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61st Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 7 Live Coverage
By Staff
Date: 6/13/2009
61st Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 7 Live Coverage

61st Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 7 Live
It's judgement day in the 61st Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré  - A 20 man group leads the race currently climbing rhe Col de la Croix de Fer... 

Stage 7: Briançon - Saint-François-Longchamp 157 km
It's judgement day in the 61st Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré this afternoon. 157 grueling kilometres lie between Briancon and Saint-Francois-Longchamp; the route passes over the iconic Col du Galibier, the Col de la Croix de Fer (with a 5.5% average gradient before finishing at the top of the first-category climb. The ride up to Saint-Francois-Longchamp covers the first 14.5km of the Col de la Madeleine, which has several sections averaging over 8%.

The 80km of climbing will result in Stage 7 being the decisive day in this year's Dauphiné. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) proved on the Thursday's stage up the Mont Ventoux that he is in excellent shape, and will need to ride as well as he did forty-eight hours ago since Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) lies sixteen seconds behind him in the GC. Alberto Contador has just over a minute to make up on his fellow Spaniard, though some are predicting he will use today's stage as preparation for a bigger race in July......

The escapees climb the Galibier. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

It will be interesting to see how David Millar, currently in 5th place and my rider of the race thus far, copes with the three Mountains today.  He has forty-nine seconds in hand over Rabobank's Robert Gesink, though an excellent ride could see him leapfrog Mikel Astarloza (Euskatel, three seconds ahead of him).

1600 CEST - Welcome to the Daily Peloton's live coverage, Nick Bull calling the race today. We are 44km away from the finish. We have a 20 man leading group out front; they currently have a 3m35s advantage over the Caisse d'Epargne led Peloton. Our breakaway is on the descent of the Col de la Croix de Fer, the main bunch still climbing it.

Our leading group consists of: Arrieta, Nocentini and Turpin (AG2R) Van den Broeck (SIL), Dyachecnko (AST), Flecha and Garate (Rabobank), Landaluze, Martinez and Nieve (EUS), Le Mével (FdJ), Pauriol, Moinard, Moncoutie (COF), Meier (Milram), Fedrigo, Lefevre, Trofimov (BBoxBouyguesBbbbbbbBox or whatever it they're called) Mejias (FUJ) and Frank (BMC)

1613 CEST - 33.5km to go. Our leading group has become slightly fragmented on the descent, but will rejoin in the Valley, one suspects.

Oscar Pereiro and Xabier Eschaide Zandio lead the escort of team leader Alejandro Valverde over the Galibier. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Four Caisse d'Epargne riders are protecting Valverde. He's ridden well this week, but if he wins I'm not sure I can cope with people saying he'll be able to win the Tour one day.....  I don't think he's good enough, and secondly, I wonder if he'll be allowed to race in it in the forthcoming years.

1617 CEST - BMC's Mathias Frank seems to be gaining some ground over his escapees on the descent. One of the Ag2R riders is in his wheel, something no-one else seems able to do.  It's Nocentini.


1620 CEST - 29km to go One wonders about the possibility of an Alberto Contador attack today. If he was to drop both Evans and Valverde, that would be a massive pyschological advantage going into the Tour. The flipside to that is that the Spaniard may seek to keep his cards close to his chest. After all, he may not be in peak condition just yet.  Robert Gesink - currently 6th overall - could be one to watch today.

This finishing climb, although 'only' a first category' is extremely steep. The final kilometre has sections of 9%, so it's relentless.

1623 CEST - 23km to go. One of the Euskatel riders is trying to bridge the gap to our two leaders.  I don't think he'll get very far, as it merely increases the pace a little. Everyone is looking at each other; with Arrieta and Turpin there for Ag2r - who have Nocentini out front - it makes chasing difficult. Nieve and Moinard (Cofidis) are trying to escape once more.

1627 CEST - Flecha and Trofimov have now joined our two chasers in pursuit of Nocentini and Frank. 20km to go for our leaders.

1629 CEST - 3'51" is the gap back to the Peloton. As soon as our breakaway groups hit the bottom of the final climb in 3 km time, this time difference will decrease rapidly.

1631 CEST - Frank and Nocentini have 30 seconds advantage over our chasers. I think this is called the quiet before the storm, readers...

Juan Antonio Flecha leads Christophe Le Mevel and David Montcoutie.
Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1634 CEST - Evans is seen talking on his radio. I wonder if his Director is telling him that he needs to attack to win this race.........
Yes, Cadel, ATTACK. Even if it doesn't work, a move by the sit-in-the-wheel Australian could provide some explosive action. Saxo Bank are seen moving to the front of the Peloton.

 1637 CEST - Our leaders are at the bottom of the final climb.

 1640 CEST - 12km to go. 3m02s is the lead for Frank (BMC) and Nocentini (Ag2R), who attacked on the descent of the Col de la Croix de Fer. Did someone say they'd get reeled in? No, not me! Frank has dropped Nocentini, who has been caught by the Flecha chasing group.  Nieve, Moinard and Trofimov are with Rabobank's Spanish madman...

 Hold onto your hats, ye ticker's all going to happen in the next ten minutes.

1644 CEST - 11km to go, the lead for Frank is now 2:37. I think the Austrian leader will get reeled in with 8 km to go. Saxo Bank are really working hard in the pack. Nikki Sorensen has just done a great turn up front.

 Garate has dropped back from our leading group, and is now helping Robert Gesink, who started today 2:41 off Valverde.

 1647 CEST - Attack from a Saxo Bank rider, its Jacob Fuglsang. Upfront, David Moncoutie has caught Frank.

1648 CEST - 10km to go. Our leaders are approaching several kilometres of 9% climbing.

Evans has attacked! Evans has attacked! Valverde responds. Contador responds. Fuglsang responds.

