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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

70th Flèche Wallonne - PT

Belgium, April 19, 2006

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A very rare breed indeed

Valverde claims first major classic atop the Mur de Huy

By Anthony Tan & Brecht Decaluwé in Huy, with additional reporting from Shane Stokes

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Alejandro Valverde is a rarity in cycling: he can climb like a mountain goat and sprint like a track cyclist. The Spaniard gave a glimpse of his talents when he arrived on the scene as a fresh-faced 21 year-old for Kelme in 2002. Four years later and at the top of one of the steepest sections of road in the world, the now 25 year-old showcased that amazing versatility to claim his first major classic in the 70th edition of La Flèche Wallonne.

"My main focus was to win this race, nothing else," said Valverde, "but there were a lot of other guys aiming for the same goal. It was a very fast race, but I had very good legs. I tried to wait as long as possible as the CSC train constantly brought everything back. When [David] Etxebarria attacked, I just followed him, and when I saw that Samuel Sanchez and Karsten Kroon were coming back to us, I accelerated at my maximum.

"It's only the second time I've competed at this race. The 'Mur' pleased me [the first time] and I wanted to come back here; yesterday, we did a reconnaissance ride with the team, and I liked it even more!" he joked.

One not in so jovial a mood was second-placed Samuel Sanchez from Euskaltel-Euskadi, looking particularly unhappy at the line, before saying his legs just about exploded trying to follow Valverde's wheel. Nevertheless, the Basque declared he would come back to win this race one day.

Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

While the Mur de Huy may have decided the outcome in its typical 'last man standing' scenario, it was in fact the penultimate climb of the Côte de Ahin eleven kilometres before that created the winning selection. Matthias Kessler's savage acceleration, taking Igor Astarloa (Barloworld), Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step-Innergetic) and Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) for company marked the first definitive split. Shortly afterwards, another eight or so more made it across to make a dirty dozen with all the usual suspects.

Third-placed Karsten Kroon (Team CSC) was one of those suspects, who indicated to Cyclingnews before the start in Charleroi he had come to the Ardennes for a specific reason: "I'm hoping to go for the win today. But in the end, the Mur de Huy is such a hard finish, it's everybody for himself, and the strongest rider will win there - and I hope that will be me," he said.

Unfortunately for him, the Dutchman fell two places short, but against an unbeatable Valverde and super Sanchez, he can walk away with confidence in time for a race he knows very well indeed: Sunday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

"It just felt great; guys like Basso and Sastre were doing the work for me today - can you imagine that?" smiled Kroon, still looking a little perplexed at the honour. "They brought me into an ideal position at the foot of the Mur de Huy, a type of finish that suits me very well. On every climb, I just set myself a pace which allowed me not to go into the red.

Rodriguez and Basso
Photo ©: Sirotti
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"After the penultimate climb, I didn't need to panic because some riders were dropped. When Valverde, Bettini, Kessler and Astarloa attacked, Basso set a high pace to bring them all back. That way, they lost a lot of energy going into the final sprint uphill. At that moment, I was still feeling very fresh."

"Until today, I've actually only done this race once before - but I know Liège," he forewarned, "and I know I can do well. My morale is extremely high, so I can get close there as well."

Kroon's fourth-placed team-mate and last Sunday's Amstel champion, Fränk Schleck, was his usual aggressive self during today's outing in the Belgian Ardennes. And like Kroon, the Luxembourger provided confirmation that Team CSC's success this spring has been no fluke, and he too will go to 'La Doyenne' in the form of his life. Equally, defending champion Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas) has nothing to be ashamed of. Despite his focus on the upcoming Giro d'Italia, the 'Killer from Spoltore' was part of the final move, but didn't quite have the last bit of oomph in a finale that simply rewards the rider with the best legs.

The podium (L to R):
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

From sprint finishes at the Vuelta a España to a memorable mountain stage victory at last year's Tour de France, along with his world championship silver medal in Madrid last year, Valverde can do it all. But the question now begs: what will this man of many talents choose to specialise in? More classics, more stage wins? Or perhaps, just perhaps, overall victory in this year's Tour de France...

