BRIZON, France — Jakob Fuglsang upset all favorites to become the first Danish rider to win the Criterium du Dauphine on Sunday.
The Astana rider attacked on the final climb to the Plateau de Solaison in the French Alps, a grueling 11.3-kilometer (7-mile) ascent at an average gradient of 9.2 percent, to win the 115-kilometer (71.5-mile) stage and leapfrog overnight leader Richie Porte.
Fuglsang beat his Australian rival by 10 seconds thanks to the time bonus awarded to the final stage winner.
“It’s amazing. I don’t know what to say,” Fuglsang said. “Even with (the) jersey I can’t believe it. I’ve been close to the yellow jersey many times in my career. We tried to keep our positions on the general classification and it came down to a big, big fight for the overall victory.”
Fuglsang dropped Ireland’s Dan Martin on the last climb and rode on his own through the final five kilometers, asserting his credentials less than a month before the Tour de France starts.
He will be sharing the Astana leadership with Fabio Aru during the three-week race in July.
“I tried to keep cool all day and without pushing too much, I went for the stage win and I got it all,” he said. “My wife is waiting for a baby. This great victory is for her. There’s still a long way to the Tour but I’m really happy with my condition now. I’ll have to take it easy onto the Tour.”
Three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome, who lost ground on the final climb, finished fourth overall, 1 minute and 33 seconds off the pace and just one second behind Martin.