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Criterium Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 7 Live
By Staff
Date: 6/11/2006
Criterium Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 7 Live

Criterium Dauphiné Libéré - Stage 7 Live

Welcome to our live coverage of the final stage of the Criterium Dauphiné Libéré  the riders have 4 climbs in the challenge today after they leave the Hotel d'Ville start:
 3rd catégory,col du Barioz,  1038 m, km 74,
the col des Ayes, 4th catégory, 944 m.  km 84,
col des Mouilles, 4th catégory, 1020 m. km 92
and the 4th catégory côte des Roussets,  889 m, km 11.5

Three riders have been dropped from  the race for rule violations Benoît Sinner was pulled along by the Agritubel car. Joseba Albizu (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Mauro Da Dalto (Liquigas) were also caught pacing on race motorbikes. Wim Van Huffel of Davitamon/Lotto did not show for the start.

Today Levi Leipheimer is in the Maillot jaune et bleu of race leader, Christophe Moreau in the red polka dot climbers jersey, Francisco Mancebo in the Maillot Vert of points and Denis Menchov of the Maillot Bleu of combination points leader. Its a hot day today and temperatures are expected in the 29 centigrade range so it will be a hot day on the climbs that could effect the riders.

There are 2 intermediary sprints on this stage: Aiguebelle, km 31 and Allevard, boulevard Jules Ferry, km 64.5. In the early action a few half hearted attempts were made for breakaways without success. but O'Grady of CSC finally escaped the peloton and was joined by Agributel rider Coutouly  and quickly gained 1:20 on a disinterested peloton.

By the first intermediate sprint at 31km which O'Grady won, the lads had 2:49 gap over the peloton and were joined by Guido Trenti. By km 53 in la Rochette the trio had a gap of  over 4 minutes.

Stage 7: Juin, Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne / Grenoble - 131 Km

Going through the second intermediate sprint in Allevard the order was O'Grady, Coutouly and Trenti as they rolled toward the first climbing challenge of the day the col du Barioz. The three lads have 4:35 as they start the climb of 6.5 km to the top of the col du Barioz.

No surprise Guido Trenti more known as a sprinter, has faltered on the climb, which makes me wonder how long O'Grady can drive the break on a day with some serious climbing challenges. O'Grady is first over the Barioz  followed by Coutouly and Trenti only a remarkable 15 seconds behind.

Only 3kms to the col des Ayes as the trio forges on Charteau and Fofonov cross the summit leading the peloton.

O'grady now leads on the climb of the Ayes.

81 kms into the race  O'Grady has 3:15 as he solo's to the Ayes summit. Back at the Peloton Credit Agricole looks to be serious as they drive the front and start eating at O'Grady's lead.

The Yellow Jersey group on stage 6 led by CSC.
Photo (c) Tim DeWaele

38 km to go the peloton is 2: 35 behind O'Grady, Coutouly at 1:25 behind the man from Oz, as Trenti is swamped by the green jerseys of Credit Agricole leading the peloton. Levi Leipheimer and Christophe Moreau look  comfortable in the pack as the chase continues. Floyd Landis has dropped off the back and is having a talk with his D.S. he may trying to decide whether he will continue the stage or drop out having suffered with a cold the last three days.

Coultouly is 1:50 behind Stuart O'Grady as he starts the descent of the  col des Mouilles. O'Grady is flying down the descent.

32 km to go: O'grady is 1: 58 ahead of the peloton still led by Credit Agricole as the gap comes down. Noval has regained the peloton after a crash earlier on the descent. Credit Agricole is driving the pace now as the pack stretches out single file on the valley floor on the way to the next col.

O'Grady pushes on toward the last climb up the 4th catégory côte des Roussets,  889 metres elevation climb with a descent to the finish of 16 kms to Grenoble... O'Grady was hardly the CSC rider I expected to attack today, but he looks solid for the win if he can stay away with any time at the summit of Roussets.

Stuart is climbing strongly and he still has 1:50 over the peloton with a bit of luck he's on his way to the top step of the podium. Speaking of podiums, barring any bad turns of events Levi Leipheimer will have the victory in Grenoble and a nice addition to his palmares with the win for this Dauphine.

