June 11, 2006

Leipheimer wins Dauphiné; Hushovd takes last stage

Eurosport | Leipheimer wins on road to Tour - Eurosport

Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer took one of the most important Tour warmups, while Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd took a confidence-building stage win ahead of his effort to repeat as the Tour sprint jersey champion.

CSC's Stuart O'Grady, QuickStep's Amer-Italian Guido Trenti, and Agritubel's Coutouly were in an early breakaway, that got more than 4:30 on the field. O'Grady survived almost to the bitter end, with Credit Agricole, AG2R, and eventually QuickStep driving the peloton hard. O'Grady was reabsorbed with about 2-3 kilometers to ride.

Hushovd took the field sprint ahead of Samuel Dumoulin of AG2R, Philippe Gilbert of Française des Jeux, and Discovery Channel's George Hincapie.

Leipheimer took the win despite being frequently isolated without teammates in the mountains, but gave all the credit to his team:

"That we could win it this year says a lot about myself and a lot about Gerolsteiner as a team."

"This win will give them and me a lot of confidence in the Tour.

Leipheimer and especially 2nd place finisher Christophe Moreau showed they're coming into the Tour in terrific climbing shape, and 3rd place rider Bernhard Kohl of T-Mobile is the revelation of the race, finishing 2:51 behind Leipheimer. Discovery Channel's Jose Azevedo was 4th; he's a dark horse for the Tour.

Other Tour names in the top 20: Francisco Mancebo of AG2R in 5th; Denis Menchov of Rabobank in 6th, despite an injury in yesterday's stage; Alejandro Valverde in 7th at 4:21; George Hincapie 10th at 6:48; Sylvain Chavanel 12th; Iban Mayo 16th at 11:00.

A couple of Tour favorites were here, but nowhere to be seen when the action heated up: Floyd Landis finished 60th overall, at 57:06, Alexandre Vinokourov was 49th at 51:08.


DailyPeloton.com | Stage 7 Live

CyclingNews.com | Stage 7 full results

Posted by Frank Steele on June 11, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Levi Leipheimer, Stuart O'Grady, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 10, 2006

Mayo takes Dauphiné queen stage!

Iban Mayo showed he's in fine form ahead of the Tour de France with an amazing victory on the hardest day of the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré.

Meanwhile, Levi Leipheimer countered every attack from the contenders, and probably nailed down an overall race victory.

Saunier Duval-Prodir's Leonardo Piepoli animated the late attacks, and Leipheimer took no chances. Even though Piepoli sat more than 5 minutes back on GC, Leipheimer matched him, pedal stroke for pedal stroke. AG2R's Christophe Moreau was the only other rider who could ride with Leipheimer and Piepoli, and moved into 2nd overall for his efforts. He's France's best GC hope for the Tour.

Caisse d'Epargne's Alejandro Valverde, who was in the break with Mayo, stayed with him for hours, but was dropped on the final climb. He soloed in for 2nd on the day, ahead of Moreau, Leipheimer, and Piepoli.

T-Mobile's Austrian Bernhard Kohl continued his amazing race, coming in 6th on the day, at 2:00 flat, vaulting him into 3rd overall.


DailyPeloton.com | Stage 6 Live

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2006 in Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Iban Mayo, Leonardo Piepoli, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dauphiné Stage 6 underway

Today's probably the hardest day of the Dauphiné climbing the Col du Galibier, the Col de la Croix de Fer, both hors categorie, the Col du Mollard, a 2nd-category climb, and the finishing climb, a 1st-category climb up La Toussuire, which we'll see again in Stage 16 of this year's Tour.

If anybody's going to take the leader's jersey off Levi Leipheimer, today is where they'll have to do it.

Christophe Moreau, Denis Menchov, and Levi Leipheimer are riding together over the top of the Mollard, with about 39 kilometers to ride. They're chasing Caisse d'Espargne's Alejandro Valverde, Euskaltel-Euskadi's Iban Mayo, T-Mobile's Oscar Sevilla, and Valverde's teammate David Arroyo, who are already on the descent 1:15 up the road.

