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60th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré Stage 3 ITT Live
By Staff
Date: 6/11/2008
60th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré Stage 3 ITT Live

60th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré Stage 3 Live ITT
Stef Clement sets the early time to beat for the tough test against time...

Stage 3: Saint-Paul-en-Jarez 31 km ITT
Stef Clement (Bouygues Telecom) has the fastest time in 46.05. He is 1:01 faster than the second Juan José Cobo Acebo (Saunier Duval).

The TT is 31 km in distance and includes the Cat. 3 Chavanol, and the Doizieu, a 4th category climb, a course that favors the strong time trialists with a talent for climbing.

Carlos Sastre (CSC) is just off the ramp. It's a very tough TT course always up and down. Sastre uses the Dauphine to fine tune his form for the Tour de France were he will be one of the CSC team captains with the very talented Schleck brothers, Andy and Frank.

Dutch young gun Robert Gesink (Rabobank) is off the ramp. Gesink had the leaders jersey in Paris-Nice this year but was not able to hold on to the jersey to the finish.

Today there was also the press conference of Quick Step and Tom Boonen. Boonen excused himself from commenting negative news, making no comments other than to apologize to the fans for the incident.  Quick Step announced that they will continue to sponsor the team for the next 3 years. Boonen can stay with the team. It's not sure if Tom will ride the Tour de France as he will take a "short" break again. We do know that Tom won't be at the Tour of Switzerland as the organizers have made it clear that he is not "invited" to participate.

The current top 5 at the moment is:
1. Stef Clement (Bouygues Télécom) 46'05"
2. Juan José Cobo Acebo (Saunier Duval) 47'06
3. Sergio Paulinho (Astana) 47'25"
4. Josep Jufre (Saunier Duval) 47'47"
5. Rémi Pauriol (Crédit Agricole) 47'52"

Stef Clement has set the time to beat, at the moment. Clement is the current Dutch National TT Champion and the bronze medalist in the TT Worlds in Stuttgart. As we said it's a very tough course as it goes up and down all time; not much that is flat.  It's a course that favors the GC riders and time trial specialists who aren't bad climbers either. It rained earlier in the day and the course has dried up some, but there are sections of the road filled with puddles; riders will have to be cautious to avoid crashes.

Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) is off the ramp. With Wegmann's launch, the current top 10 of the ranking of the Dauphine will start. Wegmann is the present German road champion and won the GP Miguel Indurain earlier this year.

Oscar Pereiro is now in third at the finish behind Clement and Cobo. As we type this we see that Aurelien Passeron comes in with the 2nd best time. Aurelien Passeron is a talented French rider with Saunier Duval. Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel) is off the ramp now.

Quick Step's Carlos Barredos big rings it up the hill.

Next to start is Spanish Quick Step rider Carlos Barredo. Barredo isn't a typical Spaniard who only does well in stage races. The number 10 of the Vuelta 2007 also likes to ride the Northern Classics. Previous to the Dauphine he rode the Tour of Belgium as helper for Stijn Devolder, who won that race.

1550 CEST - Number 1 Tour de France favorite Cadel Evans, and runner-up in the Tour 2007 and the Dauphine Libere 2007, is off the ramp now. Cadel isn't in top shape yet, as he said himself, after having knee problems earlier this year.

Current top riders:
1. Stef Clement 46'05"
2. Juan Cobo Acebo 47'06"
3. Oscar Pereiro 47'07"
4. Sergio Paulinho 47'25"
5. Sandy Casar 47'45"

So what we mentioned on Passeron isn't true or they might not have updated it yet. On the other hand, we have a new 2nd best time at the finish as Clement's  team mate Yuriy Trofimov sets the 2nd time about 26 sec. slower than Clement. The next one off the ramp is Belgian Cofidis rider Maxime Monfort. Monfort, who is riding a solid season, will be one of the GC riders for Cofidis in the Tour; Maxime finished 11th in the Vuelta last year.

Some other times: Jérôme Coppel sets a disappointing time of 49'58 while Dutch Karsten Kroon is a new name in the top 5 with a time of 47'10. The next to launch from the ramp is "Captain Blueheart", Mister No Chain or the winner of the stage yesterday. Who we are talking about? Big George, George Hincapie!!

