Chris Froome sprinted to third after lighting up a thrilling sixth stage at the Criterium du Dauphine as the race hit the mountains for the first time.
Froome was just edged out in a sprint to the line by Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) and new race leader Richie Porte (BMC), but after pushing the pace over the top of the final climb and on the subsequent descent, the 32 year old now sits second, 39 seconds back on Porte.
“I’d be lying if I said I was happy with third in the sprint there, I was hoping to get the stage win, but I was probably a bit eager in the last kilometre, doing a bit too much work to catch Jakob Fuglsang, and then I started the sprint a little bit too far out”, said Froome.
“But all in all I’m happy with how that went. It could have gone a lot worse! I was up front and the legs were pretty good. I’m happy to be up there with Richie at the moment, who’s in amazing form.”
Froome’s fearless descending was a sight to behold and he clearly seemed to enjoy himself: “I haven’t done that descent before, I haven’t really seen it, and there’s been so much made of that descent, about how dangerous it is, so when I went for it I thought, ‘This could go one of two ways here’.
“But to be honest it was quite good fun, like playing a computer game. It was fun.”
“On the mid slopes I was conscious of how far was still to go and I knew I still needed to put in a big effort near the top when the big guys went, so I took things a little bit more at my own rhythm and kept something in reserve.
“I think I’ve still got quite a bit of work to do but things are certainly heading in the right direction. Today’s climb, hopefully, will show that I’m at least on track for July.”