The pack is catching back onto Moreau's little group on the descent.

At 29 kilometers to ride, the gap has gone out to 1:41. Davitamon-Lotto has a couple riders leading the group, Chris Horner is one. Leipheimer has no teammates in the chasing group of around 16.

As the four leaders hit the base of the finishing climb, David Arroyo, who has been towing the break, comes full stop, leaving Valverde, Sevilla, and Mayo to fight for the stage win.

Leipheimer sits comfortably on Chris Horner's wheel, Menchov and Moreau shadowing him. With 16k to ride, the 3 leaders have 2:06 on the chasers.

Voeckler off the back, Mancebo off the back, as Piepoli is gone off the front. Leipheimer goes to the front, and the leader's group is down to 9 or 10. There goes Piepoli again, and Leipheimer matches -- here goes Azevedo. Mancebo had just reached back up to Leipheimer's group, but he's lost again.

Valverde, meanwhile, raised the pace and dropped Sevilla. Mayo and Valverde are riding alone.

Piepoli, Azevedo, and Leipheimer have a gap. Menchov can see them riding away, but he can't counter. Now Moreau bridges, as does T-Mobile's Bernhard Kohl, so there's a group of 5 chasing Valverde and Mayo. Maybe 100 meters back is another group of 5 including Mancebo and Denis Menchov.

Leipheimer's group has caught David Arroyo, who sits on the back.

Now Menchov and Voeckler have gone off the back of Mancebo's group. Menchov may be hurt -- he's got a dirt stain on his shoulder. Even if Moreau can't catch Leipheimer on GC, he and Azevedo have a good chance to move up into 2nd and 3rd overall tonight.

There's Sevilla; he drops in behind Arroyo, so there are 7 main chasers, with 6 kilometers to ride.

There goes Piepoli again! Leipheimer stays right on his wheel, Moreau stays with them, and Bernhard Kohl struggles to stay with them. Azevedo tries to make it but can't, and he, Arroyo, and Sevilla go off the back. Now Kohl is sapped, leaving only Piepoli, Leipheimer and Christophe Moreau together.

The gap is under a minute now, and Moreau and Piepoli are both racing hard. There's a chance they'll bring the break back. Mayo raises the pace, and easily puts 50 meters into Valverde. He doesn't look like a man who's going to get caught on a mountain.

Valverde's in the chasers' sights now. Mayo has bumped his gap out to 1:11 back to Leipheimer. He's going to take the stage win; he's just flying up the slope.

With 1 kilometer to ride, Mayo's gap is out to 1:38! The race cameras keep showing Menchov, who is looking very ragged back down in the field. Moreau is doing the work in the chase -- he needs less than 90 seconds to move past Menchov in the GC.

Mayo's taken it! Valverde survives, coming in around 1:20. Moreau is sprinting for 3rd, and gets it, at 1:37. Leipheimer and Piepoli finish with him.

Kohl is next at 2:00, then Azevedo takes 7th at 2:37. Mancebo battles in at 3:17, Sevilla and Caucchioli are next at 3:26.

Rous, Voeckler, Menchov, Hincapie, Chavanel, at 5:22. Menchov falls off the podium.

Looks like GC should be (correction): 1) Leipheimer, 2) Moreau, 3) Kohl, 4) Azevedo, 5) Mancebo.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 10, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Iban Mayo, Leonardo Piepoli, Levi Leipheimer | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 09, 2006

Ludovic Turpin takes Dauphiné Stage 5; Leipheimer holds race lead

Turpin crosses the line
Turpin takes the stage win,
CyclingNews.com/Fotoreporter Sirotti.

I tuned in about 400 meters before the finish, so I have no details, but AG2R's Ludovic Turpin rode in alone at Briançon, with Iban Mayo and Francisco Mancebo chasing hard.

