Team Sky’s Mikel Nieve, aboard his fi’zi:k saddle, yesterday secured victory at the final stage of the Criteréium du Dauphiné, a mountainous 130.5km battle from Megeve to Courchevel. fi’zi:k-rider Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Adam Yates (Orica GreenEdge) completed the podium. However, it was the General Classification competition that conjured up one of the most memorable days of the season as Garmin-Sharp’s Andrew Talansky, who uses fi’zi:k saddles, rose from third to record one of the greatest and most unlikely wins of his career.
The 25-year-old American began the eighth and final stage in third overall with the talk focusing on whether Team Sky’s Chris Froome could reclaim the yellow jersey that Tinkoff-Saxo’s Alberto Contador had wrestled from him the previous day. That battle seemed to occupy the two main protagonists as Talansky was part of a pack that forged a 3min 20sec lead over the yellow jersey group.
Froome, sensing danger, attacked up the category-1 Col de Saisies, taking three teammates with him. Contador followed without his support crew. Team Sky couldn’t shake off the Spaniard and, with 33km to go and the lead down to 1 minute, it seemed Contador would cut Talansky’s advantage to less than the 39 seconds needed for the overall title.
But it wasn’t to be…
Ably supported by Ryder Hesjedal, Talansky maintained his composure and pace over the final two category-1 climbs to finish 1min 6sec clear of Contador atop the mountain finish. It gave Talansky the GC title by 27 seconds over Contador with Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) in third. After finishing the stage over 5 minutes down on Nieve, Froome dropped to 12th in the overall standings.