RBA/AFP – Welsh rider Geraint Thomas supplied Team Sky with their sixth Criterium du Dauphine success in the past eight years on Sunday. Thomas held off Briton Adam Yates, winner of the concluding seventh stage, with France’s Romain Bardet taking third in the overall standings.
The 32-year-old Thomas was registering his first win in the Criterium. He was following in the footsteps of Sky’s Bradley Wiggins, who won the race twice, and three-time Sky winner Chris Froome. He took the honours by 1min from Yates with Bardet 1min 47sec back in this tune-up for the Tour de France which gets under way on July 7.
Yates, with the Mitchelton-Scott team, pulled clear of Spanish rider Dani Navarro 50m from the line at the finish to the 136km closing day’s ride to the ski resort of Le Bettex. As for Thomas, his final day was blighted by two punctures. After catching up with the main leaders with 30km remaining, he crossed the line a handful of seconds off the pace without ever being in danger of losing possession of the yellow jersey.
Thomas would normally expect to be a domestique for four-time champion Froome at the Tour but victory at the Criterium against potential Tour contenders, coupled with the uncertainty surrounding Froome’s adverse analytical finding from a drug test last year, means the Welshman could yet be riding for his own glory next month.
1. Adam Yates (GBR/Mitchelton) 3hr 51min 34sec
2. Dani Navarro (ESP/COF) at 04sec
3. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 09
4. Emanuel Buchmann (GER/BOR) 14
5. Geraint Thomas (GBR/SKY) 19
6. Dan Martin (IRL/EAU) 24
7. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) 24
8. Guillaume Martin (FRA/WGG) 28
9. Pierre Latour (FRA/ALM) 35
10. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EFD) 41
1. Geraint Thomas (GBR/Sky) 24hr 43min 12sec
2. Adam Yates (GBR/MIT) at 1:00
3. Romain Bardet (FRA/ALM) 1:47
4. Daniel Martin (IRL/EAU) 2:35
5. Damiano Caruso (ITA/BMC) 2:44
6. Emanuel Buchmann (GER/BOR) 3:05
7. Pierre Latour (FRA/ALM) 4:05
8. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EFD) 4:22
9. Daniel Navarro (ESP/COF) 4:31
10. Ilnur Zakarin (RUS/KAT) 4:45