Competitive Cyclist
Full Speed Ahead
Crank Brothers
Special feature: the new Quattro road pedal
Javelin Bicycles
Hed Cycling
Zero Gravity
Shop at Cyclingnews.com

56th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré - 2.HC

France, June 6-13, 2004

Main    Stage profile    Start list    Latest live report      Results

Stage 4 - June 10: Bédoin - Le Mont Ventoux ITT, 21.6 km

Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Chris Henry and Tim Maloney

Complete live report

Live coverage starts: 14:30 CEST
Estimated finish time: 16:30 CEST

14:41 CEST   
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the fourth stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, the all-important race against the clock (and the mountain) from Bedoin to the top of Le Mont Ventoux. Although there are still some tough stages before the finish in Grenoble, this stage should determine who has the legs to be Dauphiné champion in 2004.

Of particular interest will be the performances of Lance Armstrong, Iban Mayo and Tyler Hamilton, all of whom will be using this as a litmus test for the Alpe d'Huez TT stage in the Tour de France. Only 2 seconds separates these three on the general classification, and it's likely that one of them will take over the lead from Phonak's Jose Enrique Gutierrez at the end of the day. But which one will it be?

Today's stage will be run in warm (30 degrees) and fairly calm conditions, which will make for a very testing 60-70 minutes of climbing. Not all riders can handle the heat in the same way.

The climb to Mont Ventoux is very challenging, as the riders ascend 1629 metres in 21.6 km, an average gradient of 7.5%.

14:48 CEST   
The first rider, Josu Silloniz (Euskaltel), was off today at 12:30, eventually finishing the climb in 1:08:40. The record for this climb is 56:50, held by Jonathan Vaughters, a former pro with US Postal and Credit Agricole and now a director of the US TIAA-Cref team. Cyclingnews spoke to Vaughters at the start today in Bedoin, and he gave us his prognostic:

"My prediction is that the record will be broken and that it will be Mayo who does it," he said. "Whoever beats it will be around 56 minutes flat. I think Armstrong will be second but I think Mayo will beat Armstrong by so much that it'll worry him..."

Vaughters added that "Third place will be some Phonak guy, but not Tyler Hamilton."

14:50 CEST   
Another rider off early was Erik Dekker (Rabobank), who finished in a time of 1:05:02, so it's definitely not easy work out there. Similarly David Millar (Cofidis) ended in 1:08:51. The best time thus far is Credit Agricole's Pierrick Fedrigo, who clocked 1:01:36 for his 21.6 km.

14:54 CEST   
One of Fedrigo's teammates, Dmitri Muravyev, has also done a relatively good time of 1:03:21, which puts him in third (provisionally) at the moment. Credit Agricole's hopes are resting with Christophe Moreau today.

15:00 CEST   
Riders are starting at 2 minute intervals today, with the last rider off being Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak). He will be preceded by Iban Mayo, Tyler Hamilton, Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pereiro in reverse order.

15:04 CEST   
At the moment, Fedrigo still has the quickest time in 1:01:32, but there have been some other good times done at the intermediate check points. Michael Rogers (Quick.Step) has started very fast and passed through the 5.7 km mark in 10'47. His teammate Richard Virenque, who beat Lance Armstrong on this climb in the Tour two years ago, did 11'11 at the same point.

15:07 CEST   
Jorg Jaksche (CSC) has finished his ride in a time of 1:04:45, which is not going to be one of the better times today. When we spoke to him at the start, he said, "I'm feeling ok but I'm still getting better after the crash [where he broke his arm]. I'm omproving but I still have a bit of a way to go."

15:08 CEST   
Jaksche's teammate Ivan Basso (CSC) has summited in 1:02:35, which will put him in second place provisionally behind Fedrigo, who still has the best time.

15:12 CEST   
Here comes Michael Rogers! The Australian has ridden a solid time trial and has dethroned Fedrigo from the top spot with a time of 1:00:36. That's the fastest time by a minute. Iker Flores (Euskaltel) has also ridden well, finishing in 1:01:43, which puts him in third overall behind Rogers and Fedrigo.

