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Froome fifth as Criterium gets underway

ESPN staff
June 2, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Chris Froome made a steady start at the Criterium du Dauphine © AP
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Team Sky rider Chris Froome finished fifth in Sunday's opening stage of the Criterium du Dauphine.

Froome, gearing up for his assault on this year's Tour de France at the end of the month, is nearly two minutes behind early leader David Veilleux, following the 121-kilometre stage that kicked off the eight-day event.

The 28-year-old is looking to emulate team-mate Sir Bradley Wiggins and deliver Sky a third successive Criterium title. Wiggins won the event in 2011 and 2012, but is not competing this year after injury forced him to withdraw from the Tour de France.

Europcar rider Veilleux took the leader's jersey after being part of a four-man breakaway, before dropping his rivals Thomas Damuseau, Jean-Marie Bideau and Ricardo Garcia with just under 50km remaining.

After those three stragglers were reined in, Gianni Meersman then edged a sprint with Tom Jelte Slagter for second in the stage - with the Sky duo of Richie Porte and Froome then leading home the peloton one minute 57 seconds behind Veilleux.

Part of that group included Alberto Contador, who is expected to be one of Froome's main rivals at the Tour.

Froome has gained a winning habit in 2013, winning the Tour of Oman, Criterium International and Tour de Romandie already so far.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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