Apparently, and this is pretty hard to believe, Turpin survived from a longish breakaway with Jerome Pineau and (the funny part) Thor Hushovd on the Col d'Izoard! Turpin had just 38 seconds at the summit, but held off the leaders on the descent to the town of Briançon and the short climb to the finish outside the village.

Mayo gapped Mancebo at the end, finishing at 26 seconds to Mancebo's 27.

Next came Credit Agricole's Pietro Caucchioli, at :37.

Leonardo Piepoli of Saunier Duval-Prodir was (correction) 5th on the day, at :41. Leipheimer rode in with George Hincapie, Christophe Moreau, and Denis Menchov at :48 to maintain his overall race lead, but Mancebo moves closer, and gives AG2R 2 men (Mancebo and Moreau) within 2 minutes of Gerolsteiner's leader. Moreau sits 3rd overall -- it's Leipheimer, Menchov, Moreau, Mancebo.

CSC's David Zabriskie finished at about 1:28, Alejandro Valverde at 1:47, and Floyd Landis came in way back at 8:47. I'd like to think he's sandbagging here, but we really haven't seen him dominate on a climb this year. He matched Danielson on Brasstown Bald, but Discovery inexplicably didn't really take him to the limit.

Turpin called it his best career victory. ProCycling called it “that rarest of things, a victory by a French rider in a ProTour event in the Alps.” You can pick your favorite.


Eurosport | Turpin holds on for stage win

CyclingNews.com Stage 5 Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on June 9, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Denis Menchov, Floyd Landis, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Leonardo Piepoli, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 08, 2006

Menchov takes Ventoux, Leipheimer Dauphiné leader's jersey

VeloNews.com | Leipheimer grabs Dauphiné lead as Menchov wins atop Ventoux

On the first major climbing stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré, Rabobank's Denis Menchov showed form last seen in the 2005 Vuelta a España, and Christophe Moreau showed form unseen in years to lead the peloton up the Giant of Provence. Menchov narrowly held off Moreau at the very top of the climb.

A number of early favorites saw their shot at a Dauphiné title fall by the wayside, including Floyd Landis, who finished a disappointing 56th, 9:30 back of Menchov. His Girona neighbor Dave Zabriskie actually outclimbed Landis, finishing 50th at 8:10. Alexandre Vinokourov was 81st at 13:10, while Iban Mayo was 65th at 10:35; both have won this race (Vino in 1999; Mayo in 2004).

On the other hand, Levi Leipheimer showed he used his time out of racing to good advantage, and finished 3rd on the day, just 15 seconds behind Menchov. That was good enough to put him in the race lead, 28 seconds ahead of Menchov, and 1:08 ahead of Stage 2 winner Philippe Gilbert of Française des Jeux, still hanging around after a creditable 38th today.

Leipheimer told CyclingNews he was focused on getting the race lead today:

“I know from last year that you have to pay a lot of respect to Le Mont Ventoux,” Leipheimer declared. “It's long. You have to be patient and wait. I could have waited even longer, but I wanted the jersey. I knew I couldn't get both stage win and yellow jersey, so I went for the jersey.”

José Azevedo, who was in an early attack with 9 kilometers to ride, didn't explode when the leaders came through, and took 4th on the day.

Moreau's AG2R teammate Francisco Mancebo was 7th on the day, at 1:04, while George Hincapie and Alejandro Valverde finished together, 18th and 20th, 3:13 back.

Your Top 11 (Valverde sits 11th) in GC:
1) Levi Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, in 15:47:53
2) Denis Menchov, Rabobank. at :28
3) Philippe Gilbert, Française des Jeux, at 1:08
4) Jose Azevedo, Discovery Channel, at 1:47
5) Christophe Moreau, AG2R, at 1:48
6) Sylvain Chavanel, Cofidis, at 2:08
7) Francisco Mancebo, AG2R, at 2:10
8) Bernhard Kohl, T-Mobile, at 2:25
9) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at 3:02
10) Sergio Paulinho, Würth, at 3:20
11) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Epargne, at 3:36


Phonak Cycling Team | Black day for the Phonak team

Kind of says it all right there in the headline, no?