O'Grady is powering up the climb of the Roussetes in and out of the saddle as he presses on toward the victory, if he loses this one it won't be due to a lack of pure effort, his gap is down to 1:30 as the peloton is flying through the valley in the beautiful French countryside. Ag2R is now on the front giving Moreau's team a bit of a hand in the chase as the gap closes down to 1:15 to Stuart.

19kms to go: O'Grady has a few kms to the summit 1:11 is the gap. The peloton is 3 km in arrears but moving fast.

Peloton at 20km to go... Levi Leipheimer is near the front as AG2R lead the pace, with a few Credit Agricole in attendance. O'Grady nearing the top of la Roussetes grabs a water bottle from the CSC support vehicle as drives it up this skinny country road surrounded by the green of the Spring grasses.

Valverde now at the front of the chase as O'Grady powers over the summit. Man they are driving the chase madly behind O'Grady. Go Stuart! If there ever was a time to put your time trial and descent skills to work it's right now.

15 kms to go :45 seconds lead for O'Grady is absolutely flying down the mountain.

13 kms to go: :20 seconds gap... O'Grady full out in his time trial position...

8 kms to go:  : 27 seconds gap as the a Disco and Phonak rider attack. Gusev gets a gap

5 kms to go: the peloton, what's left of them... only 50 or so riders stretches out in the chase, but O'Grady holds on with 15 seconds...

2 kms to the finish O'Grady dangles a hundred metres out in front of the peloton as they are ready to bring him back. Rabo on the front now Posthuma, now Quickstep to the front.

1 kms to go its FDJ to the front for Gilbert and Credit Agricole driving the sprint trains, Stuart O'Grady is absorbed after a super effort! ... Hincapie makes a jump with the group as they race to the finish.

600 metres Gilbert to the front, Thor Hushvod comes around Gilbert and Dumoulin  .

200 metres and its Thor Hushvod for the Win!!!!!!!!!! two bike lengths gap to what looks like Gilbert 2nd and Dumoulin third. Hincapie in there for a placing but hard to tell from the camera angle just what the riders took on the finish.

Hammer Down for Thor Hushvod in Grenoble!
Photo c. Fotoreporter Sirotti

Levi Leipheimer is comfortably tucked in the peloton for the win.

Result Stage 7
1. Thor Hushvod 
2. Samuel Dumoulin 
3. Philippe Gilbert
4. George Hincapie
5. Jerome Pineau
6. Francisco Mancebo

Thor Hushvod steps on the podium smiling broadly to accept the kisses from the lovely miss almost as tall as the Norwegian giant and the flowers for the stage win.

Stuart O'Grady steps to the podium to receive the well deserved trophy for the most aggressive rider on the stage, his face mirrors his disappointment of being caught a mere kilometer from the line.

The AG2R team now on the stage to accept the trophy for top team, with Moreau in 2nd they've ridden a strong race. Christophe Moreau follows to accept the red and white polka dot jersey for the mountains competition and Mancebo to take the maillot vert as points leader... nice to see the French team do so well, this bodes well for le tour and the animation they will bring to the race.

Moreau is back again to receive the maillot bleu as the combined points leader.

A smiling Levi Leipheimer steps to the stage to stand alongside the beautiful podium lass to receive his maillot jaune et bleu as the winner of the 2006 Dauphiné Libéré improving his performance of last year's 3rd place, showing very good form for the tour de France. 

No changes to the G.C. after today's stage:

1 LEIPHEIMER Levi 21 GST (USA) :00
2 MOREAU Christophe 107 A2R (FRA) 
3 KOHL Bernhard 114 TMO (AUT) 
4 AZEVEDO Jose 32 DSC (POR) 
5 MANCEBO Francisco 101 A2R (ESP) 
6 MENCHOV Denis 121 RAB (RUS) 
7 VALVERDE Alejandro 81 CEI (ESP) 
8 PIEPOLI Leonardo 61 SDV (ITA) 
9 CAUCCHIOLI Pietro 71 C.A (ITA) 
10 HINCAPIE George 36 DSC (USA)

This concludes our live coverage... Thanks for joining us.
Discuss the races with fans and riders from around the world in the  Daily Peloton Chat Room  and  discuss the race, race tactics and your favorite riders on the Daily Peloton Forums.
Full official results  and photos to follow.

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