Chris Froome safely defends yellow for Team Sky at Criterium du Dauphine
Team Sky were equal to the task on stage six at the Criterium du Dauphine as Chris Froome defended the race lead.
Last Updated: 08/06/13 3:57pm
The team's 1-2 grip on the general classification went unchallenged on a day in the medium mountains as a breakaway prevailed into Grenoble.
Surrounded throughout the entire 143-kilometre test by team-mates, that meant Froome and Richie Porte maintained their leading positions overall, the Brit holding a 52-second lead over the Tasmanian with two stages to go.
The stage win was decided between the remnants of the day's break, with Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) winning a four-up sprint ahead of Jose Herrada (Movistar) and Astana duo Kevin Seeldraeyers and Egor Silin.
46 seconds later it was Edvald Boasson Hagen who won the field sprint for fifth, the Norwegian (Team Sky) again showing the pace which propelled him to victory on stage three.
With the break able to stay clear on the downhill run for home it was left to Geraint Thomas to pace the lead group into the final kilometres after a number of teams saw their sprinters dropped on the previous climbs.
The race stayed together through the first intermediate sprint in Albertville before three men - Juan Antonio Flecha (Vacansoleil-DCM), Assan Bazayev (Astana) and Bartosz Huzarski (NetApp-Endura) - made tracks up the road.
Boasson Hagen linked up with Arthur Vichot (FDJ) in a bid to bridge to the escapees but the peloton were unwilling to let the Team Sky rider go on a day where the right break could potentially stay away.
Europcar took up the baton on the front, the French squad chasing hard in a bid to launch Voeckler across to the break. The Frenchman's attacks saw him bridge to Flecha on the Col du Barioz. Yet with the break in touching distance there were fresh moves out of the bunch and eight men were involved in a new selection.
Team Sky kept a watching brief on the front before representation from Omega Pharma - Quick-Step took over on the final chance of the race for the fast men.
Yet with the pace high over the undulating run-in the chase efforts wilted, with Team Sky opting to give their full support to leader Froome in the closing stages to pace the peloton home.