Chris Froome keeps Criterium du Dauphine lead

Britain's Chris Froome leads Alberto Contador uup the Col du Beal
Froome (left) and Contador had a titanic battle up the final climb of stage two

Britain's Chris Froome extended his lead at the Criterium du Dauphine with his second successive stage victory.

The defending champion, who also won Sunday's opening time trial, outpaced rival Alberto Contador on the ascent of Col du Beal to win a summit finish.

Team Sky's Froome repeatedly tried to break clear of Contador on the climb but the Spaniard stayed with him to remain second overall, 12 seconds back.

The Dauphine is a warm-up race for the Tour de France, which starts on 5 July.

And Froome, the defending Tour champion, put down a significant marker with the manner of his victory on Monday.

"I thought, OK, this is the first time I've done a mountain-top finish against my biggest rivals in a really long time so let's open things up and see where everyone's at," he said.

"I think in the final with Alberto and I coming up to the line both of us were going as hard as we could. I like to think if he'd had any more he would have come around me but he's definitely in really good condition."

Tinkoff-Saxo rider Contador tried to pass Froome in the final 100m but the Brit responded to triumph by a bike length and collect 10 bonus seconds at the end of the 156km stage.

The pace set by Froome was also too fast for last year's Giro d'Italia winner Vincenzo Nibali, who is expected to be in contention at the Tour de France.

The Italian, who rides for Astana, finished more than 40 seconds behind Froome and Contador after toiling up the 13km ascent which had an average gradient of more than 6%.

Dutch rider Wilco Kelderman finished third, four seconds adrift of the winners.

Tuesday's third stage is a 194km ride from Ambert to Teil.

Stage Two result:

1. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) 4:24:41"

2. Alberto Contador (Spa/Tinkoff-Saxo) ST

3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned/Belkin) +4 secs

4. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel/Lotto Belisol) +10 secs

5. Andrew Talansky (US/Garmin Sharp) +12 secs


8. Adam Yates (GB/Orica GreenEdge) +42 secs

Overall standings after stage 2 of 8:

1. Chris Froome (GB/Team Sky) 4:37:44"

2. Alberto Contador (Spa/Tinkoff-Saxo) +12 secs

3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned/Belkin) +21 secs

4. Andrew Talansky (US/Garmin Sharp) +33 secs

5. Jurgen Van den Broeck (Bel/Lotto Belisol) +35 secs


9. Adam Yates (GB/Orica GreenEdge) +1:31"

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