off for final stage
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Sunday, June 9, 2013

Critérium du Dauphiné: Froome takes overall De Marchi holds him off for final stage

by Ben Atkins at 9:32 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Critérium du Dauphiné
Team Sky’s late acceleration pushes Michael Rogers off the podium

alessandro de marchi

Chris Froome (Team Sky) made the 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné well and truly his own with a late acceleration on the final climb of the final stage, between Sisteron and Risoul, to get rid of his nearest rivals. The 28-year-old Kenyan-born Briton was just unable to catch lone breakaway Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), who held on to take his first ever professional victory, but Sky’s aggression on the final climb put former teammate Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff) into trouble. The Australian was pushed off the final race podium as Team Sky laid down the challenge to Saxo-Tinkoff in advance of the Tour de France.

"This victory rewards me for all the unsuccessful breakaways I’ve conducted since I turned Professional,” saidDe Marchi afterwards. “It was the dream of my life to achieve something like this and I’m delighted it happened at such a big race. I’ve tried so many times that I can only be happy with this. The Dauphiné was an important step in my lead up to the Tour de France. I had to know if I had the condition for July. I’m sure it’ll be emotional to ride the world’s biggest race. I know it’ll be hard but I’m lucky to be working for great leaders.

De Marchi was the sole survivor of a 24-man breakaway that had escaped in the early kilometres of the 155.5km mountain stage, which was ridden under conditions reminiscent of the previous month’s Giro d’Italia. Heavy rain throughout the day saw several riders abandon the race, as De Marchi escaped the break with Travis Meyer (Orica-GreenEdge) and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Belisol) on the 1st category Col de Vars, and they were joined by Alberto Losada (Katusha) on the descent that followed.

“I’ve stepped up to World Tour level,” explained De Marchi, who joined Cannondale Pro Cycling in 2013 from ProConti Androni Giocattoli. “But I wasn’t sure if I had the legs for winning today. In the second last climb, I’ve decided to wait and see what could be done later on. When the Lotto rider [Tim Wellens] attacked in the last climb, I preferred to wait a bit that he’d get some advantage, so I could pass him strongly. Once I was alone in the lead, I gave everything I had but I was afraid of the return of Team Sky and the peloton.”

With Team Sky leading the shrinking peloton behind the four leaders, they led by more than two minutes over the top of the climb with 36km to go and, after a wet descent, the lead had gone up to 2’35”. Wellens was the first of the trio to attack, but the young Belgian was reeled and left behind by De Marchi with five kilometres to go.

Meanwhile, in the yellow jersey group behind the leaders, Team Sky was lifting the pace, which eventually saw Rogers dropped. Saxo-Tinkoff teammate Alberto Contador went back to pace the rider that would be expected to return the compliment at the Tour de France three weeks later, but - as Richie Porte, and then Froome himself accelerated further - the Australian saw his podium position disappear up the road.

Froome pulled Porte clear of the rest of the overall contenders and were gaining on De Marchi, but the Italian had enough of his lead left to hold on to take the stage. Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) managed to chase down the Team Sky duo in the finishing straight, which saw Froome sprint away from his teammate to take second place.

The stage result saw Froome further increase his overall lead, and confirm his victory in the 2013 Critérium du Dauphiné. Losing just seven seconds to his team leader, Porte finished the race in second place, 58 seconds behind, while Dani Moreno (Katusha) overtook Rogers to take the final place on the podium.

The minor jerseys are decided up the road as the fight for the big one awaits

The 24-man breakaway group escaped the peloton almost immediately, as the race began under the heavy rain that was to fall all day. As it began to build its lead several riders decided to abandon the race, including French Tour hope Pierre Rolland (Europcar) who was suffering from a minor Achilles problem.

