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60th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré Stage 5 Live
By Staff
Date: 6/13/2008
60th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré Stage 5 Live

60th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré Stage 5 Live
The mountain climbers festival gets serious... eight riders away Caisse d'Epargne leads the chase as they approach Col de Joux-plane. Updated with photos

Stage 5: Ville-la-Grand - Morzine 125 km
Welcome to our live coverage of stage five of the Dauphine Libere. 135 riders took to the start at half past noon under sunny skies, another perfect day for the rivals to test Alejandro Valverde's legs and resolve to hold onto the jaune et bleu jersey.   Saunier Duval's Jose Angel Gomez-Marchante.

Stage 5 elevation profile courtesy of Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré

Another day for the climbers and adventurers today with 4 categorized climbs the last of which is the Hors Cat Col de Jeux Plane which summits 11.5 km from the finish. The first two gravity tests come at 49 km and 60 km into the race over the Cat.3 Col de Saxel an 8 km climb averaging 4.8 %. The 6 km climb Col du Perret follows with an average 4.6%. 20 km later the riders start the penultimate climb 6 km climb of the cat. 4 Côte de Chatillon-sur-Cluses.... and the last obstacle is the Joux- Plane.

We join the stage in progress with eight riders in a breakaway group: Vladimir Efimkin (Rus - AG2R-La Mondiale), Hubert Dupont (Fra - AG2R-La Mondiale), George Hincapie (USA - Team High Road) and Juan José Cobo Acebo (Spa - Saunier Duval-Scott) made the first truly significant move on the third category Col de Saxel after 45 kilometres and were quickly joined by Daniel Navarro (Spa - Astana), Yuriy Trofimov (Rus - Bouygues Télécom), Inigo Cuesta (Spa - Team CSC) and Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr - Liquigas).

David Moncoutie (Fra - Cofidis) and Pieter Weening (Hol - Rabobank) gave it a try at getting across to the leaders, but in vain. They were hauled back into the peloton, whose time deficit to the front group at the summit of the ascent - where Cobo took most KOM points - was just about half a minute.

The advantage on the pack, driven by Alejandro Valverde's Caisse d'Epargne, ballooned to close to three minutes on the following uphill thing, the fourth category Col du Perret, turning young neo-pro Trofimov, down by 02'34" at the stage start the virtual race leader. It gap was still hovering at three minutes with 45 km to go, but also the virtual yellow jersey flew back onto the Spaniard's shoulders as the gap fell to 02'30" at the next check.

Juanjo Cobo, a teammate of KOM leader David De la Fuente, came first across the top of the Perret ascent and the equally categorised Côte de Chatillon-sur-Cluses while the gap kept yo-yoing between two and half minutes and three minutes.

The newest gap update saw the eight wonders on the move only 02'18" clear of the peloton with the finishing line 22 kilometres away. The race is on the Cat. 1 Col de Joux-Plane of Tour de France 2000 fame; that's where Lance Armstrong had one of his worst days in the saddle during his seven-year winning campaign at La Grande Boucle.

The leading group is down to five riders as Kuschynski, Hincapie and Dupont are dropped. Valverde and his 30-strong chase group are driven by three Caisse d'Epargne lieutenants, Also Spain's Navarro lost contact to the frontrunners. Only four riders left in the breakaway: Cobo, Cuesta, Efimkin and Trofimov.

Haimar Zubielda Attacks. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

15:50 CEST - Haimar Zubeldia of Euskaltel attacks the Valverde group, He's quite far from the maillot jaune in the GC, so the peloton doesn't cover his move. Zubeldia increased his advantage on the Valverde group while Oscar Pereiro Sio, TdF winner back in the days of 2006 and 7th on GC at the moment, can't follow the pace any longer.

1700 CEST - More riders are being dropped. This tough ascent is taking toll. Also on Inigo Cuesta: the Team CSC athlete lost contact to Efimkin, Cobo Acebo and Trofimov. We've got three riders in the lead at the time being. Another rider can't stay with the Valverde group: it's Carlos Sastre of CSC. His fellow countryman in yellow colors is looking quite comfortable in the saddle instead.

Cyril Dessel is starting to pay the price of yesterday's winning efforts, and struggles big time off the back of the fragmented Maillot Jaune Group. 

1705 CEST - One more acceleration ... and just 4-5 riders can stay with Alejandro Valverde. Juanjo Cobo, Vladimir Efimkin and the surprising Russian Yuri Trofimov remain on the front. Levi, Cadel and Gesink are part of the Valverde group, that chased down Zubeldia...  and cut the gap to the three-man lead group to some 90 seconds with 15k to go.  The green jersey wearer and one more Caisse d'Epargne guy are the two other members of the "Valverde Sextet"

Green jersey Levi Leipheimer gets dropped as Valverde picked up the pace 14 kms from the finish. The gap to three leaders further dropped to 01'19" at the latest check. Zubeldia is having a hard time staying with the GC leader too. 