The last off the ramp today are: Levi Leipheimer, Alejandro Valverde and race leader Thor Hushovd. It looks Lars Bak and not Karsten Kroon finished with the time of 47'10; both CSC riders - perhaps led to the confusion.

1600 CEST - Now "El Imbatido" is off the ramp. El Imbatido is a nick name of stage 1 victor, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Alejandro Valverde! Which means that Leipheimer, the prologue winner is on the road too.

Coppel had that slow time due to a crash. We should also mention that Australian Road Champion Matthew Lloyd had a bad crash; no news on his injuries yet. Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) is off the ramp too. All the riders have started; we are about 45 minutes away from our new G.C..

Today is also the Dutch Semi-Classic the Dutch Food Valley Classic (Veenenedaal-Veenendaal). At the moment Philippe Gilbert (La Francaise des Jeux) and Martijn Maaskant (Slipstream) are leading the race we will give regular updates on this race as well today.

Back to the Dauphine. Cadel Evans is now on one of the climbs pulling on his pedals; the roads are wet as it rained all day but luckily it's not raining now. U23 World Champion Peter Velits comes in 7th, he is about 1.30 down on Clement.

1613 CEST - Laurent Lefevre arrives sprinting to the finish in 47'34; Lefevre is another rider of Bouygues near the top of the stage ranking so far. Cyril Dessel (Ag2r) and a "régional de l'étape" had a time of 47'45. which is a place just in or outside the top 10 thus far. A regional de l'etape means that he is a rider coming from the area the stage is held or in current slang "home boy". Cadel Evans is doing well after 12 km (first intermediate time check). The Aussie is 9 seconds down on Clement. So it seems his so called knee problems aren't a big issue anymore for Cadel

Andriy Grivko moves well on the early part of the climb.

1618 CEST - Andriy Grivko (Milram) comes in with a time of 46'46 and takes third in the current ranking. A very good time for the Ukranian. 15 riders left to finish. The next to come will be Sastre then Gesink, Samuel Sanchez, Brajkovic, Astarloza, Wegmann, Zubeldia, Barredo, Evans, V. Efimkin, Monfort, Hincapie, Leipheimer, Valverde and Hushovd.

In the Dutch Food Valley Classic Gilbert and Maaskant have a decent gap on the bunch which has not added much gusto to chase the duo.

Back to the Dauphine Carlos Sastre comes in in a time of 48'51 and has the 53rd ranked time. Sastre is really using this race as a preparation for the tour. Robert Gesink sets a time of 47'07 and is current 5th placed rider.

Valverde in action on the wet roads today.

At the first intermediate check Valverde has the best time. He is 20 seconds faster than Clement and almost 30 sec on Evans. Evans has the best time at the 2nd intermediate check. The first intermediate check is after 12,2 km and the second after 19 km.

Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) comes in with a time of 47'09 and takes 7th. Sanchez, third in the 2007 Vuelta a Espana, skipped the spring season to prepare himself for the Tour de France and the Olympics in Beijing.

1627 CEST - Janez Brajkovic and Mikel Astarloza are coming in. Astarloza sets a time of 45'59 which is the new time to beat. Astarloza who started after Brajkovic reeled in the Slovenian youngster on the course. Astarloza is 6 sec. faster than Clement.

The top 10 still have to arrive at the finish. Levi Leipheimer is 5 sec. down on Evans at the second intermediate. It will be a very interesting battle between Leipheimer, Evans, Valverde and the others, as it seems that the time differences will not be that big with the mountain stages to come. The strong performance of Astarloza isn't much of a surprise as he is a GC rider and did well in the Tour last year.

At the 2nd intermediate check Valverde is 31 sec faster than Evans and 36 sec on Leipheimer. Hmm Valverde is really going fast. Maybe the time differences will be a little bigger than I anticipated.

1632 CEST - Fabian Wegmann comes in with a disappointing time; followed by Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel) finishes 47'53 and is 21st at the moment,1.54 down on his team mate Astarloza. Maxime Monfort is strong too. At the 2nd intermediate check he is 5th at the moment just behind Evans en Leipheimer.

Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) comes to the finish and just can't reel in Barredo his 2 minute man. Evans has a time of 45'19 and sets the best time. That's 40 sec faster than Astarloza. Really amazing!

Russian Ag2r rider Vladimir Efimkin comes in with a time of 47'42 and that's the 16th or 17th best time

Maxime Monfort put in a strong effort and finishes out of the saddle sprinting to the line for  46'00; taking 3rd as he bumps Astarloza into 4th. 

