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Froome retains Dauphine lead despite difficult day

ESPN staff
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Chris Froome paid thanks to his Team Sky team-mates © Getty Images
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Chris Froome maintained his 12-second overall lead as Simon Spilak won the fifth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Thursday.

Froome sits ahead of main rival Contador and Wilco Kelderman in the standings despite a difficult ride during the 189.5 kilometre route from Sisteron to La Mure.

Spilak eased to stage victory after he moved to lead the pack on the final climb of the route, the Cote de Laffrey. Contador gained a 57-second advantage on Froome when making an assault on Col de la Morte, 23km from the finishing line.

However, Froome's Team Sky team-mates Richie Porte and Mikel Nieve Iturralde caught Contador on the Col de Laffrey, much to the Brit's appreciation.

"Sometimes, days don't look so hard on paper and turn out to be very hard," Froome said. "That's what happened today when Contador went up the road and put us under pressure. I asked my team-mates to stay calm. They have done such a massive job today."

The riders face three small climbs in Friday's sixth stage, which will see them travel 178.5km from Grenoble to Poisy.

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