Sunday 18 February 2018

Froome triumphs ahead of Tour bid


Chris Froome's chances of going one better than his second place finish in the 2012 Tour de France could not look stronger as he triumphed in the Criterium du Dauphine.

Second on the final stage at Risoul behind Italy's Alessandro De Marchi, Froome completed the eight-day race 58 seconds ahead of team-mate Richie Porte. Spain's Dani Moreno was third, two minutes and 12 seconds back.

Regarded as a key dress rehearsal for the Tour de France, Froome finished third in the midweek time-trial, then claimed the lead and clinched a stage win at Thursday's first mountain-top finish at Valmorel. He comfortably defended his lead on the weekend's final two Alpine stages to win France's third-biggest stage race.

After a shaky start to the month-long Routes des Princes in the inshore series at Valencia over the weekend, Sidney Gavignet's Oman Air Musamdam showed blistering pace yesterday at the start of Leg One to Lisbon.

On board is Ireland's Damian Foxall, a highly experienced multi-hull sailor, in addition to his round the world race wins, and hopes are high for overall victory after the four-stage race that visits Dun Laoghaire in two weeks' time.

Gavignet's team led from the outset off Valencia – in stark contrast to the six-race inshore series that saw the French veteran skipper place second in one race, while Seb Josse on Group Baron de Rothschild won four races and leads the series.

Kevin Sheane and Brian Hearty thrilled the crowd at the 45th Anniversary meeting at Mondello Park, after two very close races where both battled for the lead. The score was one win and a second place each, after 12 high-pressure laps each time.

Sheane just held off the challenge of multiple champion Hearty in the first race, and looked like making it a double, but the experienced Dundalk driver eventually found a way through just before half distance in race two and won by three 10ths of a second.

Adam MacAulay kept the chasing pack at bay to take another Formula Vee victory ahead of Trevor Delaney, with Robert Butler and Erik Holstein winning a Touring Car race each.

Niall Talbot won the 3-Star Grand Prix in Lisbon, where 17-year-old Bertram Allen almost relegated the rest of the international field with the quickest round against the clock, but picked up four faults.

Both of the Irish contenders were riding the horses that helped Ireland to joint-third in Friday's Nations Cup, with a clear round each, and with 15 going into yesterday's Grand Prix jump-off, it was always going to be a speedy affair.

Allen, partnering Billy Twomey's Romanov, produced a scorching run in 41.24 seconds that none of the rest could match. But his four faults left him having to settle for eighth place.

Irish Independent

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