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Criterium Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 3 Live Coverage
By Locutus
Date: 6/7/2006
Criterium Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 3 Live Coverage

Criterium Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 3 Live
The Race of Truth in Bourg-de-Péage sure to shake up the G.C. but how much time will Phillipe Gilbert hold onto by the days end against  the lions of the clock...

Stage 3: Bourg-de-Péage / Bourg-de-Péage - 43 Km Individual TT

Welcome to our live coverage of Sage 3 a 43 km not so individual time trial sure to change the general classification one more time before we go on to the stage 4 and the Ventoux and final selective stages of the "dress rehearsal" for the Tour de France in July.

Today is a 43km time trial that should really show us who has a chance at catching the Yellow and Blue Jersey wearer Philippe Gilbert and challenging for overall victory.

The course has a Cat 4 climb early on, and is a rolling affair throughout. This will really test the riders and favor the men like Landis, Vinokourov, Leipheimer, and Hincapie. You can never count out guys like Dave Zabriskie and Marco Pinotti either.

The current leader is, of course, the Italian Time Trial Champion Marco Pinotti of Saunier Duval/Prodir.
There are about 85 riders left to start. Pinotti's time is 54' 42", and that is a very fast ride.

Current leaders:
1- Marco Pinotti 54.42
2- Nicki Sorensen 55.05
3- Sergio Paulinho 55.42
4- Peter Mazur 56.23
5- Bradley Wiggins 56.24
6- Lars Bak 56.35
7- Thomas Dekker zt
8- Leonardo Piepoli 56.50
9- Erik Dekker 56.51
10- Pierrick Fedrigo 57.11

Bernhard Kohl is now 4th . His time 55'43
In other news Jose Serpa (Colombia Selle Italia) is the new Continental Road Race Champion of the Americas. Serpa a Columbian had some stiff competition from the Brazilians who lead the medal count.

Out on the course right now is Wurth rider Vinokourov. He's looking strong. 2004 champ Mayo (Euskaltel-Euskadi) is coming across the finish line well back of Pinotti's time. Mayo will have to try to win this race on Ventoux, where he holds the record for the fastest ascent (from the 2004 Dauphine).

Mayo's time was 56' 19", 6th fastest so far. So the top three is still 1. Pinotti at 54' 42", 2. Sorensen (CSC) 55' 05", 3. Paulinho (Wurth) at 55' 42".

Christophe "Bug-Taster" Moreau (AG2r) is on course. He is a decent time trialist, and his tongue is out sampling the buzzing road cuisine of his home country.

0705 PDT - Leipheimer has set the best time at the midway point. He is about 20" ahead of the best time. About 60 riders to go.

Moreau has a problem! His foot came out of the pedal, and he almost lost it on a short climb. OUCH. He almost got his business squashed on the top tube. But he kept it upright and avoided jeopardizing his future children, and managed to get back underway. That will cost him about 10" though.

Some recent finishers times:
Jose ROJAS GIL (Würth Team) : 1'00'33
Uros MURN (Phonak) : 58'32
Jose Luis ARRIETA (AG2R Prévoyance) : 57'33
Stéphane SCHRECK (T-Mobile) : 58'05
Pietro CAUCCHIOLI (Crédit Agricole) : 57'04

0710 PDT - The French directors of the TV images keep giving us shots of Moreau. Gustov comes in at 56' 22", not bad... in the top ten so far. Now Landis is on course, winding through the course with his funky new arms-up time trial position. It's the Kung Fu "Praying Mantis" position.

Landis is pushing a big gear. At the finish line, Azevedo of Discovery comes in at 55' 46", which is 4th best so far. That's a good sign for the Portuguese rider, who will be looking to have good form for the Tour where he will have some chances to get some results of his own this year. Gusev of Discovery is wearing the Russian Time Trial Champ jersey. At the finish, Leipheimer smashes the best time by 37"! His time is 54' 05", and that will be a hard time to beat. Gusev is going well, but he won't be likely to beat Leipheimer's time. Maybe Landis will have a shot.

0718 PDT - Menchov sets the 2nd best time at 7" behind Paulinho. Many riders have been slowing on the 2nd half of the course, but Leipheimer got faster and faster towards the end. That was the key: saving his bullets until the end. That shows how hard of a course this is. We'll see if Menchov, who won the Vuelta a España last year, can hold his pace until the end.

Astarloza (AG2r) finishes in 56' 47". That's good for about 8th so far. The French directors keep showing shots of Gusev; he must be going very well on this course. Of course, that Discovery / Russian TT Champ Jersey is freakin' cool looking. Another cool kit they show is that of Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne). He's looking strong, but we'll see what the clock shows.

