The Criterium du Dauphine
Category: France > Summer In The Alps | 08th Jun, 2016
The Critérium du Dauphiné was hosted by Les Gets yesterday. The world's greatest road cyclists congregated in the centre of town before heading off, one after another at a minute's interval, on a purpose laid road that ran to the top of the Mont Chéry télécabine.
The 4km course was the opener to the Dauphiné, a race won by both Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins before their Tour de France successes of recent years. Froome was in action again yesterday. Having won this Critérium in 2013 and 2015 he would have been eager to do well and set himself up for the next seven days of racing.
I arrived in Les Gets just in time to see him depart, unlike the disgruntled TV companies - he was expected to leave with the other top seeds at the end but had apparently insisted on riding half way through the list of riders, presumably to avoid the rain that was forecast later in the afternoon.
He set an impressive time on a course that at times reached a gradient of 20%. Friends who had ridden it the previous day said that although not that long there was nothing as steep locally. One hairpin was particularly brutal and this is where I watched most of the rest of the action from, along with a decent sized crowd all enjoying watching these superfit men struggle for every turn of the pedal. I'm looking forward to having a crack at it myself this week.
Froome held onto the lead until the very end when first Richie Porte and then Alberto Contador bettered his time. Contador was the eventual winner with a time of 11min 36 sec, 13 seconds faster than Froome.
We look forward to welcoming them back on July 23rd when they arrive in Morzine at the end of the 20th and penultimate étape of the Tour de France.
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