Criterium du Dauphiné 2014
Froome and Contador rivalry heated up this last week of racing, with the 2 leaders sparing no energy in the fight, eventually benefiting the excellent Talansky who managed to win the race thanks to an early breakaway in the last stage, along with a dozen other riders, that was favored by the exasperated control between the two big contenders.
Contador, left without teammates, tried to catch up alone with a gap of over two minutes on the group of fugitives, but the two easy climbs of the last 20 km did not help him: it was a beautiful attempt, but he waned a bit in the end, making any attempt to save the leader's jersey vain.
Froome, perhaps also because of the consequences of the crash two days before, went deep into a crisis, getting dropped eventually by several minutes.
We learned that Chris, in his recent victory in the Tour de Romandie, had used (with the consent of the UCI) prednisone (a steroid), orally and in high doses (40mg/die for an unspecified number of days).
This may have contributed to his counter-performance, because of the consequent inhibition of the physiological production of cortisol.
In any case, the "dog fighting" between the two big favorites of the upcoming Tour de France reminded me of what happened between Indurain (1st) and Rominger (2nd) in the 1996 Dauphiné: both rivaled ferociously for a week and for both of them the following TdF was a disaster.
Even in 2003 Armstrong did pay for his extreme efforts in the rivalry with Mayo in the Dauphiné.
I wonder if in the next Tour we may see a more prudent rider take full advantage of this...