15:17 CEST   
One rider who knows Mont Ventoux fairly well is retired Italian pro Eros Poli, who actually won a Tour stage in 1994 that passed over the climb and finished in Carpentras. Poli will be the first to admit that he's no climber, but he was out on his bike today and managed to get up Ventoux in about 1 hour 50 minutes.

15:22 CEST   
Some news about Floyd Landis, who started at 2:30pm today. He has gone through the 15.5 km check in a time of 41'48, which is definitely the best to that point so far today. With 6 km to go, he's looking good to go under the hour.

15:23 CEST   
Christophe Moreau has started well, passing the 5.7 km check in 10'39, that's 8 seconds quicker than Rogers at the same point. Landis went through in 11'19, but has obviously picked up his pace since then.

Yesterday's stage winner Nicolas Portal (Ag2r) has finished in a decent time of 1:03:49.

15:24 CEST   
Of the sprinters, Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) has ridden up in 1:08:22, some eight minutes slower than his compatriot Michael Rogers, who still holds the best time.

15:27 CEST   
US Postal's Victor Hugo Pena has ridden himself into second overall (provisionally) behind Rogers, with a time of 1:01:21. Still no-one has managed to break the hour.

David Moncoutie (Cofidis) has equalled Moreau's time at the 5.7 km check with a 10'39.

15:29 CEST   
Things are looking good for Quick.Step at the moment, as Juan Miguel Mercado flies through the 15.5 km check in 39'37! He's the first rider under 40 minutes, and will surely go under the hour. But his teammate Virenque wasn't quite as quick at that point in 45'26.

15:32 CEST   
The crowds today are quite large, considering it's a work day and it isn't the Tour de France. Most of the riders are choosing to ride standard road bikes, sans aero-bars or disc wheels. Aerodynamics are still important, but getting the weight down to the magic 6.8 kg mark (UCI limit) is also a priority.

15:33 CEST   
The times are gradually improving now, as Chaurreau comes home in 1:02:59, Jean-Cyril Robin in 1:01:25 and Manuel Beltran in (1:02:46).

15:40 CEST   
Lance Armstrong, who will start very soon, was looking a little nervous last night in the hotel. Well he should be, as he knows this is a big stage, one where he has a very good chance to finally conquer Mont Ventoux with a victory. He won't be holding back today, you can be sure.

15:41 CEST   
Landis comes across in 1 hour flat! He has the new best time, 36 seconds quicker than Mick Rogers.

15:44 CEST   
Landis' time doesn't last long as Juan Miguel Mercado (Quick.Step) powers to the top in an impressive 57'39, just 49 seconds shy of Vaughters' 1999 TT record. Note: Armstrong rode a quicker time during the 2002 Tour stage when he was chasing Virenque, but that wasn't an official TT.

15:47 CEST   
Stephane Goubert (Ag2r) comes up behind Mercado in a time of 59'27, the second rider to go under the hour.

Further down the mountain, Iban Mayo has started very well in a time of 10'04 for the first 5.7 km. Not sure of the other favourites' times to that point yet.

15:51 CEST   
The race leader, Jose Gutierrez, has already lost 30 seconds to Mayo at the 5.7 km mark. He didn't expect to hold onto yellow today, and he won't.

Moreau is past the 15.5 km mark in 42'01, which is one of the better times to date but it's still nearly 2'30 slower than Mercado. The Quick.Step climber holds the top time at the moment in 57:39.

Benjamin Noval (USPS) has finished in 1:03:49.

15:55 CEST   
The top three thus far: Juan Miguel Mercado (Quick.Step) in 57'39, Stephane Goubert (Ag2r) in 59'27 and Floyd Landis (USPS) in 1:00'00.

15:59 CEST   
Lance Armstrong has started, but we're still waiting on his first time check.

Iker Camano (Euskaltel) is at the top in 1:01:22, just a little slower than Sandy Casar (FDJ) in 1:01:20.

Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel) is second quickest at 15.5 km in 40'53. Mercado's time will take some beating.

16:02 CEST   
José Azévédo (USPS) is at the top now in 1:00:09, fourth fastest to date.

16:03 CEST   
The wind is generally against the riders today, although it's not particularly strong. This will have the effect of slowing the times down a little.

16:06 CEST   
David Moncoutie (Cofidis) is home in 59'50, third best time so far.

At the first time check, Lance Armstrong has caught Stuart O'Grady, who started four minutes in front of him!

