Critérium du Dauphiné (st. 2)
7th place for Movistar Team climber at Col du Béal, Dauphiné’s first mountain-top finish, after missing final selection by few meters. Froome (SKY) strengthens GC lead with 2nd stage win
Far from the top in Lyon’s opening TT, his weakest point, Igor Antón bounced back on Monday during stage two of the Critérium du Dauphiné, profiting from his climbing strength in a restless 156km from Tarare to the Col du Béal (HC). The five ascents prior to the final one, plus the furious pace by Sky and the attacks by race leader and eventual stage winner Chris Froome, caused big selection into the group as the Basque rider from the Movistar Team responded with a notable performance.
Well protected by the telephone squad till the foot of the climb, with Visconti, Gutiérrez, Sanz and Erviti, Antón received the baton from Intxausti -close to a top-ten finish in the ITT- as the Blues’ contender for the day. The Galdakao-based rider got close to making the final selection as Froome jumped away with 5km from the summit: unable to follow the Kenyan-born Briton and Contador (TCS), and few meters behind the pursuit group -including Kelderman (BEL), Van den Broeck (LTB), Talansky (GRS) and Nibali (AST)-, Antón didn’t surrender and kept his pace high, solo, to reach the finish in 7th place, 40″ down.
With two mountain-top finishes still to come in the next weekend (Emousson, on Sunday, and Courchevel, a day later), the Dauphiné will leave the biggest mountains and offer a chance for the sprinters at Le Teil tomorrow (194km), though lots of small climbs before the final, flat 40k will also make for adventures.