0724 PDT - Oscar Sevilla (T-Mobile) crosses the line with a decent time. Horner (Davitamon/Lotto) puts in a good time at 55' 49", quite good as well. Sevilla was left off of T-Mobile's Tour de France squad, at least the preliminary list. Maybe they are saving him for the Vuelta. The Tour leaders for T-Mobile, Jan "U-Boat" Ullrich and Michael Rogers, will be riding in the Tour de Suisse as their final prep race for the Tour de France.

Ullrich won that race in 2004, and Rogers almost won it last year, surrendering the lead only on the final day in the mountains. Ullrich was kind of pack filler last year. We'll see if Ullrich can find some better form and work with Rogers for a T-Mobile win this year.

0729 PDT - Valverde, in the white suit of ProTour leader, is on a climb now. No word on his times yet. Ok here's something: Valverde was about 16" behind Landis at the 8.5km mark

Well now, Hincapie (Discovery) has just set the 2nd best time at the 8.5 km mark, 6" behind Paulinho and about 2" faster than Landis. Great ride for big George so far! For some reason, we're not getting shots of the start house. We're only getting some time checks from the first part of the course. Strange, that.

0733 PDT - So nobody has come close to Leipheimer's finishing time of 54' 05". Pinotti is still 2nd at 37" back. But several big hitters like Landis, Valverde, Vinokourov, and Hincapie have yet to come through. Zabriskie is also great at long, technical time trials like this.

In fact, Zabriskie won a similar stage in last year's Giro d'Italia. So he could really pull one out. And of course at the 8.5km mark, he has just set the best time at 14" faster than Paulinho and over 20" ahead of Hincapie and Landis. No pictures of him yet though. Lame.

Now at the 28.5 km mark, Landis has set a time of 36' 16", which is 4" faster than the previous best time of Leipheimer. So Landis of Phonak is going to threaten his compatriot of Gerolsteiner for the best time. This could shape up to be a big American civil war for the top five on this stage.

Here comes Menchov up to the finishing line: good time, 54' 53", 4th best so far. Somewhere in there Popovych (Discovery) set the 3rd best time of 54' 45". Still not close to Leipheimer at 54' 05" though.

Stuey "Donkey Kong" O'Grady (CSC) is on course and looking fast right now. The Aussie is a darned good time trialist, but he shouldn't threaten the top of the leader board at the end of the day.

0743 PDT - Lots of shots of O'Grady, but none yet of his teammate setting the best time. Some day they'll show us shots of Zabriskie, I'm sure. Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne) puts in a finishing time of 56' 11". Pereiro is a decent time trialist, but that time is over 2' 06" back of Leipheimer, not what Pereiro was hoping for.

Vinokourov comes through with the 8th best time only, over a minute behind Leipheimer. Vinokourov's time is 55' 29", 1' 24" behind Leipheimer. Ah, but Grabsch of Phonak puts in the 2nd best time of the day at the finish with 54' 26". Great ride for the teammate of Landis.

Now shots of Hincapie! The king Disco duck is looking quite good on his time trial bike. This will be interesting to see how he goes today. Can he be a real Tour contender? We'll find out over the next few stages. Hincapie's long, lean legs pound a huge gear into submission. His position looks a little high to me, but I'm not a wind tunnel. It's definitely lower and more aero than it used to be. He's just a big guy.

0753 PDT - Landis sets the best time! 53' 41", and that is a 24" beating of his compatriot Leipheimer! Wow, Landis really poured it on over the last section of the course. We'll see if Hincapie and Zabriskie can challenge in the American battle for time trial supremacy. Of course, men riding the Tour de Suisse instead of the Dauphine will factor into the Tour de France time trials: big Jan Ullrich will be the big favorite in the Tour time trials.

Wow, our firsts shot of Zabriskie shows him passing Egoi Martinez (Discovery). Don't feel bad, Egoi, this dude is more aerodynamic than a stealth bomber. Zabriskie is looking like he's going to blow everyone away today, but his work is cut out for him with that time of Landis.

0758 PDT - Can Zabriskie beat Landis in this time trial? Well he just smoked the best time at 28.5 km by 45"!! Zabriskie is flying! Can he challenge big Jan in the Tour time trials? Ullrich, of course, announced himself to the world by spanking none other than Miguel Indurain in the 1996 Tour de France by over 1' to take his first Tour stage win. Ullrich was 2nd on GC that year behind his teammate Riis. He's the 800 pound gorilla of time trialing, but Zabriskie looks like he might give him a challenge.

0803 PDT - Gusev of Discovery sets a strong time! He is across the line in 54' 42". Valverde did well too, finishing with a time of 54' 51". Strong times for both riders.

