Rounding up The Dolphin
Chris Froome won the Criterium du Dolphin. He won it on stage five. Team-mate Mikel Landa attacked on the final climb and Froome followed as his rivals chased the Spaniard down. The moment they caught him, whoosh, Froome was off. Richie Porte was the only one able to follow and the Tasmanian had nothing left at the line.
I’d said that Alberto Contador‘s performance in the opening cronoscalata had been an ominous sign of form, but he seemed to fade a bit as the week went on. Perhaps he’d done hard training beforehand while others had been fresh. Who knows? After losing time on stage five, he did what he always does to try and recover ground, which is to attack long before the finish. Nothing stuck and his efforts left him losing more time on summit finishes.
Speaking of which, Dan Martin rode well and finished well. He looked rather like the new Joaquim Rodriguez as he hung with the best in the mountains before outsprinting them at the line. He’s been training on longer climbs and it shows. He came third overall.
Romain Bardet came second after a feisty time-gaining break with Thibaut Pinot on stage six. Porte was fourth and Contador fifth.
Despite winning a stage, Fabio Aru looked pretty damn awful. It’s one thing to be off the pace, but Aru hasn’t raced well all year. Now, with the Tour de France looming into view, he was not just inferior to his rivals – several of his team-mates looked stronger too. It was faintly embarrassing. Vincenzo Nibali, who is pencilled in to support him during the Tour, will be plotting a coup as we speak. The two team-mates and countrymen will apparently be doing their upcoming altitude training at entirely different locations.
Steve Cummings won the final stage. I mention this largely because I love Steve Cummings. To help ensure his team-mate Daniel Teklahaimanot would win the mountains jersey, Cummings attacked with 50km to go. His aim was to hoover up the remaining mountain points to keep them from everyone else, but then he just carried on going. At one point the peloton was actively chasing him and he was actually getting further away. They never caught him. Steve Cummings.