Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) claimed the final stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné while Chris Froome (Sky) sealed overall victory and delivered another message to his rivals for next month’s Tour de France.
De Marchi was the last survivor of the day’s early break and he withstood heavy rain and a determined pursuit from Sky’s Froome and Richie Porte on the tough final climb to Risoul to take a well-earned victory.
He had been involved in a ding-dong battle with fellow escapee Tim Wellens (Lotto Belisol) on the final climb, and finally caught and passed the Belgian with 5km to go. At that point, De Marchi had almost two minutes in hand on the yellow jersey group and looked odds on to win the stage, but he endured a late scare when Froome accelerated clear of the general classification contenders in the final two kilometres with Richie Porte on his wheel. Ultimately, however, the Italian hung on to win by 24 seconds and claim the first victory of his professional career.
“This victory rewards me for all the unsuccessful breakaways I’ve made since I turned professional,” De Marchi said afterwards. “It was the dream of my life to achieve something like this and I’m delighted it happened at such a big race. I’ve tried so many times and I can only be happy with this.