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61st Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 8 & Photos
By Staff
Date: 6/14/2009
61st Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 8 & Photos

61st Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 8
Caisse d'Epargne & Alejandro Valverde take second consecutive triumph in Grenoble.  Clement, Duggan and Joly Succeed in last stage attack.

Stage 8: Faverges - Grenoble  146 km
The riders arrive at the start today with 884 kilometers in their legs for the final146 kilometers of stage 8 from Faverges to Grenoble where the last  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, with the two riders only separated by 29 points.

 It's a day for the adventurers and stage hunters with 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  950 meter Col du Frene at 57 km.  tThe riders finishing off  with the Cat.1Montée de Saint Bernard - du Touvet that summits 20 kilometers from the finish in Grenoble. 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.

A quick look at our current top ten:
1 Valverde Alejandro  Caisse d'Epargne
2 Evans Cadel  Silence/Lotto 16"
3 Contador Alberto Astana 1'18"
4  Gesink Robert Rabobank 02'41"
5  Astarloza Mikel  Euskaltel/Euskadi 3'40"
6  Fuglsang Jacob Saxo Bank 4'08"
7  Nibali Vicenzo Liqquigas 4'21"
8  Zubeldia Haimar Astana  5'05"
9  Millar David Garmin Slipstream 5'28"
10 Le Mével Christophe Francaise des Jeux  6'19"
11  Szmyd Sylvester Liqquigas  6'59"
12  Moncoutié David Cofidis  7'07"
13  Efimkin Vladimir Ag2r la Mondiale 8'12"

The real battle today is a between Evans, Valverde and possibly Alberto Contador and likely to take place on the final climb. We were more inclined to believe that Contador at 1:18 will not threaten fellow Spaniard Valverde today as he gave it his best yesterday on the final climb and Alejandro stood his ground.

Out of the gate today the adventurers were on the attack, by the 15 km mark we had a group of 20 stage hunters on the road for glory in Grenoble. Bert Grabsch left his companions and led over the Col de Leschaux  at 29.5 km claiming the first mountain points of the stage. Katusha's Nicolay Trussov led the chase of the mini peloton over the summit 2:10 later, with Frantisek Rabon, Martin Velits and Stephane Auge taking the remaining points.

The mini peloton of chasers included Grabsch's Columbia Highroad team mates Adam Hansen and Frantisek Rabon (not chasing), oddly three Caisse d'Epargne riders who were there to control the front and drop back if needed by Valverde on the final climb. four teams had two riders:  Bbox Bouygues, Euskaltel ,BMC and Francaise des Jeux had  to balance the advantage of numbers Columbia and Caisse had, with Igor Anton and Inaki Isasi for Euskatel; Sebastien Joly and Geslin of FdJ; Bbox's Alexander Pichot and Guillaume Bonnet and BMC duo Alexandre Moos and Brent Bookwalter. The singles in the escape were Ag2r's Dupont, Rabo's Stef Clement, Liquigas's Kuschinski, Trussov (Katusha), Auge (Cofidis), Lampre' Daniele Righi, Inxausti of Fuji/Servetto, Quick Stepper Wynant, Milram's Velits, Saxo Bank's Van Goolen, Astana's Dyachenko and last but not least Timothy Duggan of Garmin/Slipstream... all and all a potent group.

With 89 kilometers to go, Grabsch built up a  gap of almost six minutes on the peloton as he continued his solo adventure leading over the second Cat.3 climb of the day, Col du Frêne at 57 kilometers. Two minutes later BMC's Alexander Moose led the chase of the group over the Frêne summit  followed by Hubert Dupont (Ag2r), Brent Bookwalter (BMC), and Jurgen Van Goolen of Saxo Bank taking the remaining points.

In the valley the chase was on for Grabsch, but the Columbia fast man held them off and started the final climb of the Cat 1 Montée de Saint Bernard - du Touvet alone; but not for long. His break colleagues started the climb just a minute back and it didn't take long for the attacks by the climbers to start in pursuit of Grabsch who was toughing it out on the climb ahead. While teh break had taken a minute out of Grabsch the peloton had done likewise with the gap down to 4 minutes as the yellow jersey group started up the climb with two Silence/Lotto riders leading Evans, Contador and Valverde.