Responded Valverde: "My team manager was convinced that I could do it [today]. Last year, I already finished second at the world championships in Madrid - now I know that he's right: I should combine both, Classics and a Grand Tour.

"The program of this year is very different compared to last year. Last year, I was already at 100 percent in the early season at Mallorca. So at the Classics, I was already over my best form. We will have to see if I'm able to reach my best form again in the Tour de France, but first, there's another important race on Sunday."

How it unfolded

The peloton
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Following clear blood tests for the 28 riders from the QuickStep, Davitamon-Lotto, Team Milram and Lampre – Fondital teams this morning, they and 165 others lined out in sunny conditions for the start of the 70th Flèche Wallonne. There were two late withdrawals from the race, Manuele Mori (Saunier Duval) and Frank Vandenbroucke (Unibet) both missing from the départ in Charleroi.

VDB’s place was taken up by Erwin Thijs, giving Unibet their full complement of riders, but Phonak were left a man down when Koos Moerenhout crashed before the official drop of the flag, briefly losing consciousness but not breaking any bones.

The first attack of the day was by Daniel Musiol (Milram), but no move succeeded in staying clear for any length of time until José Luis Arrieta (Ag2R Prevoyance) and Frédéric Finot (Française Des Jeux) powered away after 30 kilometres. Despite the delay of a puncture by Finot, the two continued to pile on their advantage. They were 4’25 clear of the Danilo Di Luca-led peloton at the top of the first ascent of the Mur de Huy (65.5 km), then reached their maximum lead of 7’35 by the same point one lap later (95 km).

Arrieta and Finot
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

However a pursuit by Milram and then the Discovery Channel team saw the lead drop to 4'08 with 94 kms to go. Past winner Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) and Wim van Huffel (Davitamon) had both pulled out of the race by this point, struck down by stomach problems.

Two kilometres later a group containing Stijn Devolder (Discovery Channel), Andriy Grivko (Team Milram), Marcus Fothen (Gerolsteiner), Jörg Jaksche, Alan Davis (Liberty Seguros - Würth), Vicente Garcia Acosta (Caisse D’Epargne-Illes Balears), Matthias Kessler (T-Mobile), Tadej Valjavec (Lampre-Fondital) and Jens Voigt (CSC) set off in pursuit. However, although this move was eventually reeled in by the peloton, Kessler had flown the coop by that point and, with 87 kilometres to go, he was just 1’20 back.

The peloton was becoming more active. Two kilometres later, it had hauled back the German. A succession of attacks then further reduced the advantage of Arrieta and Finot, including a short effort by former Italian national champion Salvatore Commesso (Lampre-Fondital). With 78 kilometres to go their move had come to an end, prompting a jump six kilometres later by Joost Posthuma (Rabobank). The Dutchman got 15 seconds but by the start of the Cote de Pailhe (69 km) he was caught by Matej Mugerli (Liquigas) and Voigt. These were reeled in, as was Stijn Devolder (Discovery Channel), but when Oscar Freire (Rabobank) and Phonak rider Alex Moos struck out 63 kilometres from the finish, they finally succeeded in getting some daylight on the bunch.

Oscar Freire (Rabobank)
Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Despite the efforts of riders such as Stefano Garzelli (Liquigas), David Etxebarria (Liberty Seguros – Würth) and others to get across, the leading duo continued to preserve their advantage. After hovering between 15 and 25 seconds clear for several kilometres, they started to pull further away and with 50 kilometres to go, they were just under a minute clear. The gap then rose to 1’19 ten kilometres later and stayed around that point for another 10 clicks, until a big attack by Peter Lüttenberger (CSC) on the Côte de Bohissau sparked off aggression by others such as Paolo Bettini (Quick Step – Innergetic), 2003 winner Igor Astarloa (Barloworld), and a general acceleration by the peloton.

The efforts by Bettini, Astarloa, Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), Frank Schleck, Karsten Kroon (Team CSC), Di Luca, Kessler, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) and several others were beginning to take their toll. With 28 kilometres to go the leaders were just 39 seconds clear of Koldo Gil Perez (Saunier Duval), who had scooted off the front of the 50-rider peloton. This lead continued to ebb under the pressure of Juan Manuel Garate and Serge Baguet, the Spanish and Belgian national champions driving the pace for their teammate Bettini, and once onto the Côte de Ahin, Moos cracked and slipped backwards. Freire soldiered on but he too succumbed on the climb, being passed by the splintering, surging front group with 12 kilometres to go.

