Posted: Thursday 12th June 2014 at 17:12 pm

Chris Froome praises team-mates after retaining Dauphine lead


Reigning Criterium and Tour de France champion Froome finished within the peloton at the end of the 189.5-kilometre ride from Sisteron to La Mure – a stage won by Katusha’s Simon Spilak.

The 29-year-old leads the general classification standings by 12 seconds ahead of Friday’s sixth stage.

Froome’s advantage had looked to be under threat when second-placed Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) attempted to stay with a nine-man group that broke away after 44kms.

However, the Spaniard was unsuccessful in his quest, and has now been joined by Belkin’s Wilco Kelderman in second after the Dutchman finished the stage as runner-up to Spilak.

And Froome was quick to praise his team-mates for helping him remain at the head of the field.

“Sometimes, days don’t look so hard on paper and turn out to being very hard,” he said.

“That’s what happened today when Contador went up the road and put us under pressure. But I asked my team-mates to stay calm.

“They have done such a massive job today. All of them did well and Richie Porte stepped up really well today.

“Personally I’m feeling pretty good on the bike. I’m tired after the race but everyone is today. We also had to chase Kelderman at the end because anyone up there on GC is a rival to us.

“But it’s going to be another race on Saturday (in stage seven) in the big mountains.”

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