With De Marchi, Meyer, Wellens and Losada were De Marchi’s Cannondale teammate José Sarmiento, Francesco Gavazzi and Andriy Grivko (Astana), Yannick Eijssen and Manuel Quinziato (BMC Racing), Juan Manuel Garate and Marc Goos (Blanco), Markel Irizar (RadioShack-Leopard), Rudy Molard (Cofidis), Mikel Astarloza and Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Anthony Geslin (FDJ), Perrig Quéméneur (Europcar), Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Jonathan Castroviejo and Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM), William Clarke and Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano) and Sébastien Duret (Bretagne-Séché).

As mountains jersey Damuseau led over the 3rd category Côte de la Bréole, after 52.5km - guaranteeing him victory in the classification - the peloton was 3’25” behind. Meersman then took the intermediate sprint, in Jausiers after 96km, which also guaranteed the Belgian the overall points classification provided that Froome didn’t take the stage victory.

As the Col de Vars began shortly afterwards, Wellens and De Marchi left the rest behind, only for Meyer to join them and then ride on alone.

Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) then attacked from the peloton but, with Saxo-Tinkoff still leading the peloton, they were unable to get more than a few seconds clear.

With 38km to go De Marchi managed to rejoin Meyer, while Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) joined up with the Valverde group, which now also contained Sarmiento who was drifting backwards. Barguil escaped the others, but all were swallowed up by the peloton before they reached the top, two minutes behind the leading group.

Wellens also got back up to the leaders shortly after De Marchi led Meyer over the top of the climb with 36km to go, with Losada also able to rejoin after a fast descent. As the peloton followed the leaders down towards the foot of the final climb Contador crashed, but was able to remount quickly and rejoin the yellow jersey group.

As the final 1st category climb to Risoul began, with 13.9km to go, Wellens attacked the leading group and began to pull away. Team Sky was now leading the chase behind the break, but was still 2’35” behind the Belgian with nine kilometres left.

With six kilometres to go Wellens was 35 seconds clear of his former companions, but the young Belgian - who had been in several mountain breakaways already in the race - was tiring, and De Marchi caught and passed him a kilometre later.

De Marchi heads for stage glory as Team Sky lays down the Tour de France challenge

Team Sky meanwhile, was ramping up the pace at the head of the yellow jersey group, forcing Rogers to lose contact; Contador dropped back to help his teammate - who would be expected to reverse the roles in the upcoming Tour de France - but Geraint Thomas was now leading Porte and Froome to stop the two Saxo-Tinkoff riders from getting back up.

With 2.5km to go De Marchi’s lead was down to 1’13”, with Rogers and Contador 22 seconds behind the yellow jersey group.

Porte then took over as the group passed Meyer and, as Froome himself came to the front, he pulled his Australian teammate past Wellens. The two Team Sky riders quickly left the rest of the group behind, and began to rapidly close the gap to De Marchi.

As Froomed towed Porte into the final kilometre they were within 30 seconds of the lone Italian in front, and De Marchi was beginning to slow as he got out of the saddle to try to maintain some of his momentum.

Porte was having trouble staying with his teammate, as Froome too was getting out of the saddle, but the two Sky riders were unable to close the final seconds to De Marchi. Crossing himself as he arrived at the finish the Cannondale rider sat up to take his first ever professional victory.

Talansky had managed to chase down Froome and Porte as they entered the finishing straight, so Froome jumped away to outsprint the American for second place 24 seconds behind the stage winner, with Porte following another seven seconds later.

Result stage 8
1. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
2. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky @ 24s
3. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky @ 31s
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Astana @ 38s
6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team @ 49s
7. Joaquim Rodríguez (Spa) Katusha Team
8. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha Team
9. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis @ 55s
10. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp @ 1’00”

Final overall standings
1. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky
2. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky @ 58s
3. Daniel Moreno (Spa) Katusha Team @ 2’12”
4. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Astana @ 2’18”
5. Daniel Navarro (Spa) Cofidis @ 2’20”
6. Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 3’08”
7. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team @ 3’12”
8. Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp @ 3’24”
9. Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi @ 4’25”
10. Alberto Contador (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff @ 4’27”


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