Talansky takes Criterium title

American Andrew Talansky beat Alberto Contador to the Criterium du Dauphine title as Tour de France champion Chris Froome ended in 12th place.

Andrew Talansky, pictured, claimed the Criterium du Dauphine title (AP)
Andrew Talansky, pictured, claimed the Criterium du Dauphine title (AP)

Spaniard Contador, riding for Tinkoff-Saxo, had gone into Sunday's final 131.5 kilometres stage from Megeve to Courchevel with an eight-second lead over the Team Sky racer, and some 39 seconds ahead of Talansky.

However, it was the Garmin-Sharp rider who would claim the final yellow jersey after keeping in with the leading pack despite the best efforts of Contador to reel them in.

After Sylvain Chavanel (IAM) had led a breakaway, Team Sky looked to get Froome, who had crashed on Friday, back into contention on the ascent to Col des Saisies with 47km left, which Contador also joined on his own.

French duo Tony Gallopin and Thomas Voeckler then went clear into before Vincenzo Nibali was also let go into the final 25km.

Contador then decided to chase down on his own, but while Froome was not able to respond, Talansky remained ahead with the leading pack.

Inside the final 3.5km, Team Sky's Mikel Nieve attacked the front ahead of Romain Bardet and that was enough to go on to win stage eight.

But crucially Talansky had done enough to hold off Contador's drive to claim overall victory.

"I didn't plan to do anything like this, especially today as it was the last chance for many teams to go and try to win a stage," the American said.

"Towards the end, we had the time gaps, but I was trying not to think of winning the race, instead I focused only on my ride.

"Once I past the finishing line and I looked at the TV screen, that is when I realised I won.

"It is an absolute honour to win the Dauphine, this is the biggest victory of my career so far and I hope there is more to come."

Although Contador could not claw back the 27 seconds from Talansky, the Tinkoff-Saxo racer maintained it was a positive display.

"This is by no means a disappointment. On the other hand, I am very happy with my ride today," he said.

"I felt strong. I knew it would be difficult to keep the lead, but what I have achieved today is more than a victory.

"After this week of racing at such a high level, I will go for a nice pizza tonight and take a good rest prior to one last training camp in the mountains.

"I believe I will show up in my best shape at the start of the Tour de France on July 5."

Belgian Jurgen van den Broeck, of Lotto-Belisol, was third, 35 seconds behind.

Froome, winner of the Dauphine last year ahead of his success in the Tour de France, came home four minutes and 25 seconds off the pace, having lead the race for five days.

Team Sky colleague Nieve said: "We were hoping to help Chris Froome, but he hadn't fully recovered from his crash.

"He suffered, so I took my opportunity to win a stage and that makes me happy."

Orica Greenedge rider Adam Yates was the leading Briton, finishing in sixth.

While of little consolation, Froome collected the green jersey for overall points, one ahead of Contador.