MORZINE, France (AFP) — Bradley Wiggins (Sky) tightened his grip on the Critérium du Dauphiné after Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won the sixth and penultimate stage on Saturday.
Wiggins went into the mountainous 167.5km run from Saint-Alban-Leysse to Morzine with a 38-second lead over Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick-Step).
But after crossing the line fourth behind Quintana, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) and Daniel Moreno (Katusha), Wiggins extended his lead going into Sunday’s final stage to 1:20 over his own teammate, Michael Rogers.
“When Cadel attacked he took a small lead, but I didn’t want to take any risks,” said Wiggins. “It’s not a problem to give him 25 or 30 seconds.”
Evans, the defending Tour de France champion, moved into third overall at 1:36 after finishing 16 seconds behind Quintana, whom Movistar sport director Yvon Ledanois described as “a pure climber, but he also knows how to do other things.”
“I was hoping for a little bit of a chance for the stage (win),” said Evans. “But I also heard Tony Martin was dropped on the Joux-Plane and I wanted to maintain the gap on him.”
Sunday’s seventh stage is a 124.5km leg from Morzine to Chatel.
One rider who won’t be taking the start is Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan), who pulled out of the race at the 64km mark on Saturday.
Schleck had been struggling ever since being knocked to the ground by a gust of wind during Thursday’s stage-4 time trial in Bourg-en-Bresse.