DailyPeloton.com | Criterium Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 4 Live Coverage

Cyclingnews.com Stage 4 Race Report | Results | Stage 4 Photo Gallery

Posted by Frank Steele on June 8, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Denis Menchov, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Iban Mayo, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 07, 2006

Zabriskie dominates Dauphiné TT

CSC's Dave Zabriskie, who won Sunday's Dauphiné Libéré, absolutely tackled the race's individual time trial today.

Zabriskie, who Discovery Channel DS Johan Bruyneel reportedly has called “the most aerodynamic rider in the peloton,” put nearly a minute into Floyd Landis in 2nd place, and more than 90 seconds on Levi Leipheimer in 3rd. That is a major woodshedding of the entire pack.

The United States took 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th on the day, with Discovery Channel's George Hincapie 4th. Berth Grabsch of Phonak rounds out the Top 5.

Zabriskie couldn't claw his way back into the yellow jersey, but he does rise to 2nd on the GC, behind only Française des Jeux's Philippe Gilbert. Landis, Leipheimer, and Hincapie are 3-5, for now, with the 186-kilometer stage finishing atop Mont Ventoux coming up tomorrow.

Current GC:
1) Philippe Gilbert, Francaise des Jeux
2) Zabriskie, CSC, at 2:47
3) Landis, Phonak, at 3:48
4) Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at 4:20
5) Hincapie. Discovery Channel, at 4:24
6) Grabsch, Phonak, at 4:34
7) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel


Eurosport | Zabriskie again on time

Landis, on the other hand, has performed brilliantly in the mountains this year, winning Paris-Nice, the Tour of California, and the Tour de Georgia thanks to his climbing skills.

Finishing just 53 seconds behind Zabriskie, the Phonak leader demonstrated that he was prepared to challenge for the yellow jersey in next month's Tour de France, which features two similarly long time-trials.

ESPN.com | AP photo of Zabriskie on the course

Posted by Frank Steele on June 7, 2006 in Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dauphiné Stage 3 now underway

Italy's time trial champion Marco Pinotti was the early leader of today's time trial, finishing the 43 kilometer (26 mile) course in 54:42. Levi Leipheimer comes through superfast: He clocks a 54:05.1! Looks like his disappointing prologue really was because of the loose handlebars. Landis is on the course, and was 3rd fastest at the 8-kilometer mark. Moreau, Vinokourov, Valverde, and Kashechkin are on course, as well. Popovych comes in with a very respectable 54:51; that's got him in 3rd, but likely to slide. Rabobank's Denis Menchov comes in a little slower than Popovych. At the 2nd check, at 28.5 km, Landis is 4 seconds faster than Leipheimer. Zabriskie betters Landis's time at the first checkpoint. Landis comes in at  53:41! That will take the lead, at least for now. Moreau 56:15. Kashechkin 57:27. Hincapie looks extremely smooth; he's likely to overtake Mancebo. He's third at the 2nd check point. Valverde comes in at 7th so far, essentially tied with Popovych at 54:51. Zabriskie is 45 seconds up on Floyd Landis at the 28.5-k checkpoint! He's so quiet on the bike -- I couldn't believe his 3rd place at the Tour de Georgia time trial, because he doesn't labor on the bike like a lot of riders, just goes fast, fast, fast. Hincapie puts Americans on all three steps of the podium, coming in at 54:23, 18 seconds behind Leipheimer. Zabriskie is certain to slot in there, probably right up top. Mancebo 55:38. Zabriskie in 52:48! That's 53 seconds faster than Landis, who was 24 seconds faster than Leipheimer. That's very likely to vault him up into 2nd on the GC tonight. Nobody coming will better that; the question is how close Zabriskie can get to Philippe Gilbert on the overall. He's 5:22 or so back before the stage -- that's too much to take the jersey back. Gilbert gives back about 2 and a half minutes. He'll hold the leader's jersey for another day. Landis's teammate Bert Grabsch did an awesome TT, in 54:26, that stood up for 5th on the day. The United States takes all 4 top spots: Zabriskie, Landis, Leipheimer, and Hincapie. Current GC: 1) Philippe Gilbert, Francaise des Jeux 2) Zabriskie, CSC, at 2:47 3) Landis, Phonak, at 3:48 4) Leipheimer, Gerolsteiner, at 4:20 5) Hincapie. Discovery Channel, at 4:24 6) Grabsch, Phonak, at 4:34 7) Vladimir Gusev, Discovery Channel

