Who won the Dauphiné? Contador or Froome?
Er, it was Andrew Talanksy, actually.
How the hell did that happen?
It was down to an unusually sizeable break. 23 riders got away from the peloton early on, including several riders who were within a minute or so of the race lead. Talansky was among them – which was surprising being as he was only 30-odd seconds down. He and a few others managed to stay away until the end. Sky’s Mikel Nieve won the stage, while Talansky finished 1m06s ahead of Contador to take the overall.
One of the main reasons why they managed this was because Froome and Contador were busy knocking lumps out of each other behind. The pair seem to have become a little Captain Ahab-ish in their obsession with one another and perhaps that’s counterproductive. Maybe keep an eye on some of the others, eh? Maybe watch Andrew Talansky, say.
First Froome attacked. He didn’t get away from Contador, but he did succeed in making the group he was riding in far smaller than the one he should have been chasing. A little later, Contador attacked and, finally realising the danger, tried to chase everyone down on his own. Froome didn’t follow, perhaps thinking he had team-mates he could use. Or, more likely, he was just knackered, because those team-mates shepherded him to the finish almost four minutes down on Contador and five minutes behind Nieve. The ‘letting someone attack before slowly reeling them again’ approach only really works when you also do the second part.
Contador actually did a very good job of chasing everyone on his tod. However, when you’re one rider chasing several and you’ve given your quarry a few minutes head start, you’re racing against physics as much as you’re racing people. It was a tall order. You could argue that the mistake he made was letting the break go in the first place, but he was devoid of team-mates for most of the day and so would probably have had to do that himself as well.
Jurgen Van Den Broeck came third, by the way. As ever, no-one noticed.
Still not the Tour de France. Not quite. The Tour de Suisse is already underway and has attracted a few Tour de France outsiders plus Bradley Wiggins. A hilly time trial on the opening day saw Tony Martin go into the lead. Wiggins is 32 seconds back in 14th place, so perhaps his form isn’t as strong as the Tour of California win suggested. Or maybe he’s in a strop so deep it has infected his thighs.