Oscar Sévilla (Phonak) has ridden well to the second time check at 15.5 km, coming through in 39'39, just a handful of seconds slower than current leader Mercado.

16:08 CEST   
Correction to earlier correction: Mercado did in fact ride 57'39. Glad we got that sorted out.

Thomas Voeckler (Brioches) is hauling, according to our reported Chris Henry on the mountain. He has passed Moreau, who started a minute in front of him.

16:11 CEST   
Oscar Sevilla (Phonak) should be finishing his ride soon. He was only 2 seconds slower than Mercado at 15.5 km, so he could well find that extra bit to go faster than his compatriot, who still holds the best time in 57'39.

16:12 CEST   
Lance Armstrong has passed the 15.5 km mark in 40'02 in the fourth best time behind Mercado (39'37), Sevilla (39'39) and....Tyler Hamilton in 39'21!!

16:13 CEST   
Tyler Hamilton has obviously acclimatised to the heat, having knocked 16 seconds off Mercado's time at the 15.5 km mark. Will Armstrong be beaten on Mont Ventoux again today? He needs 41 seconds in the last 6 km to catch Hamilton.

16:14 CEST   
But Hamilton is not quick enough for Iban Mayo, who flies past the 15.5 km mark in 39'04! Jonathan Vaughters predictions are starting to look quite good at the moment.

16:16 CEST   
Michael Rasmussen (Rabobank) has ridden very well to finish in 59'24, the second best time after Mercado's 57'39. But what will Mayo, Hamilton, Sevilla and Armstrong do?

16:17 CEST   
Here comes Sevilla...excellent time by Spaniard in 56'54, just 4 seconds shy of Vaughters' ITT record.

Race leader Jose Gutierrez (Phonak) went past 15.5 km in a good time of 40'28, but he has effectively already lost the lead.

16:19 CEST   
Levi Leipheimer is now home in 59'12, third best behind Sevilla. Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r) has also finished in 1:02:15.

16:21 CEST   
Mayo is riding very well, and is on track to set the best time. We're just waiting for him, Armstrong, Gutierrez and Hamilton to finish.

16:26 CEST   
It was Sevilla who posted the 56'54. He started the day at 19 seconds down on GC, so he is effectively the overall leader (for a short while). We're still waiting for Hamilton and co. Apologies!

16:31 CEST   
The next riders to follow Sevilla are Laurent Lefevre, Stuart O'grady, Cyril Dessel, Oscar Pereiro, Lance Armstrong, Tyler Hamilton, Iban Mayo and José Enrique Gutierrez. We'll have their times as soon as they are available.

16:33 CEST   
Tyler Hamilton comes through in 56'26, closely followed by Lance Armstrong in 57'49...

16:34 CEST   
But the new best time and the new leader of the Dauphine Libere is Iban Mayo, who has blizted Vaughters' record by a minute with an incredible time of 55'51!! He wins the stage and takes the jersey. Hamilton second ahead of Sevilla, Mercado and Armstrong.

16:38 CEST   
What a nail biting stage! The Dauphine GC has been turned on its head again, with Iban Mayo the new race leader ahead of Hamilton by 36 seconds and Sevilla by 1'14. Phonak certainly has the numbers to attack Mayo in the final three stages, so it's not over yet...

Armstrong was fifth today, and lost nearly 2 minutes to Mayo. As Vaughters said to us at the start, "This will worry him".

That's all from us here at the Dauphine. We hope you enjoyed our "cameo" live coverage of the ITT. Unfortunately it's not possible to do more this week. But please check in later for full results, report and photos from this stage.


1 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                          55.51
2 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems                 0.35
3 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems                  1.03
4 Juan Miguel Mercado (Spa) Quick.Step-Davitamon              1.48
5 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal presented by Berry Floor    1.58
6 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank                              3.21
7 Michael Rasmussen (Den) Rabobank                            3.33
8 Stéphane Goubert (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance                      3.36
9 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, le credit par Telephone      3.59
10 Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal presented by Berry Floor      4.09

General classification after stage 4

1 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                        
2 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems                 0.36
3 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems                  1.14
4 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal presented by Berry Floor    2.00

Mail the commentary team     Results    


Back to top