Criterium du Dauphine: Chris Froome retains lead as Yuri Trofimov wins stage four in Gap

Last Updated: 11/06/14 3:09pm

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Yuri Trofimov launched his stage-winning attack on the final climb of the day

Yuri Trofimov launched his stage-winning attack on the final climb of the day

Sky Bet

Chris Froome retained his lead of the Criterium du Dauphine as Russia’s Yuri Trofimov escaped to an impressive solo victory on stage four in Gap.

Trofimov formed part of the day’s 13-man breakaway but forged clear on his own on the final climb and then hung on down the descent to the finish to win by 23 seconds from runner-up Gustav Larsson and 25 seconds from third-placed Pim Ligthart.

Team Sky rider Froome followed 2min 10sec later in the peloton alongside his general classification rivals to consolidate his 12-second lead over Alberto Contador overall.

Froome said: “I’m really happy. We were relaxed coming into the stage and it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if Ag2r-La Mondiale had taken the jersey from the break with Maxime Bouet in it, but in the end the race was so fast that we were able to keep it.

“We didn’t want to take any risks on that last descent and we always had the situation under control.”

Final climb decisive

The 169.5km fourth stage appeared suited to a breakaway winner and a strong escape group consequently moved clear of the peloton early in the day.

They held a gap of just under three minutes leading on to the potentially decisive climb of the category-two Col de Manse, and Katusha rider Trofimov then opened up a gap of his own with an attack 6km from the summit and 18km from the finish line.

He took a 33-second lead over his fellow escapees over the top of the climb and then produced a superb display of descending skills to guarantee his first win since April 2009.

Back in the peloton, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp), Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) broke clear on the climb and were able to take time back on Froome at the finish, but the top ten overall stayed together on the dangerous descent as they opted against risking an attack.

Trofimov, 30, who also won a stage of the Dauphine in 2008, said: “I can't believe I won. I knew this climb since the Tour de France last year. I was already in the breakaway. In the beginning of the stage, I saved my legs for the end, then I rode flat out in the climb. I gave the maximum. Now I would like to a stage at the Tour de France as well.”

Stage four result

1 Yuri Trofimov (Rus) Katusha, 3:59:22
2 Gustav Larsson (Swe) IAM Cycling, +23secs
3 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Belisol, +25
4 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin, +28
5 Peter Velits (Svk) BMC, st
6 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, st
7 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step, st
8 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale, st
9 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana, +1:31
10 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp, st

General classification

1 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 14:09:19
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo, +12secs
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin, +21
4 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp, +33
5 Jurgen van den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol, +35
6 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +50
7 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, +1:01
8 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Trek Factory Racing, +1:22
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, same time
10 Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEdge, +1:31 

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