Twenty-four hours after Yuriy Trofimov in Gap, another Katusha rider claimed a valuable solo victory at the Dauphiné as Simon Spilak was the only man to survive a long-lasting breakaway that kept Chris Froome under pressure. In the last thirty kilometers, Alberto Contador put the yellow jersey wearer in difficulty and the fight for the white jersey brought Wilco Kelderman closer on GC at only twelve seconds in the same time as Contador. What a spectacle!
De Marchi on the move in col de Manse
On the start line in Sisteron, many riders were motivated for breaking away. King of the Mountains Kevin Reza (Europcar) and runner up Thomas Damuseau (Giant-Shimano) had put the climbs of the day on their wish list but nervousness led to a big crash at km 14 and the abandons of Jérôme Pineau (IAM) and Hayden Rouslton (Trek). Nine riders finally manage to break away after an hour of highly competitive racing as they approached the col de Manse: Dimitri Gruzdev (Astana), Daryl Impey (Orica), Blel Kadri (AG2R), Stig Broeckx (Lotto), Damiano Caruso and Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Simon Spilak (Katusha), Michal Golas (OPQS) and Dries Devenyns (Giant). Europcar chased hard but De Marchi made a step towards the quest of the polka dot jersey as he passed the first categorized climb of the day ahead.
De Clercq virtually in the yellow jersey
In the downhill of col de Manse, a group of seventeen leaders was formed once veteran Jens Voigt bridged the gap by himself at km 87. They were: Christophe Le Mével (Cofidis), Daryl Impey (Orica), Mikaël Chérel and Blel Kadri (AG2R), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Bart De Clercq (Lotto), Stephan Denifl (IAM), Damiano Caruso and Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale), Jens Voigt (Trek), Darwin Atapuma (BMC), Egor Silin and Simon Spilak (Katusha), Jan Bakelants (OPQS), Arthur Vichot (FDJ), Dries Devenyns (Giant) and Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp). De Clercq was the highest ranked of the group, only 2.47 down, and Colombian climber Atapuma wasn't far either, therefore Team Sky didn't allow the gap to increase above 3.31.
A Contador one-man show in between two hills
De Marchi took a maximum of points at the top of five of the six climbs of the day and the front group split up in the downhill of the second last hill with a solo attack by Chérel while Alberto Contador used the same terrain to deliver a one-man show as he said goodbye to Chris Froome for a while and made a difference of one minute to his rival. But the race leader asked his right hand man Richie Porte to lead the charge uphill in the côte de Laffrey where Team Sky put an end to the Spaniard's dream to reverse the situation in the overall ranking of the Critérium du Dauphiné the same way he did it in stage 16 of the 2012 Vuelta a Espana to dethrone Joaquim Rodriguez from the top position.
Spilak soloes to victory
With 21km to go, Spilak's offensive by himself in the côte de Laffrey after catching Chérel who had taken the command on his in the downhill was overshadowed by Contador's attack. But it was a short-lived initiative by the multiple winner of Grand Tours as Richie Porte cancelled his advantage when he seized the reins of the meager peloton. Spilak maintained his lead between one minute and 45 seconds in a convincing ride towards La Mûre. Alike Contador, his former breakaway companions got reeled in but it wasn't the end of Froome's worries. Another rival on GC rode away with four kilometers as best young rider Wilco Kelderman (Belkin) followed an attack launched by Adam Yates who threatened his white jersey. They took the first and second places on the finishing behind Spilak, and the time bonus that goes with it, which allowed the Dutchman to come closer to Froome on GC at 12 seconds in an equal time as Contador.