Fuglsang beats Porte to Dauphine title

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    Jakob Fuglsang stunned the pre-race favourites to win the Criterium du Dauphine, leapfrogging Australia’s Richie Porte on a thrilling final stage as Tour de France champion Chris Froome appeared short of form.

    Astana rider Fuglsang, 32, attacked on the final climb to the Plateau de Solaison (11.3km at 9.2 per cent) and held off Porte to win the 115 kilometre stage from Albertville and beat the Australian by 10 seconds in the overall classification.

    “It’s amazing. I don’t know what to say,” Fuglsang said.

    “Even with the jersey I can’t believe it, I’ve been close to the yellow jersey many times in my career.

    “We tried to keep our positions on the general classification and it came down to a big big fight for the overall victory. We planned it very well with Fabio attacking (with Alejandro Valverde in the col de la Colombiere) and everything went in our favour. ”

    Fuglsang dropped Ireland’s Dan Martin (Quick Step Floors) on the last climb and never looked back.

    Porte, who had lost ground on the penultimate ascent, clawed his way back, but he came up just short, leaving Fuglsang to celebrate his biggest victory.

    The result left Porte hurting but he said his overall performance left him confident he could do well at the Tour de France.

    “I think I showed in the final that I was fine. It is a little disappointing to lose the Dauphine on such a small gap but the credit goes to Jakob Fuglsang,” Porte said.

    “Obviously, there were a few guys who preferred to lose and lose their place on the podium at the same time.

    “I found myself without a crew, isolated. It was a little against me.

    “I leave this week with confidence. I know my form is there. Of course, I would have liked to conclude today, but it is a good omen for the Tour de France.”

    Froome, who was the defending champion finished fourth overall, 1:33 off the pace and one second behind Martin.

    Last year’s Tour runner-up Romain Bardet of France ended up sixth, showing good form on the climbs after a disappointing time trial earlier this week.

    Spain’s Alberto Contador, a twice Tour champion, cracked on the final ascent and finished 11th overall.

    The Tour de France starts on July 1 from Dusseldorf, Germany.

    © AAP 2017

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