Posted by Frank Steele on June 7, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Christophe Moreau, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Thomas Voeckler, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 06, 2006

Philippe Gilbert takes Dauphiné lead with Stage 2 win

Daily Peloton | Stage 2 Live Coverage

Francaise des Jeux managed to put two riders off the front early in today's stage, and Belgium's Philippe Gilbert made the most of the break.

Gilbert took the climber's jersey on the day's third climb, but he went over the day's last climb (at about 30 kms or 19 miles to the finish) with 5:58 in hand, and could see the leader's jersey within his grasp.

At the finish, Gilbert led in the field by about 5:20, with Samuel Dumoulin of AG2R leading in the field at 5:19 ahead of a sprint won by Gerolsteiner's Peter Wrölich and Credit Agricole's Thor Hushovd at 5:23.

Gilbert has more than a 5 minute lead on the entire field, and should lose only a little to the other GC candidates in tomorrow's time trial. Should be an interesting few days.


Eurosport | Gilbert goes the distance | RE-LIVE: The race as it happened

Quoting Gilbert:

"I haven't won in a long time and I wanted to savour it," Gilbert told Eurosport after the race. "This ride, I might pay for it - not tomorrow - but the day after and since I'm not a natural climber, I wanted to make the most of it."

"It's the first time I wore the leader's jersey in such a big race," Gilbert added. "I will give it 100 percent the rest of the way."

Posted by Frank Steele on June 6, 2006 in Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 05, 2006

Wegmann takes Dauphiné Stage 1, overall lead

Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann joined 3 other riders on the attack over a late 4th Category climb and worked hard in the break to keep the cushion to the finish. Wegmann, Thomas Voeckler of Bouyges Telecom, Francisco Mancebo of AG2R, and Egoi Martinez of Discovery Channel went away just after the peloton reabsorbed Nicolas Inaudi of Cofidis, who had been on a solo break for 190 kilometers (almost 120 miles). Wegmann split the break in the last kilometer with a strong attack off Voeckler's wheel. Mancebo couldn't counter, and Voeckler couldn't muster enough speed to outkick Wegmann to the line. The field came in 12 seconds back, led in by Danilo Napolitano of Lampre. Wegmann took a time bonus at the finish that puts him in the overall race lead. He also holds the points jersey. Voeckler moves into the the climber's jersey and the combination jersey. No live coverage at CN.com or VeloNews for the Dauphiné, so you've got a choice between Cycling.TV's premium web stream, DailyPeloton's stage commentary, an open thread at PodiumCafe.com, or my “as it happens” report for more details on the stage. Top 10: 1) Wegmann, Gerolsteiner, in 5:06:36 2) Voeckler, Bouyges Telecom, same time 3) Martinez, Discovery Channel, same time 4) Mancebo, AG2R, at :02 5) Napolitano, Lampre, at :12 6) Sebastian Siedler, Gerolsteiner, same time 7) Chris Horner, Davitamon-Lotto, s.t. 8) José Rojas, Astaná-Würth, s.t. 9) Philippe Gilbert, FdJeux, s.t. 10) Mauro Da Dalto, Liquigas, s.t. GC (CORRECTION 1:30 p.m.): 1) Wegmann, Gerolsteiner, in 5:11:23 2) Voeckler, Bouyges Telecom, at :05 3) Dave Zabriskie, CSC, at :05 4) Egoi Martinez, Discovery Channel, at :07 5) George Hincapie, Discovery Channel, at :07 6) Mancebo, AG2R, at :09 7) Thor Hushovd, Credit Agricole, at :11 8) Stuart O'Grady, CSC, at :11 9) Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner, at :12 10) Joost Posthuma, Rabobank, at :13 Valverde, Landis, Moreau, and Vinokourov are all within 15 seconds of the race lead. Of course, nearly the whole field is within 1 minute of the race lead.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 5, 2006 in Chris Horner, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Fabian Wegmann, Francisco Mancebo, George Hincapie, Thomas Voeckler, Thor Hushovd, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dauphiné Stage 1 underway