Photo ©: Sirotti
(Click for larger image)

Kessler (T-Mobile) then put in a serious acceleration, jumping away with Astarloa for company. Bettini quickly grabbed their wheels but overbalanced and drifted off the road, just about avoiding running into a parked car. Despite the time lost, he was about to get back up to the leading two, as was Alejandro Valverde. Then, with 10 kilometres to go, these were joined by approximately a dozen others, who each began jumping around in a determined effort to get clear.

Valverde attacked, taking Kessler and Astarloa with him, but chasing efforts by Basso and others got them back. Valverde tried again, though, dragging a seven man group clear. Also present were Di Luca, Schleck, Bettini, Sinkewitz, Etxebarria (Liberty) and Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel), while Basso was amongst those who had slipped back. However he, Kroon, Rodriguez (Caisse d'Epargne), Marzoli (Lampre), Bertagnolli (Cofidis), Astarloa, Wegmann (Gerolsteiner), Gil and Leukemans (Davitamon) were able to catch on with four kilometres to go. The latter wasted no time in surging clear, accelerating away at an impressive pace and carrying a few seconds' advantage onto the climb.

Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

It looked promising, but the ferocious Mur de Huy proved far too steep. Sanchez flew across to him and then the former world champion Igor Astarloa bridged and went clear. It looked like he was on course to repeat his 2003 win but he dramatically cracked near the top, the Spaniard being passed by Etxebarria, Sanchez, Valverde and Kroon. Valverde then kicked a few metres later and powered away to take an impressive victory, leaving the minor spoils for the others to scrap over.

The Tour de France may be still two and a half months away, but like Floyd Landis, Alexandre Vinokourov and Ivan Basso, Valverde has shown the motivation and condition to win before July.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Brecht Decaluwé/Cyclingnews.com

