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Criterium Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 1Live Coverage
By Staff
Date: 6/5/2006
Criterium Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 1Live Coverage

Criterium Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 1


Stage 1: Annecy / Bourgoin-Jallieu - 207 Km

Welcome to our Live Coverage of stage 1 of the Dauphine Libere.

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 sounds.

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 today.

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 his manager.

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 strong.

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.

Results (Provisional)
1 Fabian Weggmann
2 Thomas Voekler
3 Egoi Martinez

4 Mancebo
5 Napolitano
6 Siedler
7 Horner
8 Rojas
9 Gilbert
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 Points Jersey.

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.

G.C. (Provisional)
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 fans and riders from around the world in the  Daily Peloton Chat Room  and  debate the outcome of tomorrow's stage, race tactics and your favorite riders on the Daily Peloton Forums.
Full official results  and photos to follow.

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Criterium Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 1 G.C. & Photos

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