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60th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré - ProT

France, June 8-15, 2008

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Stage 6 - June 14: Morzine - La Toussuire, 233km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Bjorn Haake

233 kilometres and the mountain top finish at La Toussuire - the sixth stage will have a say about the overall more than any other stage. Stay tuned at Cyclingnews' live coverage at 15:30 CEST.

15:28 CEST   
Welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, where today the overall classification is on the line. Can Cadel Evans make up 37 seconds on the way up to the finish in La Toussuire? Has Levi Leipheimer recovered and can he go back on the offensive? Today's stage is the longest one of this year's race at 233 kilometres. With the 2067m Col de la Croix de Fer and the finishing climb up to La Toussuire, it is also the hardest.

15:32 CEST    183km/50km to go
We currently have a group of 12 riders on the front. Patrice Halgand and Pierre Rolland (Crédit Agricole), José Vicente Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne), José Luis Rubiera (Astana), Jurgen Van de Walle (Quick Step), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Rémy Di Gregorio (Française des Jeux), Amaël Moinard and David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Juan José Oroz (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Chris Anker Sørensen (Team CSC) are three minutes ahead of the field.

15:34 CEST   
The peloton has just passed the top of the Col de la Croix de Fer. They are in a hurry to get back down, where temperatures are a bit better. On the top, it was a measly four degrees centigrade.

15:36 CEST    187km/46km to go
It's 'only' 46 kilometres to the finish but the last 20 are all uphill!

15:40 CEST   
Caisse d'Epargne is leading the peloton down the climb. Pierre Rolland is in the break. The young Frenchman is only four and a half minutes back. He dropped one place, to tenth place in GC. He was a bit dejected about it before the start, but still enjoyed the race, "one of the most beautiful races," as he put it.

15:42 CEST   
The road is very narrow. It is in a forested area, so the riders have to be careful to not take too many risks. Crashing is one thing and crashing with 90km/h against a tree another.

15:42 CEST   
We have another update on Chris Horner, who didn't start the time trial due to back problems. Astana spokesperson Philippe Maertens told Cyclingnews that Horner suffers from "acute lumbalgia." Those lower back pains will require further examination and some X-rays. As of now, there is no estimate when Horner will be back in the action.

15:45 CEST    192km/41km to go
Even though the temperatures are very cold at the top, it is a sunny and pleasant day in the valley. Because of the cold descent, all the riders have put on arm warmers for now. Caisse is still leading, the gap is down to two and a half minutes.

Current race situation

  • Patrice Halgand and Pierre Rolland (Crédit Agricole), José Vicente Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne), José Luis Rubiera (Astana), Jurgen Van de Walle (Quick Step), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Rémy Di Gregorio (Française des Jeux), Amaël Moinard and David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Juan José Oroz and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Chris Anker Sørensen (Team CSC)
  • Peloton at 2.30

15:48 CEST   
The two Euskaltel riders, Juan José Oroz and Mikel Astarloza, had trouble over the summit. But they are just making it back to the front group.

15:52 CEST    203km/30km to go
We neglected to mention that Stéphane Goubert is also up front. The total number of riders is 14, Patrice Halgand and Pierre Rolland (Crédit Agricole), José Vicente Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne), José Luis Rubiera (Astana), Jurgen Van de Walle (Quick Step), Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank), Vladimir Efimkin and Stéphane Goubert (AG2R La Mondiale), Rémy Di Gregorio (Française des Jeux), Amaël Moinard and David Moncoutié (Cofidis), Juan José Oroz and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Chris Anker Sørensen (Team CSC)

15:55 CEST    204km/29km to go
The Caisse-led peloton is hitting a few speed bumps. The Spaniards are nice enough to point the hazard out to the riders behind. It is not always easy to see these hazards when you ride behind 150 backs.

The high speed has cut the gap to 1'37. That is unlikely to be enough for anybody in the breakaway. But the GC will be hotly contested very soon!

15:58 CEST    207km/26km to go
David Moncoutié (Cofidis) has his red arm warmers rolled down again all the way down to his wrist. After the descent, the temperatures are warm enough again. Moncoutié said before the start he'd hope "to be in a break. It's a beautiful mountain stage." Well, he managed! If that wouldn't have worked out, he had a back up plan. "If I can't get in the break, I will stay with Maxime [Monfort], who is well-placed in GC."

16:00 CEST   
Nicolas Portal (Caisse d'Epargne) is dropping back. The road is already a bit uphill and Portal has done a lot of work for the team. It is now Rabobank, who storms on the front. We see Koos Moerenhout, the Dutch champion, pulling hard.

16:01 CEST    208km/25km to go
25km to go and the gap of the 14 has dropped to 1'07. At least they have a tailwind for now, but that soon won't matter, when the climb starts in earnest.

16:04 CEST    210km/23km to go
The gap is dropping below the minute-mark. The road between the river on the right and the rail road tracks on the left is completely straight. They may be able to see them! It is possible that the break get caught before the climb really starts, although we aren't that far away now from the beginning of the decisive part of the day!

16:08 CEST   
The peloton takes a right and heads over the river via a bridge.

Sørensen attacks! He is trying to surprise everyone and sneak away so the peloton won't immediately notice when they catch the break. But with the race radios this tactic is not working as well anymore.

16:09 CEST   
The peloton is only maybe 50-55 riders strong, including such strong climbers as ... Thor Hushovd! He will join the autobus very soon, too.

16:10 CEST    214km/19km to go
Unlike their team-mate Sørensen, several CSC riders are at the back. One of them is Sørensen - well, the other one, Nicki. So Chris Anker on the front and Nicki on the back.

16:13 CEST   
Cioni is dropping back from the peloton. He was a valuable helper for Evans so far.