1649 CEST - Moncoutie his on his own upfront, Frank has dropped back. Fuglsang (Saxo Bank) has also attacked, the Valverde trio has not responded. Cadel is looking pretty racy thus far.  He's just caught his team-mate Van den Broeck who was in the breakaway today.

David Mncoutie solo.  Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1651 CEST - 9km for Moncoutie. He has 1:34 over the Valverde group.  He's just caught his team-mate Van den Broeck who was in the breakaway today. Gesink is being helped by Flecha, Evans has his team-mate, Contador and Valverde are on their own. Millar has been dropped. One of the Ag2R riders is also in this elite group.  I think it's Arrieta.
7:53 AM [Nick]

Contador is sitting behind the Maillot Jaune, and is looking very comfortable. Valverde is looking back to see who is in his wheel. A few riders who had been in the breakaway are holding onto this group

1654 CEST - 8 km to go Fair play to Moncoutie, his lead is remaining at1:33. Very impressive; despite the attacks he's riding,  There are days that the Frenchman looks like a top rider - notably during races such as this and Paris - Nice. I've always wondered what his true potential is/was.....

Astarloza is another rider who has not made the cut; this is a great chance for Gesink to move up in the GC.

1702 CEST - Gesink has attacked! He has a good lead already over the Valverde group. He has 1:31 to make up on David Moncoutie, who remains out front.

Cadel Evans responds to Alberto Contadors atttack, Valverde remains cool and increases his pace without leaving the saddle. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1704 CEST - 5km to go. Evans injects a little pace behind The Australian is good Contador has attacked! Evans is right on his wheel.  And he counters!

Valverde is STILL there though, but is facing a two-up attack  I really hope this is a precursor for July...

1705 CEST - Valverde in his shades isn't giving much away, but he's looking pretty cool.  Evans is doing most of the work, Valverde - unsurprisingly - doing none. Evans goes again! Every so often he increases the pace

Sadly for him, the two Spaniards are matching it. The Maillot Jaune is looking laboured in his pedaling style now - is he weakening?  It's not as fluid as it was a few minutes ago.

 1709 CEST - 3.5km to go. Moncoutie has 1:26 over the Maillot Jaune group, Robert Gesink (Rab) is between the two, but no time checks have been reported.

1:12 the gap with 2.7 km to go, Moncoutie continues to look strong.

Evans attacks, both Contador and Valverde respond and regain his wheels. Valverde sits, Contador and Evans out of the saddle, Contador looks labored.

1km to go for Moncoutie... 500 meters for Moncoutie he's going to do it.... 100 meters... 50... and our winner is...

David Moncoutie Wins!!!!!!!  Bravo to the Cofidis rider

Victory David Montcoutie of Cofidis!   Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

1719 CEST - Gesink crosses the line 41 seconds behind Moncoutie, Evans and Valverde are right in his wheel  Fuglsang was caught by the Maillot Jaune group on the finishing straight, Contador dropped back and did not contest the sprint for the top five placings.Valverde is being ushered away by members of his team, I doubt he could have given anything more than he did today.

Fuglsang is caught near the finish as Evans and Valverde sprint but it is Gesink who holds on to take second. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

That was a classy ride by Moncoutie, Evans, Contador AND Valverde today. Gesink looked good but faded towards the end, and in Jacob Fuglsang, Saxo Bank have another strong rider for the Tour. What did we learn today, then? Evans is looking extremely good, I just hope his form continues a few more weeks. Contador was not as aggressive as the Australian - dare I say he was holding something back?

 Provisional Stage Results
1 David Moncoutié (Fra) Cofidis
2 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank
3 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
5 Jacob Fuglsang (Den) Team
Stage 7 Results and photos
Links to previous stage coverage below

1725 CEST - David Millar lost over four minutes today. He will slip down the GC rankings - he may stay in the top ten, just.

 Alberto Contador lost 14 seconds to Evans and Valverde in the sprint for the line. I doubt he's bothered, third place overall looks very secure now. Robert Gesink will move up to forth overall, I believe.

This concludes our stage 7 live coverage. Thanks  for joining Nick and me for the live ticker. Join us tomorrow for the final stage 8 over146 kilometers from Faverges to Grenoble where the final battle will be waged for the 2009 Dauphiné Libéré maillot jaune. With three climbs on the menu expect a battle between Pierrick Fedrigo and David Moncoutie with 120 points up for grabs and the two riders only separated by 29 points. It's a day for the adventurers and stage hunters wwith two Cat. 3 climbs on the menu, the  Col de Leschaux coming out of the gate in the first hour of the race at 29 km (900 m) and  900 meter Col du Frene at 57 km. A the finishing off  with the Cat. 1Montée de Saint Bernard - du Touvet that summits 20 kilometers from the finish in Grenoble. The riders will arrive with 884 kilometers in their legs and the final climb will be the last and best chance for the Contador and Evans to shake the grip of Alejandro Valverde's on the race lead.

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2009 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré Stages June 6 - 14
Stage 1: Nancy - Nancy (12.1 km) ITT 12.1 km
Stage 2: Nancy - Dijon  228 km
Stage 3: Tournus - Saint-Étienne  182 km
Stage 4: Bourg-les-Valence - Valence  ITT 42.4 km
Stage 5: Valence - Mont Ventoux 154 km
Stage 6: Gap - Briançon 106 km
Stage 7: Briançon - Saint-François-Longchamp 157 km
Stage 8: Faverges - Grenoble  146 km
Total length: 1,027.5 km
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Start List & Stages
Race Map - Race Website
2008 Race Coverage: 60th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré

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