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Bakelants wins 6th stage of Dauphine

The Associated Press

POISY, France (AP) -- Jan Bakelants outsprinted Lieuwe Westra to win the sixth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Friday, while Chris Froome survived a crash to keep the overall lead.

Bakelants took more than four hours to complete the 178.5-kilometer (110.9-mile) stage from Grenoble to Poisy. Zdenek Stybar was third, 24 seconds behind Bakelants and Westra.

''In the sprint, I really thought that Westra was going to close the door on me,'' Bakelants said. ''It wasn't fair. I was already on my way to passing him. But he eventually let me go through, so I thank him for his fair play.''

At the 29-kilometer mark, Westra and Bakelants initiated a breakaway and built a lead that reached six minutes.

Froome crashed with 10 kilometers to go but got back into the pack with some help from teammate Geraint Thomas.

''I don't even know how it happened, my front wheel went into a ditch,'' Froome said. ''It's painful but nothing is broken. I need a few bandages. But this is very minor.''

Froome had bruises on his left arm, back and leg. He finished in the pack, 3:55 behind Bakelants. The 2013 Tour de France winner is still 12 seconds ahead of Alberto Contador and Wilco Kelderman in the overall standings.

''I was in a difficult situation but the peloton slowed down. I'm thankful to my rivals,'' Froome said. ''The teams Tinkoff-Saxo and Astana were first to ask everyone to wait for me. They've showed a lot of respect for me and great sportsmanship.''

Stephan Denifl and Luca Wackermann dropped out early in the race.

On Saturday, there's a 160-kilometer trek from Ville-la-Grand to Finhaut-Emosson featuring five climbs. The race ends on Sunday.

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