Froome Wins Stage 1 ITT at Dauphine Libere
Chris Froome (Sky) has picked up where he left off at last year’s Dauphine Libere. The defending champion dominated Stage 1, a flat, 10.4-km time trial in Lyon, winning it in 13:14. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo Bank) finished second at 0:08, and Bob Jungels (Trek) took third at 0:09.
Jungels was an early starter. The Luxembourger is 21 years old and is a former junior time trial champion. The time that he posted held until Contador and Froome rode the course. Other GC contenders posted good times, but they could not better Jungels’s. Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) finished fourth at 0:11, and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) took eighth at 0:13. Tejay van Garderen (BMC) finished ninth in the same time as Nibali. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) was 17th at 0:15, Michal Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) 19th at 0:16, and Leopold Konig (NetApp-Endura) 21st at 0:17.
And then there was Froome. The Briton was 0:02 slower than Nibali and 0:01 faster than Contador at the 4.6-km time check, but the Sky man then went into afterburner. He left the Italian, the Spaniard, and the rest of the field in his dust to take the win.
Froome is riding the Dauphine Libere to win, but he did not really plan to win the time trial. “I don’t think it was necessarily the objective to take the yellow jersey today on such a short, flat time trial, but I couldn’t be happier with the result,” the Sky man said. “I’m here to win the race and we’re going to do everything we can. Obviously, it’s the most important to try and have the yellow jersey at the end of the race, not necessarily right now.”
In the overall, Froome leads Contador by 0:08 and Jungels by 0:09. Stage 2 will be an early challenge for the GC contenders. The 156-km ride from Tarare to Pays d’Olliergues-Col du Beal will feature six categorized climbs and will end with an hors categorie ascent to the finish. Will Froome extend his lead? Will Contador, Nibali, or another hopeful snatch the lead from him? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!