Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 7: De La Cruz Fights for 14th on Le Bettex
Etixx - Quick-Step rider David De La Cruz was part of an original large breakaway, and despite being unable to maintain contaxt in the later kilometers, he still finished 14th as the peloton was completely decimated by the high mountaisn of 155km Critérium du Dauphiné Stage 7 on Saturday.
Chris Froome (Team Sky) won solo as he and Tejay van Garderen rode away from their GC competitors on the summit finale of the queen stage, Category 1 Le Bettex (7km, 7.7%). Froome attacked van Garderen with 1.4km to go and crossed 17" ahead of van Garderen. Louis Meintjes (MTN - Qhubeka) finished 3rd, 41" down.
Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) went into the stage as race leader, but finished several minutes down on Froome and van Garderen, as well as other GC contenders. As a result, van Garderen takes back the race lead by 18" over Froome, and 45" over Benat Intxausti (Movistar).
De La Cruz was caught by the Froome group, but managed to stay with riders like Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) and Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Garmin) in the final tough kilometers before finishing in the top 15 of the stage.
Pieter Serry was one of 14 riders who attacked just four kilometers into the stage. By kilometer 34 De La Cruz was part of a chase group, and 26 riders eventually joined at the ahead of the race. De La Cruz was the virtual leader at one point due to the gap. Riders dropped from the group with each passing kilometer. Eventually Daniel Navarro (Cofidis) and Riccardo Zoidl (Trek Factory Racing) rode away from their break mates,but it would be riders from the select group formed by Team Sky and Froome that would decide the stage.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to Stage 8, which closes Critérium du Dauphiné on a high mountain profile. There are six categorized climbs. Lacets de Montvernier (3.4km at 8.2%), which peaks at the 108km point of the race, is known for an abundance of hairpins. There is also the summit finale of Modane Valfréjus (8.4km, 5.7% average gradient).