On the nine mile climb the attacks rained at the front, Grabsch is caught and dropped. Columbia duo Frantisek Rabon and Adam Hansen attacked establishing a gap. The Columbia duo was joined by Garmin's talented climber Tim Duggan. Rabon fell off the duo as the two went up the road and the group behind shattered into chasers trying to keep close to the two beat the yellow jersey group to the top for the final 20 km rush to the finish.

Timothy Duggan of Garmin attacks. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Hansen blew up on the climb and fell off the back of Duggan's wheel as they neared the summit. Rabo's Stef Clement catches the Garmin climber and leads over the summit. Hansen follows first with Sébastien Joly, Igor Anton, Kuschynski, Dupont, Moncoutie, Van Goolen and Dyachenko each singly evading the battle two minutes down the mountain between Evans and Valverde.

Sebastian Joly on the chase followed by Kuschynski  Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Cadel Evans had two riders on the front leading the pace that shattered the group of thirty riders that started leaving only the 12 strongest for the final climb of the Dauphiné.

 With 21km to go we had  two leaders, Tim Duggan (Garmin Slipstream) and Stef Clement (Rabobank). The Yellow Jersey group are 1:27 back, and contain Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Cadel Evans (Silence - Lotto), Alberto Contador Velasco (Astana), Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Vicenzo Nibali (Liquigas) among others. Valverde has two teammates with him, Contador has at least one.

Duggan gaps Clement on the descent.

Evans in the green jersey attacks Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Behind Evans proceeded to attack, both Valverde and Contador responded content to take his wheel. The Australian has game, and he attacked again and again... the attacks decimated the group with only Valverde, Contador, Gesink and Nibali. able to stay with the rider.

Clement is not as fluid on this downhill section, and his line isn't as honed as his breakaway companion. Behind, the yellow jersey group goes over the summit at 1:38... riders rejoin the group on the descent. Valverde is joined by his mates and is protected again as they take over pace making duties on the front.

With 15km to go, Clement finally got back to Duggan. Their gap hovering at  around the ninety second mark. The two hold the gap over the lead chase group as Francaise Des Jeux's Sebastien Joly makes an impressive return to the Garmin/Rabobank duo with 8 km to go.

The trio opens the gap to two minutes - the fire is gone out of the chase as Caisse d'Epargne leads the yellow jersey group with the Aljandro Valverde the winner of the 61rst edition making a parade ride to the finish having imposed his will on the race resisting all the challenge on the final  climb from Cadel Evans.

Two riders approach the line at 30 meters having dropped Joly.
Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Joly attacked with 1,500 meters to go, Duggan and Clement respond but they are gapped, the two close to Joly. The sprint begins,  Joly goes again but Duggan and Clement duke it out... Clement takes in a close sprint with Duggan second and Joly finishing two seconds later.

Clement and Duggan over the line in a close finish. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

9 of the 20 in the break defy the peloton at the finish with Columbia's Adam Hansen in at 1:31 for fourth, Liquigas's Alexandr Kuschynski and Euskaltel's Igor Anton arriving together for fifth and sixth. Cofidis' David Moncoutie in for seventh, Daniele Righi of Lampre/NGC 8th, and Hubert Dupont of Ag2r la Mondiale 9th only 7 seconds ahead of the chase.

Quick Steps Maarten Wynants leads the peloton of 40 to the finish at 2:05... just catching Stephane Auge at the line after Clements finish to take 10th.

Alejandro Valverde finished in the group in 23rd position along with rivals Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador in the lead of an  unchanged general classification.

Cadel Evans takes the points leaders jersey and Pierrick Fedrigo who had king of the mountains pretty much sewn up yesterday arrived without a serious challenge to take the polka dot jersey home.

This is Alejandro's second Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré victory, hope fully the Spanish Champion get his legal problems handled with the UCI and the CONI and we will see him at the Tour de France.

David Moncoutie finishes. Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

After he won Alejandro Valverde thanked his team in after race interviews, “One more time, my team-mates really did a fantastic job, the stage today could have been a dangerous one and they did all that was necessary so that I could win this 61st edition of a very important race, with a high level of participation.  I also want to thank the Caisse d’Epargne which supports me a hundred percent and totally trusts me during this difficult period of my career. My next goal will be the Spanish Championship and after that I still hope to be at the start of the Tour but it unfortunately does not depend on me.”

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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2008 Race Coverage: 60th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré

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