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Froome extends lead in Criterium

Press AssociationPress Association 11/06/2016

Chris Froome strengthened his lead in the Criterium du Dauphine as Frenchman Thibaut Pinot won the queen stage to Meribel.

Team Sky's Froome came home in fourth place, 67 seconds behind the stage winner, but saw his lead grow to 21 seconds as former team-mate Richie Porte of BMC could only manage 10th place, a further 14 seconds back.

Porte is now joint second alongside AG2R La Mondiale's Romain Bardet, who put himself in the day's breakaway and led Pinot up the final climb.

Although he was pipped to the line by the FDJ man, Bardet took 67 seconds out of Froome to vault up the overall standings.

Bardet attacked from the remnants of the break inside the final 10 kilometres of the 141km stage from La Rochette with only Pinot able to go with him.

Sky kept tabs on the move as Bardet became the virtual leader on the road as the gap back to the peloton grew to three minutes.

Froome showed little interest in trying to overhaul the French pair, but Mikel Landa and Sergio Henao led him up the final climb to ensure he would keep yellow, and he was able to steal a few seconds on some other rivals as he broke clear to follow Etixx-QuickStep's Dan Martin over the line, picking up eight seconds on Tinkoff's Alberto Contador and 10 seconds on Adam Yates of Orica GreenEdge.

Martin is fourth in the overall standings, 30 seconds behind Froome and five seconds ahead of fifth-placed Contador. Yates sits seventh, 62 seconds down overall, going into Sunday's final stage from Le-Pont-de-Claix to Superdevoluy.

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