'Juanjo' Cobo leads Yuri Trofimov as they near the summit of the Joux Plane.
Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1609 CEST - Cobo, Efimkin and Trofimov are 1,000 metres from the top of the climb. Zubeldia managed to make his way back into the Valverde quintet, Levi still has a small gap to nullify. Cobo attacks in the last kilometres of the climb. Their advantage dramatically fell to just 42 seconds at the 13 to go check.

Levi is dropped as Evans goes to the front of the Valverde group to keep the pressure on. Smyd, Zubeldia, Valverde and Gesink follow. Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Cadel Evans moves to the front of the "group" and keeps riding tempo while Saunier's JJ Cobo is one step away from his fourth KOM sprint victory in a row. The Spaniard comes first over the top. The Valverde group comes in about 40 seconds back. A dozen kilometres left in the stage. Cobo and his chasers are taking on the final descent to the line. 

7 km to go, Poland's Szmyd of Lampre is the other member of the Valverde group. Final descent we said? No way! The going is vertical again, and Szmyd attacks. It was a very short uphill piece though, the Pole is back to his downhill ways, and so are the others. There are seven kilometres between Juan José Cobo and stage victory.

6 km to go - 36 seconds the gap: Yuri Trofimov is taking some risks on the descent. The Valverde group grew into a six-man thing.  Trefimov succeeded in his bid to catch Cobo on the way to the finish, and even attacked and dropped him! The Russian is all by himself on the front now! The Bouygues Telecom youngster is flying towards a prestigious stage victory, even if he's not going to take the yellow jersey at all.

1622 CEST -  3 km to go. Five riders left in the Valverde bunch, led by an orange warrior (Zubeldia?).  And there's no sign of Levi Leipheimer coming back to the group... gap is 34 seconds to the young Russian.

Yuri Trefimov hit the last kilometre in the stage and he wins!

Vittoria Yuri Trofimov!      Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Yuri Trofimov wins!!!

Evans and Valverde came in next at a dozen seconds.... 250m to go for Levi here he comes, about 01'27" behind the winner. Valverde keeps the jersey while Evans moves up into second place overall, not to the delight of the Astana Montanan. Yuri Trefimov moves up to 4th on the G.C. as reward for his efforts today.

Levi in green leads Michael Rogers and Dario Cioni to to  the finish with a loss of over a minute.  Photo © 2008 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Stage 5 Results
1. Yuri Trofimov (RUS/Bouygues Télécom)
2. Cadel Evans (AUS/Silence-Lotto) à 18"
3. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/caisse d'Epargne) à 18"

4. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/Euskaltel-Euskadi) à 23"
5. Sylvester Szmyd (POL/Lampre) à 26"
6. Robert Gesink (PBS/Rabobank) à 26"
7. Juan José Cobo Acebo (ESP/Saunier Duval) à 26"
8. Vladimir Efimkin (RUS/AG2R-la Mondiale) à 44"
9. Levi Leipheimer (USA/Astana) à 1'24"
10. Michael Rogers (USA/High Road) à 1'24"

General Classification After Stage 5
1. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/caisse d'Epargne)
2. Cadel Evans (AUS/Silence-Lotto) à 37"
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA/Astana) à 1'20"

4. Yuri Trofimov (RUS/Bouygues Télécom) à 2'16"
5. Robert Gesink (PBS/Rabobank) à 2'36"
6. Cyril Dessel (FRA/AG2R-la Mondiale) à 3'04"
7. Maxime Monfort (BEL/Cofidis) à 3'13"
8. Mikel Astarloza (ESP/Euskaltel-Euskadi) à 3'15"
9. Haimar Zubeldia (ESP/Euskaltel-Euskadi) à 3'17"
10. Pierre Rolland (FRACrédit Agricole) à 4'25"

A quick look at the profile of tomorrows Queen Stage 6 Morzine - La Toussuire shows that the following stage will prove to be a longer and tougher test at 233 km with four categorized climbs, 2 cat 4 in the early part of the stage, and the remaining two Cat. 1 climbs of the Col de Croix de Fer or "Cross of Iron" and the summit finish on Col de Touissuire. A long day in the saddle and one more day for Valverde's rivals to test his strength and another day for the mountain goats to try for a stage win.

This concludes our live coverage. Stay tuned for the official results and photos from the race. See you tomorrow for stage 6, have a safe day out there on the roads today.

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