So David "Friskie" Zabriskie (CSC) is still smoking this course. He might give them all a beating by over a minute. His form is perfect, just like his sarcasm. That guy is a riot, very funny and nice and understated. It's a joy to watch him torture the European press with his deadpan delivery: they can never get his subtleties. Of course the British get him, but the French and Spanish and Italian media members lose a lot in translation.

Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) is 3' 20" down on Zabriskie at the 28.5 km check. What kind of a beating is Z-man giving Gilbert, the race leader? Can Zabriskie take the five and a half minutes he needs to take over the race lead? Well, maybe!

O'Grady finished in 3' 40" behind Landis. He didn't push hard at the end, so he'll be just saving those bullets for the Tour de France. Hmmm... the media swarm behind Zabriskie makes him look like he's going fast that he's kicking up a wake of motorcycles.

0810 PDT - Here comes Mancebo, the AG2r leader... 1' 56" back, 55' 38" for his time. That's pretty good for Mancebo, who is a super duper climber, but not a great time trialist. These next two mountain stages will be interesting.

Here's Hincapie! 54' 23" for the Big Hink, a very solid time for the Discovery leader. That is 42" slower than Landis, and about 18" slower than Leipheimer. George has improved his time trialing for sure: he has the 3rd best time so far.

Here comes Dave Z! The Friskie one sets the best time at 52' 48", 53" better than Landis. Well, he sure opened up that big can of Utah Whupass today! I didn't know Utah had cans of whupass, but there you go! Zabriskie will win the stage easily, but is this good enough to take the Yellow and Blue Jersey again?

Gilbert (FDJeux) is not doing badly: the race leader is only losing a little more than 1' 30" to Zabriskie so far. He'll lose another minute or so, but he should keep his Yellow and Blue Jersey by the end of the day. Well, Gilbert has passed his 2' man Fabian Wegmann of Gerolsteiner! Gilbert really is having a good day!

0820 PDT - Tommy V comes up to the finish line over 3' behind Zabriskie. Voeckler is a great attacking rider, but time trials don't seem to agree with him.

Result (Provisional)
1 Zabriskie 52'48
2 Landis 53'41
3 Leipheimer 54'05

4 Hincapie 54'23
5 Grabsch 54'26
6 Pinotti 54'42
7 Gusev 54'42
8 Popovych 54'45
9 Lang 54'51
10 Valverde 54'51

11 Menchov 54'53
12 Sorensen 55'05
13 Martinez 55'11
14 Vandborg 55'17
15 Gilbert 55'28
16 Vinokourov 55'29
17 Chavanel 55'33
18 Azevedo 55'37
19 Mancebo 55'38
20 Paulinho 55'42

It looks like the top four spots are Americans. Interesting. Lance is sitting somewhere having a beer, thinking, "Yep!" and smiling. Gilbert comes up to the finish at 55' 28", losing 2' 39" to Zabriskie. Still, that's a decent ride for sure. Gilbert will stay in the lead. Which means he won't lose that Blue and Yellow Jersey until he gets blitzed on Ventoux tomorrow. If he can still hold it after that, well, it would be a major feat.

0824 PDT - So David "Utah Whupass" Zabriskie has won the stage with his time of 52' 48". He's up to 2nd on GC at 2' 47".

General Classification:
1. Gilbert (FDJeux)
2. Zabriskie (CSC) @ 2' 47"
3. Landis (Phonak) @ 3' 48"
4. Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) @ 4' 20"
5. Hincapie (Discovery Channel) @ 4' 24"

Zabriskie in the interview says that he sometimes has difficulty in the big mountains, so it will be hard for him to win the GC in this race, but he will try. He frustrates the French interviewers by refusing to say who is going to be on the Tour team, saying that is the decision of Riis.

0830 PDT - Zabriskie smiles on the podium. Or more like smirks. He is surely one of the elite in regards to the time trial these days. It would be something if he could push Ullrich in the Tour time trials. He'll have to leave it to his teammate Basso to challenge Ullrich in the mountains.

Gilbert smiles on the podium in the Yellow and Blue Jersey. He's happy to be able to hold off the flying squadron of American time trialists today. This is really a breakthrough season for the Belgian, and he has really shown his quality from the spring classics all the way up to this race.

Stage 4 will see some flattish terrain, until the riders get to Mont Ventoux. That will be the first big showdown to see who really has their legs. There is no hiding on Ventoux: either you have it or you don't.

Sorry for the slow delivery of the last part of the live coverage. The price of the continuing growth of the Daily Peloton readership is putting demands on our server it can't handle. However, we are happy to announce that we will be moving to a newer and faster server in the next week so we don't have this as a continuing problem in the future. Thanks for hanging in with us as we make the transition.

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 3 G.C. & Photos

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