Nicolas Inaudi of Cofidis has been off the front for about 110 miles now, but he's slowly getting reeled in by the field, led by CSC, defending Zabriskie's race lead, and Credit Agricole, whose sprinter Thor Hushovd has said he wants today's stage win.

I'm not sure whether there's a time bonus for today's stage; if so, Hushovd may also have a shot at race leadership -- he's only 9 seconds and change behind Zabriskie at stage start, and he's already taken a 2-second time bonus a the first sprint.

Inaudi's time gap's down to about 3:45, with around 30 kilometers to ride.

Inaudi's into Biol, site of the day's final intermediate sprint. And the field is coming through only about a minute back, with CSC sending an escort out with Hushovd to take the intermediate sprint and 2nd-place time bonus.

Coming out of Biol, Nabali and Quinziato of Liquiges and CSC's Kurt-Asle Arvesen take off to try to take advantage of Inaudi's reabsorption, but they're only away for a couple of minutes, and don't even stay away until Inaudi's capture.

They've brought Inaudi back after 190 kilometers. There's a 4th Category climb now, and AG2R's Francisco Mancebo attacks up its slope. Mancebo, Thomas Voeckler of Bouyges Telecom, Fabian Wegmann of Gerolsteiner, and Egoi Martinez of Discovery are the first 4 over the top.

The foursome has about 30 seconds in hand already, and we're 10 kilometers from the finish.

It's 40 seconds with 8 k to ride. Wegmann is the guy to watch if they stay away.

With 6 kilometers to ride, it's 34 seconds. It's going to be close -- the foursome is working together very well, and the peloton is watching each other.

Martinez attacks with 2 k to ride, but he's countered by Voeckler, and the other two claw their way back. At less than 1k Wegmann winds it up from 3rd position, and gets a gap. With 300 meters to ride, he goes all-out, Voeckler's on his wheel, and he makes a run at it as they come to the line, but Wegmann takes the stage win. Voeckler's 2nd, Martinez 3rd, and Mancebo 4th.

The peloton comes in 12 seconds back. Danilo Napolitano takes the field sprint. Chris Horner was 7th -- is he scrambling for time bonuses?

Posted by Frank Steele on June 5, 2006 in Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Thor Hushovd | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 04, 2006

Zabriskie takes Dauphiné prologue

CSC's David Zabriskie hammered the field to take Sunday's Dauphiné Libéré prologue.

Zabriskie took the 4.1-kilometer out-and-back course by storm, finishing nearly 2 seconds faster than last year's Dauphiné prologue winner, Discovery Channel's George Hincapie.

This has to be seen as a good sign for both Zabriskie and Hincapie: Hincapie is clearly recovering well from that Paris-Roubaix crash, and Zabriskie looks like a favorite to repeat at the Tour's prologue in Strasbourg July 1.

Alexandre Vinokourov was 15th, at almost 10 seconds back, Levi Leipheimer was 48th, almost 16 seconds off Dave Z.

