Chris Froome retains Dauphine race lead for Team Sky

Chris Froome
Chris Froome

Britain's Chris Froome retained his overall lead at the Criterium du Dauphine as France's Thomas Voeckler won a sprint finish on stage six.

Froome came home safely in the peloton alongside Team Sky team-mate Richie Porte to maintain his 52-second lead.

"Everyone seems to be getting stronger and stronger each day," said Froome. "The fact that we're in yellow now gives everyone motivation."

Voeckler won a four-man sprint at the end of the 143km (89 miles) stage.

The Europcar rider led an eight-man breakaway on the first major climb of the day and then as the octet were whittled down to a quartet, Voeckler rode away from Movistar's Jose Herrada and Astana pair Kevin Seeldraeyers and Egor Salin to claim the win in Grenoble.

Team Sky's Edvald Boasson Hagen won the sprint for fifth place as the peloton crossed the line 46 seconds behind Voeckler.

Spain's Alberto Contador, who was expected to be Froome's main challenger, also finished in the peloton but is 13th overall, two minutes and 49 seconds off the pace following his disappointing time trial on stage four.

With the Tour de France starting on 29 June, Froome is pleased with the form being shown by his Team Sky colleagues with two stages of the Dauphine remaining.

"It's really encouraging to see," he told the Team Sky website.

"There were a few guys I think who came into the Dauphine not sure where their form was and a bit apprehensive in that regard.

"This was supposed to be one of the easier days but it turned out to be one of the hardest stages we've done in the Dauphine so far."

Saturday's penultimate stage is the race's queen stage and features five categorised climbs, including an ascent of Alpe d'Huez.

Stage six result:

1. Thomas Voeckler (France, Europcar) 3;24:13

2. Jose Herrada (Spain / Movistar) same time

3. Kevin Seeldraeyers (Belgium/ Astara) same time

4. Egor Silin (Russia/ Astara) same time

5. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Norway/ Team Sky) +46"

Overall standings:

1. Chris Froome (Britain / Team Sky) 19:33:43

2. Richie Porte (Australia / Team Sky) +52"

3. Rohan Dennis (Australia / Garmin) +54"

4. Michael Rogers (Australia / Saxo - Tinkoff) +1:37"

5. Daniel Moreno (Spain / Katusha) +1:47"

6. Daniel Navarro (Spain / Cofidis) +1:49"

7. Rein Taaramaee (Estonia / Cofidis) +1:52"

8. Michal Kwiatkowski (Poland / Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) +1:58"

9. Leopold Koenig (Czech Republic / NetApp) +2:16"

10. Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark / Astana) +2:20"

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