June 13, 2004
Mayo takes Dauphiné; Armstrong 4th
Stuart O'Grady showed his conditioning for July with a second stage win at the Dauphiné Libéré. The win, plus his points in the intermediate sprints Sunday, gave O'Grady the race's green jersey. Interestingly, neither victory came in a field sprint, once O'Grady's specialty. Sunday, he won in a long breakaway that was largely uncontested by the main group.
Iban Mayo of Euskaltel-Euskadi took the overall on the strength of the individual time trial up Mont Ventoux on Thursday, where he won by 35 seconds over Tyler Hamilton, and 2 minutes over Lance Armstrong.
Armstrong took a moral victory of sorts when he won the field sprint among riders who didn't make the breakaway, taking 7th place on the day.
"It was an interesting week," Armstrong said. "I was not as super as I would have wished. It was a tough week too, with super riders like Mayo or Tyler Hamilton.
"I still must improve. But I had no crash, no problem, overall that's good," he added.
O'Grady's stage win was the result of a breakaway that included O'Grady and his teammate David Millar, that let O'Grady collect the intermediate sprint points, and he wound up taking the stage, to boot.
American Levi Leipheimer of Rabobank also tried to break away from the field late in the race, and spent quite a while being chased by the Euskaltels.
Mayo has to be high on the list of contenders at the Tour next month:
"This week was great experience for the Tour," he said. "We had a very young team here and they got in a lot of hard work that should give them all more confidence next month.
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