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The annual trip to the Dauphiné and what looked like an unexciting route on first glance, proved to be a superb route which tested the main protagonists to the limit. With Chris Froome (Team Sky) looking for win number 4 on the Dauphiné, ahead of his attempt to win a 4th Tour de France, everyone was looking to him to see his form. Stage 4 gave an answer as he failed to win or even make the top 5 on the stage it was Richie Porte (BMC Racing Team) who took the stage win to climb to 2nd overall behind early leader Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal).

Stage 5 saw the riders take on the Mont du Chat, ahead of its key place in this years Tour de France, and de Gendt was dropped by the main GC contenders early on the brutal 10% average climb. The GC group played its usual cat and mouse with yellow jersey elect Porte marshaling his BMC Racing Team to control the attacks. Ultimately he had to go with the attack of Astana pairing Fabio Aru & Jakob Fuglsang, with Froome joining to make a formidable quartet. The descent saw the front group of 4 gain time on the rest of the field with Froome pulling off one of the passes of the season on Porte. Fuglsang won the sprint for the stage, which would prove crucial with the 10s time bonus.

Stage 7 saw the GC battle resumed on the climb up the Col de Sarenne and then after a 10km descent a shortened climb up the Alpe d’Huez. Peter Kennaugh (Team Sky) took the stage victory from Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates) but it was the attack of Porte in the final part of the stage which caught out Froome as extended his lead to over a minute.

The final stage and the climb to the Plateau du Solaison would see a dramatic final climb shake up the order. Porte was dropped on the previous descent and a chase group headed by Froome was gaining time as they approached the final climb with the Team Sky man close to the virtual lead. The climb took its toll on the GC contenders as the numbers dwindled and Porte started gaining on them by riding at his own pace and not panicking.

With just around 6kms to go Dan Martin (Quick-Step Floors) attacked, taking Fuglsang with him. The pair had broken the Froome group and with Porte eventually catching and passing most of the remnants of the group, so it was now Fuglsang versus Porte. Martin had been dropped so it was a time trial up the mountain and Fuglsang took the stage and 10 second time bonus. Martin came home 2nd which with the 6 second time bonus was enough for him to finish 3rd overall, beating Froome by just a single second. Porte gave it his all but he came up short and finished 10 seconds behind Fuglsang with the Dane hardly mentioned as a contender for the win pre-race.

It had been an enthralling race, one that will live long in the memory.

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