Very unofficial Top 10:
1) Zabriskie, CSC, 4:35.83
2) Hincapie, Discovery Channel, 4:37.62
3) Stuart O'Grady, CSC, 4:41.90
4) Sebastian Lang, Gerolsteiner 4:42
5) Joost Posthuma, Rabobank, 4:42
6) Stijn Devolder, Discovery Channel, 4:42?
7) Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d'Espargne, 4:43
8) Gusev, Discovery Chanel
9) Floyd Landis, Phonak, 4:43.84
10) Andrey Kashechkin, Astaná-Würth Also: cyclngnews.com | Prologue full results Eurosport.com | Zabriskie wins, Hincapie impresses BBC Sport | Zabriskie puts Wiggins in shade

Posted by Frank Steele on June 4, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Andrey Kashechkin, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Stuart O'Grady, Top Stories | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Dauphiné Libéré prologue underway

Today's stage at the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré is a short, flat, 4-kilometer prologue.

Gerolsteiner's Sebastian Lang took the early lead in around 4:42. One big surprise is Bradley Wiggins, the Cofidis rider who has already predicted he'll win the 2006 Tour prologue.

Wiggins was able to do only a 4:46, 4 seconds slower than Lang, with a lot of strong riders to come.

Stuart O'Grady comes through in 4:41.9, and takes the stage lead! It won't stand up, but this is a guy who broke 5 ribs and his collarbone March 9th at Tirreno-Adriatico. Cyclingnews has a good interview with O'Grady from mid-May.

Thomas Dekker doesn't even go top 10, and again, there are a lot of riders to come.

Popovych 4:48.

Zabriskie is quickest at the turnaround. Coming to the line with a big cushion to O'Grady; 4:35.83 for Zabriskie! That one might stand up.

Alejandro Valverde is on course, all in white as the ProTour leader.

Chris Horner comes in at 4:50.45.

Valverde does a 4:43, dropping him into 6th for now. As soon as Valverde came in, George Hincapie left the start house. We'll see how his recovery is coming.

Landis is on course, sporting the Praying Landis, Vinokourov is on course, Leipheimer is on course, and Cycling.TV has gone black. D'Oh!

There comes Mayo, the last guy on the course, and he's not going to go anywhere near Dave Z.

Zabriskie takes the stage win!

Hincapie, who took last year's Dauphiné prologue, is 2nd in 4:37.62. O'Grady 3rd, Lang 4th. Posthuma 5th, Stijn Devolder was 6th. Valverde 7th. Landis 9th in 4:43.84.

The Cycling.TV guys say Zabriskie hasn't raced since March, but I've got pictures that say otherwise.

Coverage is still in and out, so I don't have Leipheimer or Vinokourov's results.

Posted by Frank Steele on June 4, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Horner, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Stuart O'Grady, Thomas Dekker, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 30, 2006

Next up: The Dauphiné Libéré

Cycling4all | Dauphiné Libéré provisional start list

We're just a few days from the race that's become the most important Tour warm-up, the Dauphiné Libéré. Cycling4All has a running start list, and there are few surprises. Lots of Americans have team leader numbers, including Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie at CSC, and Chris Horner at Davitamon-Lotto.

It's a South American riding in Phonak's lowest number, Santiago Botero, although of course Floyd Landis is using the race to test his fitness before the Tour. Yaroslav Popovych wears 31 for Discovery, which also brings George Hincapie and Jose Azevedo.

Vinokourov and Kaschechkin both will start for the team formerly known as Liberty Seguros, while Alejandro Valverde leads Caisse d'Espargne.

Missing riders? Quick Step's Tom Boonen, Davitamon-Lotto's Robbie McEwen, and T-Mobile's Jan Ullrich, as well as Giro d'Italia champion Ivan Basso.

Some of these guys have 4 weeks of racing in their legs since April 20: A lot of the Saunier Duval (Pinotti, Olson) and Davitamon-Lotto riders (Henk Vogels, Jan Kuyckx, Nick Gates, Van Hecke) started both the Tour de Georgia and the Giro d'Italia.

Action kicks off Sunday with a 4-km prologue in Annecy.

Posted by Frank Steele on May 30, 2006 in Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Chris Horner, Dauphiné Libéré, Dauphiné Libéré 2006, Dave Zabriskie, Floyd Landis, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, Santiago Botero, Yaroslav Popovych | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack