Criterium Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 1
Stage 1: Annecy / Bourgoin-Jallieu - 207 Km
Welcome to our Live Coverage of stage 1 of the
Today is a relatively flat stage, with a few Cat 4 climbs on the route. Two
of them come in the last 50 km, but they shouldn't cause too many problems.
Certainly, the big GC men should have no trouble with this stage. Perhaps a
sprinter or two will have his legs dulled a bit by the climbs, but we should see
a sprint finish when the riders hit Bourgoin-Jallieu.
Dave Zabriskie on his way to the race lead... Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
It is a 207km stage, and American David "Friskie" Zabriskie (CSC) will
be wearing the yellow jersey by virtue of his blistering time trial yesterday.
Z Man in yellow. Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti
His CSC team will be protecting him and trying to set up Stuey O'Grady for the
sprint. O'Grady is only 6" back in 3rd on GC, and with the time bonus at the
finish he might take over Yellow today.
Of course Thor "Thunder God" Hushovd (Credit Agricole) is going to have
different plans: he is only 10" back, and could also take Yellow today. This
will mean an interesting renewal of the big Hushovd - O'Grady rivalry.
7:05 PDT. 50 km left. There is a lone man off the front: Nicolas Inaudi had a
lead of over 9', but that has been reduced by the chase of Credit Agricole
and CSC. Credit Agricole has four men on the front of the peloton, so they
believe that today is Thor's day. Get it, Thor's day? Never mind...
Inaudi rides for Cofidis, and this is just a solo flyer to get some
publicity for his squad on their home turf. Earlier, a crash took down Mancebo
(AG2r), Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), and several others. All are back up riding.
Inaudi is getting a coke from the car. Hushovd has taken 2nd in the intermediate
sprint with about 35 km left.
0721 PDT - O'Grady didn't contest that sprint. He's wearing the Green Jersey
of points leader, riding right ahead of his teammate Zabriskie in Yellow.
Clearly, O'Grady is saving his bullets for the finish.
Inaudi's lead is down to about 5' and is falling like a rock. Credit
Agricole and CSC really want to bring him back.
Inaudi grimaces and sticks his tongue out. Inaudi is on the slightly up and down
portion of road that eventually turns into a Cat 4 climb. But he's still a ways
from that climb.
0726 PDT - The poloton is still full of men, and rather "fat," which means
that while the gas is on a bit, it still isn't a hard race today. The gap for
Inaudi has now fallen to 4' 20". This is your classic "lone breakaway rider
chased by sprinter team" stages. Not the most exhilerating, so the French
cameramen and directors are showing funky shots of Inaudi from ground level,
with the camera turned on the side, etc. Not exactly "Truffaut."
Still, it's amusing to see how the French men who are controlling the race
feed are trying to "art up" the coverage and make it seem like it isn't a bit of
a, um, sedate stage.
0730 PDT - 28km left. Just over 3' gap for the lead rider Inaudi. Good to see
Zabriskie back into form with that great ride yesterday. Also great to see
Hincapie come back so strong from that horrible crash in Paris-Roubaix. We'll
see how Zabriskie and Hincapie are climbing as the week progresses, but their
power legs and time trial form are good.
Stages 4-6 are just full of Alps. Not just any Alpine mountains either: Stage
4 finishes atop Mount Ventoux, the giant of Provence. That climb is a monster,
13 miles with an average gradient of around 7%, but it's much harder than that
0736 PDT - CSC still has their men on the front, followed by the Credit
Agricole boys. They keep pulling through and bringing back this lone leader. The
peloton is still fat, but the lead train and the narrowing roads are starting to
stretch things a bit.
25km left, and the lead is down to 2' 50". Inaudi is really hurting off the
front. He'll get caught, and we'll have a nice little sprint. Danilo Napolitano
of Lampre is a solid young sprinter, so he'll be one to watch for in the finale
Chicchi of Quick Step is another guy to watch. While not a pure sprinter,
Chris Horner (Saunier Duval) might go out and mix it up a bit too just for fun.
That's the kind of guy Chris is.
Breaking News: Of course, WADA is sending a crew to Spain today as a part of
the ongoing drug investigations. They have to really try to dig up something
fast to cover their embarrassment over getting rebuffed over the phantom Lance
Armstrong drug allegations in L'Equipe. L'Equipe is working on a new
Armstrong-doping angle: testing the bushes Armstrong urinated on during the 1999
Tour for traces of EPO. (Just kidding.)
