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June 05, 2006

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


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