Lieuwe Westra wins stage as general classification lead changes hands with one stage remaining
Lieuwe Westra (Astana) made up for his near miss yesterday to win the penultimate stage of the 2014 Criterium du Dauphine on Saturday.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) attacked the yellow jersey group with around two kilometres to go, and took 20 seconds out of Chris Froome (Sky) to take the yellow jersey.
What had been shaping out be an attritional stage exploded into life in the final few kilometres. At the head of the road, the Katusha pair of Egor Silan and stage four winner Yuri Trofimov looked as if they had the win in the bag, having found themselves alone together on the final climb after attacking the rest of the break of the day.
Westra, however, who had been gradually pacing himself back to the leaders, managed to sensationally make the catch with the finish line in sight, going straight passed the shell-shocked duo who could only look on as the Dutch rider crossed the line.
As this catch was being made, Contador was launching his move of the day, somewhat later than previously with just a few kilometres to go. It was enough to make a significant impact, however, as the Spaniard opened a gap over Froome, who opted to stay with teammate pace-setter Richie Porte for one kilometre.
Going under the flame rouge Froome went alone, but was unable to make inroads into his rival, and Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp) managed to catch and pass the yellow jersey at the finish.
Up until this attack, Sky had exercised an iron grip over proceedings, with Vasil Kiryienka, David Lopez, Geraint Thomas, Mikel Nieve and Porte all strangling the race on the final two climbs. When Contador attacked, only Porte, Froome, Talansky, Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Ryder Hesjedal (who had dropped back from the original break) remained in the peloton.
Wilco Kelderman was dropped just beforehand, slipping behind Talanksy in the GC to fourth overall, while Adam Yates moved down to 10th overall having been dropped a kilometre earlier.
Criterium du Dauphine 2014, stage seven: Ville-la-Grand to Finhaut-Emosson, 160km
1. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana in 4-32-51
2. Yuriy Trofimov (Rus) Katusha at 0-07
3. Egor Silin (Rus) Katusha at 0-16
4. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo at 1-33
5. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 1-51
6. Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp at 1-53
7. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky at st
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 2-11
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2-16
10. Sebastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling at 2-19
General classification after stage seven
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 27-46-51
2. Chris Froome (GBr) Sky at 0-08
3. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp at 0-39
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin at 0-59
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol at 1-14
6. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana at 1-16
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale at 2-11
8. Sebastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling at 2-14
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 2-50
10. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica-GreenEdge at 2-52