0747 PDT - Inaudi continues to lose ground to the Credit Agricole and CSC-led
peloton. Inaudi is 3km from the next intermediate sprint. Hushovd will probably
try for 2nd in that sprint to get back a bit more time. Inaudi is back to his
team car for another gel, some more water, and another professional push from
Lampre now starts to show themselves near the front of the peloton, likely
keeping Napolitano in a reasonable position for the sprint to come. Inaudi takes
the intermediate sprint, which puts him close to the final climb of the day.
Then it's downhill to the finish. Credit Agricole leads out Hushovd. He takes
2nd in the sprint again. Well, this gap to the leader is down to not much over
1' now. None contest the sprint with Thor.
0753 PDT - Well, now an attack from the peloton on the final climb. Two
Liquigas riders marked by a CSC rider. Arveson (CSC) is working with the two
Liquigas riders on this climb. The peloton is strung out, and the attack of the
two Liquigas men and Arveson is brought back to the peloton.
Now the peloton swallows Inaudi.
16 km to go: An attack by a Gerolsteiner rider, and Voeckler is on his wheel.
Mancebo is there too Voeckler tries to attack now, with Mancebo and a Discovery
rider in tow. They are nearing the top of the climb.
So four men with only a small gap on the peloton: Voeckler, Egoi Martinez
(Discovery), Mancebo, and Wegmann of Gerolsteiner. In the peloton, Credit
Agricole has a rider trying to lead the chase, but that climb really ripped the
CA boys to pieces. So this lead group has a shot on the descent to stay away.
This is a quality group of climbers, but can they hold this on the mild downhill
until the finish.
0800 PDT - The peloton is led by Lampre. The lead is over about 25" right
now. The peloton is still a bit disorganized, with riders scrambling back up
after that climb.
Now the peloton is showing some organization. Several teams have put in a
rider to chase this break of four leaders. 8 km left, and the gap is 40".
Voeckler of course wore the Yellow Jersey in the Tour de France for several days
in 2004, Mancebo is always a GC threat this time of year, Wegmann has won the
mountain jersey in the Giro, and Martinez once won the Tour de l'Avenir. Mancebo
is the biggest GC threat in this group. But really, all four of these riders are
0806 PDT - Oops, into some roundabouts in the finishing city. This will
benefit the breakaway, as the peloton splits to make it around these road
features. In the break, all four men are riding full gas, contributing and
pushing hard. 34" is the gap with 6km left.
Martinez attacks up the left, followed by Voeckler. The others are on them
too.Martinez is now sitting on the tail of the group. Mancebo is driving it now,
trying to preserve his GC gains and forgetting about the win.
Locutus says: Final kilometer. Weggman on the attack !
Wegman comes up, and wins the sprint just ahead of Voeckler! Wegmann wins the
stage, Voeckler a frustrated 2nd, Martinez 3rd, Mancebo 4th. Napolitano won the
sprint for 5th. So will this put Wegmann in the Yellow Jersey? We'll have to
wait and see.
Mancebo led out that sprint in the final kilometer. Wegmann jumped with a
couple of hundred meters left, and Voeckler tried to come around him but
couldn't quite manage it. Martinez and Mancebo were toasted from their earlier
efforts. So Mancebo only took 10" out of his GC rivals. Horner was 7th in the stage, so he finished 3rd in the sprint of the peloton.
I knew he would mix it up in there at the end.
1 Fabian Weggmann
2 Thomas Voekler
3 Egoi Martinez
10 Da Dalto
Wegmann is quite happy on the podium! He takes the stage. As in the podium
stage, with a model there to greet him. And Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann has
also taken the Yellow Jersey!
Wegmann was 18" back after yesterday, but he picked up 12" plus a 20" time
bonus on Zabriskie. Wegmann not only gets the Yellow Jersey, but also the Green
But Thomas Voeckler, who won the last climb, took the King of the Mountains
jersey: red with white polka-dots, this jersey, which for my money looks better
than the Tour's polka dot jersey.
Mancebo was clearly not that injured in his crash early in the stage: he was
attacking like crazy at the end.
1 Fabian Wegmann
2 Zabriskie 2nd at 1"
3 Voeckler 3rd at 3"
4 Hincapie 4th at 3"
5 Mancebo 5th at 5"
This concludes our live coverage... Discuss the race in progress tomorrow with
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Full official results and
photos to follow.