Comment: after the British love affair with the Dauphine continued, bring on the Tour

Chris Froome bags record-equalling third win and Steve Cummings and Adam Yates show good form ahead of the Tour de France

A double British success on the final stage of the Criterium du Dauphine continued the British love-in with the race as Chris Froome bagged a record-equalling third overall win.

Add Sir Bradley Wiggins’ back-to-back triumphs in 2011 and 2012 to Froome’s tally and a British rider has won five of the last six editions of the race, with Wiggins (2012) and Froome (2013 and 2015) going on to win the Tour de France afterwards.

Chris Froome has won three of the last four editions of the Tour de France (pic: Sirotti)

In those six editions, there have been nine British stage wins in all; three have worn the leader’s jersey; and there have been one British winner apiece of the points and youth classifications.

And the omens – and, more significantly, the form book – looks very good ahead of the Tour de France too with the Brits bang in form once again.

First and foremost is the impressive form of Chris Froome, who won his eagerly-awaited first duel with former Team Sky team-mate Richie Porte to win stage five.

The sight of the two of them riding away from Alberto Contador is not unfamiliar, but this time they did so as rivals and it’s Froome who holds the bragging rights ahead of the Tour.

The Dauphine has served as a useful form finder for the Tour de France in recent years, with Wiggins and Froome (twice) following Dauphine success with a Tour win and the signs are good again for the latter.

Alberto Contador simply could not rid himself of Froome and his Team Sky team-mates in the mountains and at each summit finish it was the Kenyan-born Brit with the small advantage.

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) recaptured some form on the Queen Stage and Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) finished well but it’s first blood to Froome who has peaked at the perfect time again.

And he also now joins Nello Lauredi, Luis Ocana, Bernard Hinault and Charly Mottet on three Dauphine wins – no other rider has more.

Chris Froome beat former team-mate Richie Porte to win stage five (pic: Sirotti)
  • British Dauphine stage winners 2011-2016

  • – Chris Froome (six)
  • – Sir Bradley Wiggins (one)
  • – Peter Kennaugh (one)
  • – Steve Cummings (one)

Adam Yates was also omni-present at the sharp end of the racing, and only missed out on the white jersey by six seconds from Julian Alaphilippe – the time the Frenchman accrued in bonus seconds on stage four.

It is Yates’ second Criterium du Dauphine top five, with twin brother Simon bagging one for himself in between and bodes well for the Tour de France.

After a slow start to the season, Yates has now finished fourth at the Tour de Yorkshire and seventh at the Dauphine in his last two races.

Next stop will be his second Tour de France and, after a pair of top-ten finishes in his debut race, the hope will be he can kick on and begin to target stage wins and a higher GC placing.

Of the young riders to finish ahead of Yates in the youth classification in 2015, only Warren Barguil and Bob Jungels are still eligible this year – a tilt at the white jersey is not beyond the Bury-born rider.

Orica-GreenEDGE have been guarded with their expectations of Adam and Simon Yates but there is every reason to be optimistic after another strong showing in one of the calendar’s toughest week-long stage races.

Adam Yates, right, looked in impressive form, only narrowly missing out on the white jersey (pic: Sirotti)
  • British Dauphine jersey winners since 2011

  • Yellow jersey: Bradley Wiggins (2011, 2012); Chris Froome (2013, 2015, 2016)
  • Green jersey: Chris Froome (2014)
  • White jersey: Simon Yates (2015)

Steve Cummings also proved his pre-Tour form with a third UCI WorldTour stage win of the season, adding to his previous victories at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour of the Basque Country.

To say Cummings has enjoyed a new lease of life since joining Dimension Data would be an understatement and his form is clearly there ahead of the Tour de France.

Since joining “Africa’s Team” in 2015, Cummings has now bagged five wins in all – including last year’s Tour de France stage win on Mandela Day.

Following that victory, and with his three WorldTour stage wins this season, the 35-year-old will definitely be one to watch in the breakaway at this year’s Tour de France.

Mark Cavendish should also be riding for Dimension Data, with the yellow jersey on stage one his big target – and Cummings likely to be an important domestique on that day.

But on the days when Cummings has the freedom to attack, you would expect the Liverpool-born rider to relish them – and a 50km, race-winning solo break is the perfect way to show your form.

Steve Cummings bagged his third WorldTour stage win of the season (pic: Sirotti)

Froome has preached caution ahead of the Tour de France, with plenty of work still to be done before the race starts but it’s hard not to be excited about the Brits.

“It is great timing to have a win under the belt,” he told “It does help build the morale a bit and build the team around me.

“There’s still a lot of work to do before July but all the right signs are there now. The guys heading for the Tour de France look as if they’re in great shape and things everything is heading in the right direction.”

Froome is cautiously optimistic about his Tour de France chances (pic: Sirotti)

Those sentiments could just as easily be applied to the other Brits showing their form ahead of the Tour de France – the Dauphine is a useful form finder for the Tour and with plenty of British success to celebrate this last week, here’s to more of the same in July!


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