Froome and Yates prosper at Criterium du Dauphine

Froome and Yates prosper at Criterium du Dauphine

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Great Britain's Chris Froome showed his improving form for the Tour de France with a fantastic victory at the Criterium du Dauphine after winning Sunday's final stage.

There was double celebration for Britain as Simon Yates won the young rider classification, the burgeoning 22-year-old finishing fifth overall.

Team Sky rider Froome had been in second place heading into the 156km-stage from Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc to Modane Valfrejus, behind American Tejay van Garderen.

But Froome, the 2013 Tour de France champion, attacked on the final climb with 2.6km to go and opened up enough of a margin to secure the overall classification.

The 30-year-old, who crashed out of last year's showpiece event on the fifth stage, will now look to fine tune preparations for Le Tour 2015, which begins on July 5 with a time trail in Utrecht.

"The Dauphine was a big focus for me, but the Tour de France is the main objective," Froome said, quoted on www.teamsky.com, ahead of Le Tour 2015, which begins on July 5 with a time trail in Utrecht.

"The team is ready, and I am almost ready.

"We are less than three weeks away now and I am really looking forward to it."

Froome, who claimed his second Criterium du Dauphine title after winning in 2013, added: "I couldn't have expected it to go any better.

"My legs were really tired after yesterday and the whole team was suffering. I don't know how they did it but everyone lifted themselves with the yellow and blue jersey in sight.

"They gave everything - Ian Stannard rode alone for almost 100km to control the breakaway and the rest of the team were fantastic up to that moment where I could attack and put pressure on Tejay."

Yates, second on the final stage said: “Had I been promised to finish fifth overall at the start of the week, I would have signed for it.

“It wasn't just a battle against Bardet for the white jersey. I wanted to beat as many guys as I could on GC, even Rui Costa but that didn't work out. I'm happy with fifth place.”