- Associated Press - Thursday, June 12, 2014

LA MURE, France (AP) - Simon Spilak won the fifth stage of the Criterium du Dauphine on Thursday, while Team Sky riders worked hard to protect Chris Froome’s overall lead.

Spilak, of Slovenia, pulled away on the ascent of Cote de Laffrey, the final climb of the day.

The Katusha rider completed the 189.5-kilometer (117.7-mile) stage from Sisteron to La Mure in 4 hours, 51 minutes, 24 seconds. Wilco Kelderman outsprinted Adam Yates to finish second, 14 seconds back.

“It’s been a really hard stage with the heat and I don’t like the heat at all,” Spilak told the event’s website. “Only with 500 meters to go I’ve believed I could win the stage.”

Alberto Contador attacked on the descent of Col de la Morte to build a lead of 57 seconds over Froome, 23 kilometers (15 miles) from the finish.

But Sky riders Richie Porte and Mikel Nieve Iturralde led the pack on the Col de Laffrey to catch Contador.

Froome, the 2013 Tour de France winner, is still 12 seconds ahead of Contador and Kelderman in the overall standings.

“Sometimes, days don’t look so hard on paper and turn out to be very hard,” Froome said. “That’s what happened today when Contador went up the road and put us under pressure. But I asked my teammates to stay calm. They have done such a massive job today.”

Among the riders who dropped out on Thursday, Jerome Pineau of France suffered a hand injury after crashing out at the 14-kilometer mark.

Friday’s stage is a 178.5-kilometer (110.9-mile) trek from Grenoble to Poisy featuring three minor climbs. The race ends on Sunday.

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