Images by Luc Claessen/www.ctm-images.com

Images by Roberto Bettini/www.bettiniphoto.net

Images by Anthony Tan/Cyclingnews.com

Results - 202 km

1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears              4.42.45 (42.865 km/h)
2 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                      
3 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC                                                
4 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                                
5 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                    0.03
6 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas                                           0.05
7 David Etxebarria (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                       0.07
8 Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                              0.10
9 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) T-Mobile Team                                      0.12
10 Matthias Kessler (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                   0.14
11 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                      0.16
12 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic                                  
13 Benoit Salmon (Fra) Agritubel                                          0.23
14 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) T-Mobile Team                                     0.24
15 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                        0.26
16 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Barloworld                                             
17 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Team Milram                                      0.29
18 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                          
19 Christopher Horner (USA) Davitamon-Lotto                                   
20 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team         0.31
21 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux                              0.32
22 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                 0.34
23 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) AG2R Prevoyance                                    
24 Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank                                              
25 Ruggero Marzoli (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                  0.36
26 Giuliano Figueras (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                    
27 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone            0.42
28 Didier Rous (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                     0.44
29 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Rabobank                                       0.48
30 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Liquigas                                        0.51
31 Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir                          0.52
32 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC                                              0.53
33 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Team Milram                                        0.57
34 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                 1.00
35 Angel Vicioso (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                         1.07
36 Bjorn Leukemans (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                  1.15
37 Marco Marzano (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                    1.42
38 Mario Aerts (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                      1.44
39 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                                           1.45
40 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                    
41 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                   1.48
42 Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Davitamon-Lotto                                      
43 Christophe Laurent (Fra) Agritubel                                     1.50
44 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                                      
45 Alberto Contador (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                      1.51
46 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) Quick Step-Innergetic                             1.53
47 José Azevedo (Por) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                  1.55
48 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                            1.56
49 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                                                 
50 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone                  1.59
51 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone                    
52 Joseba Albizu (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                      
53 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Lampre-Fondital                                       
54 Inaki Isasi (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                        
55 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Unibet.com                                       2.04
56 Manuel Calvente (Spa) Agritubel                                            
57 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                    
58 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Credit Agricole                                      
59 Christophe Moreau (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                                2.08
60 Hugo Sabido (Por) Barloworld                                           2.10
61 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Unibet.com                                           
62 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank                                              
63 Uros Murn (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems                                 2.12
64 Stephane Goubert (Fra) AG2R Prevoyance                                     
65 Ryan Cox (RSA) Barloworld                                                  
66 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux                                       
67 Walter Beneteau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                     
68 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen                
69 Steven Kleynen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                               
70 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                              
71 Iker Camano (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                    2.17
72 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                        
73 David Arroyo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                      2.20
74 Aitor Perez Arrieta (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                   
75 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank                                            2.23
76 Axel Merckx (Bel) Phonak Hearing Systems                               2.25
77 Vicente Reynes (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                    2.27
78 Carlos Garcia Quesada (Spa) Unibet.com                                     
79 Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                   
80 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                         
81 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Team Milram                                             
82 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC                                              2.30
83 Steffen Wesemann (Swi) T-Mobile Team                                       
84 Bert Grabsch (Ger) Phonak Hearing Systems                                  
85 Serge Baguet (Bel) Quick Step-Innergetic                                   
86 Kim Kirchen (Lux) T-Mobile Team                                            
87 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                               
88 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Lampre-Fondital                                        
89 Stef Clement (Ned) Bouygues Telecom                                        
90 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC                                           2.35
91 Gianpaolo Cheula (Ita) Barloworld                                      2.46
92 Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                            4.59
93 Steve Zampieri (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                                
94 Jonathan Patrick Mc Carty (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems                 5.18
95 Peter Lüttenberger (Aut) Team CSC                                      7.54
96 Patrick Calcagni (Swi) Liquigas                                        8.55
97 Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                          8.57
98 Ronny Scholz (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                        8.58
99 Matej Mugerli (Slo) Liquigas                                               
100 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Credit Agricole                                  
101 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen                 
102 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Credit Agricole                                   
103 Benoit Joachim (Lux) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team               9.00
104 Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen         9.01
105 Steve Morabito (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                               
106 Fumuyuki Beppu (Jpn) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team               9.04
107 Björn Schröder (Ger) Team Milram                                      9.11
108 Benoit Poilvet (Fra) Credit Agricole                                  9.12
109 Johan Coenen (Bel) Unibet.com                                             
110 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team           9.15
111 Frederik Willems (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen              
112 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas                                            
113 Philip Deignan (Irl) AG2R Prevoyance                                      
114 Benny De Schrooder (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen            
115 Aitor Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                   
116 Arkaitz Duran Aroca (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                            
117 Bram De Groot (Ned) Rabobank                                              
118 Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Unibet.com                                       
119 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Team Milram                                      
120 Sven Renders (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                                
121 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Credit Agricole                                        
122 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                                         
123 Ivan Ramiro Parra (Col) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone                  
124 Bram Tankink (Ned) Quick Step-Innergetic                              9.21
125 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Française des Jeux                                  
126 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Française des Jeux                                   
127 Moises Duenas Nevado (Spa) Agritubel                                      
128 Angel Castresana (Spa) Unibet.com                                     9.23
129 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Liquigas                                     
130 Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                   
131 Tiaan Kannemeyer (RSA) Barloworld                                         
132 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Quick Step-Innergetic                        9.26
133 Addy Engels (Ned) Quick Step-Innergetic                                   
134 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears                  
135 Mauro Facci (Ita) Barloworld                                              
136 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone                   
137 Ruben Lobato (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                                   
138 Scott Davis (Aus) T-Mobile Team                                       9.30
139 Bradley Mc Gee (Aus) Française des Jeux                               9.35
140 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC                                         9.36
141 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Credit Agricole                                 
142 José Alberto Benitez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir                       9.43
143 Marcos Serrano (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                       9.45
144 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Credit Agricole                                     
145 Matthé Pronk (Ned) Unibet.com                                         9.50
146 Jose Luis Arrieta (Spa) AG2R Prevoyance                                   
147 Diego Caccia (Ita) Barloworld                                             
148 Jean-Claude Lebeau (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago                          
149 Wesley Van Der Linden (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-Topsport Vlaanderen    11.43
150 Pierre Drancourt (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                   
151 Unai Etxebarria (Ven) Euskaltel-Euskadi                                   
152 Christophe Detilloux (Bel) Française des Jeux                             
153 Matthias Russ (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                     11.49
154 Jose Antonio Redondo (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team                11.53
155 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                 12.03

