Criterium du Dauphine

Team Sky conquer Joux-Plane

Team go 1-2 in overall standings

Last updated: 9th June 2012

Team Sky unleashed a superb show of strength on the queen stage at the Criterium du Dauphine to retain the yellow jersey for Bradley Wiggins.

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Stage six always looked likely to be decisive but Team Sky took up the mantle in the early going, keeping tabs on the day's breakaway before putting on a climbing clinic on the infamous Col de Joux-Plane.

Edvald Boasson Hagen put in a superb turn on the front on the slower slopes to dramatically reduce the peloton before Richie Porte settled into a searing tempo en route to the summit.

Only 10 riders remained over the top, with four Team Sky men present as leader Wiggins was flanked by Porte, Chris Froome and Michael Rogers.

Following a rapid descent down into Morzine Wiggins, who finished fourth on the day, extended his lead at the top of standings to one minute and 20 seconds, but it was Rogers who leaped up to second in the standings.

Froome was another man to benefit on the day to move into fourth, placing three riders in the top five overall. In turn the squad extended their grip on the team's classification to 8:56.

Queen stage

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) claimed victory on the day after attacking over the top of the Joux-Plane and ensuring a slender advantage stuck on the run into Morzine.

Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) attacked over the summit but, despite being overhauled, was able to chip clear to take second, 16 seconds behind the victorious Colombian and eight seconds ahead of an elite chasing pack.

The stage had looked a daunting prospect with six categorised climbs stretching out over 167.5-kilometres, the peloton met immediately by the first category Col de Plainpalais.

After warming up prior to the start Team Sky began on the front foot, tapping out a tempo with Danny Pate, Christian Knees and Kanstantsin Siutsou for kilometre after kilometre.

Up ahead a sizeable group of 19 riders went clear, stretching out their advantage during the day before the riders hit the first category Col de la Colombière.

Brice Feillu (Saur-Sojasun) took it upon himself to attack his breakaway counterparts on the penultimate climb, powering clear ahead of the infamous Joux-Plane, while in the peloton Lotto-Belisol and BMC Racing moved forward to position their team-leaders.

Show of strength

After the stage Wiggins commented: "That was the hardest stage on paper. It was nice to go up the Joux-Plane with such a small group and to still have three team-mates there with me was nice.

"It’s been an ideal situation for us all day today. With the way the break formed, we kept it within three or four minutes and then the guys did their job on the Joux-Plane. It was perfect.

"We’re trying to do a job and we’re doing it as efficiently and professionally as possible. It’s never about sending messages. We've trained for this as a team and each individual has worked just as hard as I have. We’re getting the job done and racing to our strengths. We’re just going one day at a time and everybody’s building towards July."

As the peloton hit the hors categorie climb Siutsou moved to the fore to grab control before stage three winner Boasson Hagen set about dismantling the peloton.

One by one the escapees were hauled back, with Feillu the final man to be caught with 14km to go after a gutsy ride, Porte leading a depleted group towards the summit while Quintana forged on ahead.

The intense pace proved too much for a number of top contenders, with first Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and then second-placed Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) dropping back on the rough ramps. The stage was also one step too far for Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan), the climber abandoning the race through injury.

The eight-day race comes to a head with a 124.5km test from Morzine to Chatel on Sunday with another five categorised climbs to negotiate.

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