So the current standings:
1. Cadel Evans
2. Mikel Astarloza
3. Maxime Monfort
4. Stef Clement

Clement's time has stood up quite well - Levi Leipheimer has George Hincapie in his sight. That's not a good sign for George. Levi is now on George's wheel and jumps past the big rider. Final km for Leipheimer and also for Hincapie... Leipheimer has 300 mt to go 200 mt, 100 mt, 50 mt, and his time is 45'18.40 and is 1 sec faster than Cadel Evans. New best time - Levi Leipheimer.

We're only waiting for Valverde to complete at this point. Alejandro is the only one who can beat the time of Leipheimer. 500 mt to go for Valverde, 200 mt... 100 mt and the time of Alejandro Valverde is 44'49 and that's the NEW BEST TIME!

Only race leader, Thor Hushovd left to arrive at the finish; but we can say that it is near certain that Valverde has won his second stage. Valverde shows why is nick name is El Imbatido; Valverde got that nick in his youth period as he won every race in which he participated.

Thor Hushvod rides across the finish line.  Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

The mighty Thor Hushovd in the final kilometer... not pushing it that hard.... arrives at the finish - his time 49'55 and that should put him in about the 100th position.

So the stage winner and new race leader is:


Top Ten Results
1. Alejandro Valverde
2. Levi Leipheimer 0.19
3. Cadel Evans 0.20
4. Mikel Astarloza 1.00
5. Maxime Monfort 1.01
6. Stef Clement 1.06
7. Yuri Trofimov
8. Andriy Grivko
9. Juan José Cobo Acebo
10. Robert Gesink

The new General Classification (top 5) will be
1. Alejandro Valverde
2. Levi Leipheimer 0.23
3. Cadel Evans 0.37

4. Maxime Monfort 1.17
5. Mikel Astarloza 1.20

That's the Dauphine for now. Back to the Dutch Food Valley Classic for the live coverage of the final kilometers. We have a break of 7 riders with Julian Dean (Slipstream), Maarten Tjallingii (Lotto), Frederico Canuti (CSF), Robert Wagner (Skil), Yoann Offredo (FDJ), Steven de Jongh (Quick Step) and Joost van Leijen (Van Vliet). Topsport Vlaanderen and Rabobank are working in the bunch. The break has35sec

CSC is also working in the bunch as they have JJ Haedo up there as sprinter. We have 8 leaders as also Markus Zberg (Gerolsteiner) is up there. Less than 14 km to go. At any rate, the break is really working well together with this elite group in front. Steven de Jongh is a double winner of this race and has a good sprint just as Dean and Wagner. But the peloton will want to let it come to a sprint.

Topsport Vlaanderen, Rabobank, CSC and Mitsubishi are chasing behind the break. The gap is still around the 30 seconds. Also Preti Mangi of sprinter Zanotti and Gavazzi are helping the teams in the bunch. 5 km to go.

It will be a very exciting 5 km. Can the 8 leaders keep it to the finish? or will the sprinters trains make it a bunch sprint? Attack from the peloton, a rider of P3Transfer-Batavus. He tries to bridge across to the break but that will be a hard job to do alone; the gap of the 8 is down to about 15 seconds.

The bunch comes closer meter by meter, the gap still 11 seconds; the riders are now entering Veenendaal as the bunch chases down the break, or tries to as the gap is 8 seconds.

Offredo (FDJ) attacks. The others are caught by the bunch, Offredo is swept up... up to the sprint now.

Gerolsteiner starts the sprint for Förster. Gerolsteiner did a late attack with two riders and finish 1 and 2.

The winner is ROBERT FÖRSTER

Sven Krauss is 2nd. Gerolsteiner came with a surprise attack on the final turn and defeated the pack a really amazing tactic and show of force by the water boys. Race Report & Results

Dutch Food Valley Classic Results
1. Robert Förster
2. Sven Krauss
3. Nico Eeckhout

4. Kenny van Hummel
5. Nicki Terpstra

That's the Dutch food Valley Classic for this year. Stay tuned for the next Dauphine stage tomorrow.

Thanks for joining us for today's live coverage. Join us tomorrow as the race turns into the mountains where the mountain goats and favorites will test each others legs and grinta. We'll be back with official results and photos soon.

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