ProTour standings

1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step - Innergetic                           129 pts
2 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                            105
3 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi                   89
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse D'epargne-Illes Balears    86
5 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC                                        85
6 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC                                    84
7 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Team Milram                               72
8 Antonio Colom Mas (Spa) Caisse D'epargne-Illes Balears              71
9 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Quick Step - Innergetic                       70
10 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger) T-Mobile Team                               60
11 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team           60
12 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC                                       60
13 José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir            53
14 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems                          52
15 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                                       51
16 Michael Boogerd (Ned) Rabobank                                     50
17 Steffen Wesemann (Swi) T-Mobile Team                               50
18 Francisco Javier Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre-Fondital             48
19 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole                                 44
20 Leif Hoste (Bel) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                42
21 Jörg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros - Würth Team                    40
22 Luca Paolini (Ita) Liquigas                                        35
23 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Française Des Jeux                            32
24 David Kopp (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                      30
25 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank                        30
26 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                            30
27 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team          30
28 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank                                  29
29 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Liberty Seguros - Würth Team        29
30 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                            26
31 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step - Innergetic                        26
32 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone        23
33 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems        22
34 José Azevedo (Por) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team              22
35 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                                         15
36 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC                                          15
37 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Liquigas                                    15
38 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française Des Jeux                          15
39 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner                                 14
40 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas                                      11
41 Bert Roesems (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                                 10
42 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                                  10
43 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Credit Agricole                            10
44 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros - Würth Team                      9
45 David Etxebarria Alkorta (Spa) Liberty Seguros - Würth Team         7
46 José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team    5
47 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Liberty Seguros - Würth Team                5
48 Erki Pütsep (Est) Ag2R Prevoyance                                   5
49 Christophe Mengin (Fra) Française Des Jeux                          5
50 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems                         5
51 Andreas Klier (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                   5
52 Koldo Gil Perez (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir                        5
53 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram                                        4
54 Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                4
55 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) T-Mobile Team                                  4
56 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                              3
57 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC                                         3
58 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Caisse D'epargne-Illes Balears       3
59 Markus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner                                     3
60 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Lampre-Fondital                                2
61 Thomas Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team           2
62 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Lampre-Fondital                                 2
63 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone             2
64 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC                                           2
65 Riccardo Ricco (Ita) Saunier Duval - Prodir                         2
66 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone            2
67 Christopher Horner (USA) Davitamon-Lotto                            2
68 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank                                       2
69 Robbie Mcewen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto                                 2
70 Matthias Kessler (Ger) T-Mobile Team                                1
71 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom                                1
72 Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir                   1
73 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC                                    1
74 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner                                   1
75 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française Des Jeux                                1
76 Bradley Mcgee (Aus) Française Des Jeux                              1
77 Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Saunier Duval - Prodir         1
1 Team CSC                                                           132 pts
2 T-Mobile Team                                                      117
3 Rabobank                                                           116
4 Gerolsteiner                                                       113
5 Lampre-Fondital                                                    109
6 Quick Step - Innergetic                                            109
7 Davitamon-Lotto                                                    106
8 Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team                                 105
9 Phonak Hearing Systems                                              98
10 Caisse D'epargne-Illes Balears                                     95
11 Liberty Seguros - Würth Team                                       93
12 Team Milram                                                        84
13 Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone                                   82
14 Credit Agricole                                                    70
15 Française Des Jeux                                                 67
16 Saunier Duval - Prodir                                             63
17 Euskaltel - Euskadi                                                59
18 Bouygues Telecom                                                   53
19 Liquigas                                                           41
20 Ag2R Prevoyance                                                    35