Spaniard Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) on Sunday won his second successive Dauphiné Libéré cycling race as Dutchman Stef Clement (Rabobank) won the final stage, a 146km hump from Faverges to Grenoble.
American Timothy Duggan (Garmin-Slipstream) took second ahead of Frenchman Sebastien Joly (Française des Jeux), all three having been members of an initial 28-man breakaway.
World time-trial champion Bert Grabsch (Columbia-Highroad) enjoyed a long spell at the head of affairs before being reeled in 37km from the finish.
And for the third year in a row, it appears that Cadel Evans will finish runner-up, but it’s not for a lack of trying.
The Silence-Lotto captain has finished second twice in a row at the Dauphiné before going on to second at the Tour de France in 2007 and in 2008.
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Spain’s Alejandro Valverde took the race lead from Cadel Evans in stage five with a surprise attack. Poland’s Sylvester Szmyd won the stage.
Mont Ventoux lived up to its reputation, “The Windy Mountain” in stage five of the Dauphine-Libere Race. Greeting riders with chilling and driving gusts, an already grueling climb was made more difficult, and subsequently turned the general classification on its head. Slyvester Szmyd of Poland escaped with Alejandro Valverde to win the race, while Valverde slid into the lead in the overall race.
Reigning world time trial champion Bert Grabsch (Columbia-Highroad) won Wednesday’s fourth stage at the 61st Dauphiné Libéré, while Australia Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) finished second and recaptured the overall leader’s jersey.
Grabsch stopped the clock in 51 minutes, 26.48 seconds, overcoming a 12-second mid-race deficit to Evans to win by seven seconds on an undulating 42.4km course east of Valence.
“This is my first victory since winning the world title. I’ve raced five or six time trials since then and I was always in the top 10, but they were too short for me. I like a longer distance and today was perfect for me,” said Grabsch, who turns 34 on June 19. “I hope now to be able to race the Tour, but I still don’t know if I am going to make the team. There are 13-14 names on a list, but with the time trials in this year’s Tour, I could make something special. We’ll see.”
Evans, who won Sunday’s opening time trial, posted the fastest time check at 22.4km, but folded to Grabsch’s brute strength in the closing kilometers to finish in 51:33. David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) claimed third on the stage at 39 seconds slower and climbed to fifth overall.
Sensing that the favorites would be cooling their jets ahead of Wednesday’s decisive individual time trial, five peeled away early on a hilly 182km stage to Saint-Étienne to hold a 1:32 gap to the line.
The 25-year-old Terpstra overcame a long sprint from ex-Dauphiné winner Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel) and then held off Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r) to earn his first victory on the 2009 season.
- 1. Niki Terpstra (NED/MRM) 10:23:45
- 2. Remi Pauriol (FRA/COF) at 0:26 sec
- 3. Yuri Trofimov (RUS/BBO) 0:27.
- 4. Ludovic Turpin (FRA/ALM) 0:36.
- 5. Cadel Evans (AUS/SIL) 1min 01sec
- 6. Inigo Landaluze (ESP/EUS) 1:01.
- 7. Alberto Contador (ESP/AST) 1:09.
- 8. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/GCE) 1:24.
- 9. Sebastien Rosseler (BEL/QST) 1:34.
- 10. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/LIQ) 1:35.
Evans covered the technical, 12km course in Nancy in 15 minutes, 36.64 seconds, posting the best time on a steep climb at 3km and then holding off Contador by eight seconds to win the stage and claim the leader’s jersey at the eight-day Dauphiné.
“I had good sensations. I knew in training that I could do a good time trial, but the (time) differences are a nice surprise,” said a satisfied Evans, who also won a stage this year at Coppi & Bartali in Italy. “This victory will bring a welcome confidence to the team. I was criticized, but I’ve been working hard and I am getting better and better.”
This is a protest by the riders,
because the sponsor has failed to pay up for a few months now…..!