Richie Porte took the lead at the Criterium du Dauphine on Friday. Photo: EPA

LA MOTTE SERVOLEX, France – Richie Porte claimed the overall leader’s yellow jersey on the Criterium du Dauphine after finishing second in a gruelling sixth stage won by Denmark’s Jakob Fuglsang on Friday.

Astana’s Fuglsang outsprinted Australian Porte (BMC) and Chris Froome (Sky) at the end of a 147.5km mountain trek from Villars les Dombes to La Motte Servolex.

Italian Fabio Aru, who was first atop the demanding ascent up the Mont du Chat (8.7km at 10.3 percent) after attacking some 4km from the top, was caught in the descent by Tour de France champion Froome, Porte and his teammate Fuglsang.

The Dane narrowly beat Porte in a tight sprint.

Overall, Porte leads former teammate Froome, who paced himself in the climb, by 39 seconds with Fuglsang in third place, 1:15 off the pace.

Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), whose early attack in the Mont du Chat backfired, is fourth, 1:20 behind, after conceding 50 seconds on Friday.

His compatriot Alberto Contador lost 1:06 and is now sixth overall at 1:47 behind Porte as the Tour de France’s warm-up race reaches its climax on Saturday in the penultimate stage, a brutal effort featuring the ascent of the Col de Porte and the Col de Sarenne with a finish up l’Alpe d’Huez.

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