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dauphine13 (3)We made our first visit to the continent for a cycling stage race as we took in the Critérium du Dauphiné, in the majestic French Alps. We may have only seen 3 of the 8 stages but it gave us a flavour for what this event is all about. Our first stage was the Individual Time Trial which was won by the Time Trial World Champion Tony Martin (Omega Pharma – Quickstep) who beat the next fastest rider by 47 seconds over the 32km course. In 2nd place was Dennis Rohan (Garmin – Sharp) who took the yellow jersey with Chris Froome (Sky Procycling) 3rd. This proved to be just a taster though as the mountain finish saw the Sky Procycling team lay down the pace and control allowing Froome to take the stage win and the yellow jersey which he kept until the end of the race.

It was an important marker to lay down against his Tour de France rival Alberto Contador (Team Saxo – Tinkoff) who was 2nd on that stage and soundly beaten or matched on every stage by Froome. The pace was that impressive by Sky Procycling that Froome’s lieutenant Richie Porte took 2nd overall on the race juts under a minute back and over a minute ahead of 3rd place Daniel Moreno (Katusha Team). A wonderful introduction to stage racing and in a beautiful setting too.

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