Cycling: Evans takes first stage of Dauphine

Australia’s Tour de France champion Cadel Evans continued his impressive form with a gutsy win in stage one of the Criterium du Dauphine.

The BMC rider sheered away with France’s Jerome Coppel and Kazakh Andrey Kashechkin less than 5km from the finish of the hilly stage from Seyssins to Saint Vallier and a prolonged drive for the line gave Evans his first win since the Criterium International in March. Coppel was second and Kashechkin third while last year’s winner Bradley Wiggins moved into the overall lead.

Evans, 35, rejected suggestions that after losing time to Wiggins, one of his key rivals for next month’s Tour, in the prologue, he was on a mission to prove his form to the Briton. “We’ve come here like every year to do a bit of a test and to do some work,” said Evans. “Losing six seconds yesterday (in the prologue) against the specialists already wasn’t so bad a result on a course like that, but winning is even better for my team’s confidence and for me.”

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Overnight race leader Luke Durbridge of Australia was dropped on the final third-category climb of Cote de la Sizeranne, leaving the road clear for Wiggins, 61st on the stage, to move into the No 1 spot.

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