Surprisingly, Carlos Sastre was one of those CSC at the back. He is clearly not in Tour form yet. Or at least we hope that's not his Tour form.

16:14 CEST    216km/17km to go
There are now only eight riders chasing Sørensen.

Evans is sitting right behind Valverde. Leipheimer is also there.

16:16 CEST   
Astarloza is setting the pace for the break and from the eight riders, four riders have dropped back. Sørensen is still slightly ahead, but the peloton is inching closer. They have already passed some of the former breakaway riders.

Weening is setting the pace for his leader, the young Robert Gesink.

16:17 CEST   
The break has completely splintered.

George Hincapie is finding the pace too taxing as well and won't repeat another stage victory here.

16:20 CEST    218km/15km to go
Rubiera is caught now, another breakaway rider reeled in. Peter Velits drops back as well. The 'peloton' is shrinking with almost every switch back. There are maybe 20 riders left.

Valverde looks calm, collected and concentrated.

Moncoutié is reeled in.

16:21 CEST   
Sørensen is still ahead, with a large lead of about 40 seconds of the last three breakaway chasers, Garcia, Di Gregorio and Astarloza.

Current race situation

  • Chris Anker Sørensen (Team CSC)
  • José Vicente Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne), Rémy Di Gregorio (Française des Jeux) and Mikel Astarloza (Euskaltel-Euskadi) at 0.41
  • Peloton at 1.00

16:24 CEST   
Sørensen is still looking very fluid. He has got 12 more kilometres and the peloton is now at 1'12. However, what will happen to his lead when the attacks are flying? Surely, Evans and Leipheimer will break the truce pretty soon. Michael Rogers is still there, still looking if he can get on form for the Tour after sickness.

16:26 CEST   
Sørensen passes a lone Spanish fan,w ho waits with his red-yellow flag and a 'toro' painted onto it for Valverde.

16:27 CEST   
Interestingly enough the peloton is losing time to Sørensen, who is now 1'50 ahead! And over a minute to the three chasers.

16:28 CEST   
Rogers forces the pace behind!

16:29 CEST    221km/12km to go
He gets a small gap, but Popovych catches his wheel and the rest of the group slowly moves back up to the Aussie.

16:30 CEST   
The acceleration breaks the group in two. All the main favourites are still there, but it's now only 15-20 people left.

Popovych is now driving the pace for Evans.

16:32 CEST   
Currently it is another Aussie, Rogers, though, who sits on the wheel of Popovych. Evans is behind Valverde.

The ride along a straight road and pass the church of Foncouverte, before making another right.

16:33 CEST   
The locals have come out and wait for the riders on the embankments. The kids have ridden their bikes up here and it's not easy terrain! Maybe one of them will be a future pro!

16:34 CEST    224km/9km to go
Sørensen has 90 seconds on the three chasers and is still almost two minutes ahead of the peloton.

16:37 CEST   
Rigoberto Uran (Caisse d'Epargne) is dropping back from the peloton, which is now getting close to the three chasers, Garcia, Astarloza and Di Gregorio.

Uran dropping back means Valverde is the only Caisse rider in the peloton. How much help Garcia Acosta will be after he was in the break all day remains to be seen.

16:38 CEST    227km/6km to go
There is the catch. Now only Sørensen is up front. He looks to be labouring harder now, less fluid than it looked fifteen minutes ago. But his gap is now above two minutes!

16:40 CEST   
It is still Pop ahead of Rogers. Beltrán is in third. It looks as if the top nine of the GC are still there. Only Rolland, in 10th, has paid for his effort.

16:41 CEST    228km/5km to go
Sørensen reaches the five to go sign. Popo is done with his work and Rabo takes over again.

Attack by Evans!!!

16:41 CEST   
Valverde is not following it!! Gesink leads the peloton, but Evans is flying away like a madman!!!

16:42 CEST   
The Aussie is out of the saddle and has about 100m.

16:42 CEST   
Leipheimer is still behind Valverde, but the group is shrinking. Only eight riders left behind Evans.

16:44 CEST   
Evans looks superstrong. He is out of the saddle for long stretches. This may be bad news for Sørensen.

16:45 CEST    229.5km/3.5km to go
Evans passes the four to go sign. He is about 20 seconds ahead of the others. He trails in GC by 37 and there are no time bonuses.

16:46 CEST   
Evans takes a switch back and goes out of the saddle.

Leipheimer attacks!!!

16:46 CEST   
Valverde in yellow can only look after the green Leipheimer!

16:47 CEST   
Leipheimer has now Evans in his sight and claws himself back up to the Aussie.

16:48 CEST    230km/3km to go
Leipheimer is 50m behind as Valverde seems to lose the race.

16:49 CEST   
Gesink is getting dropped, while Valverde is making every effort to get back to the Leipheimer-Evans duo, who are now riding together.

16:50 CEST    231km/2km to go
The two are almost caught by the Valverde group, but Leipheimer attacks on the left hand side of the road. he doesn't want to get caught. Evans goes after him.

16:50 CEST   
Valverde is with Fédrigo, Zubeldia and Szmyd.

16:51 CEST    232km/1km to go
Sørensen is still over a minute ahead and he passes the flamme rouge!!!

16:52 CEST   
Valverde is leading the group now. He won't get much help from the others. His work has reduced the gap and they are only 50m behind the duo.

16:53 CEST   
Valverde makes a last-ditch effort and moves up to Evans and Leipheimer. The others follow as well. Fédrigo immediately attacks. He is no threat in the overall.

Sørensen is on the finish straight!

16:54 CEST   
Sørensen crosses the line and makes a gesture as if he is fishing. Yes, he went out to get a great catch today!

16:55 CEST   
Fédrigo storms home in second, some 60 seconds after Sørensen.

16:55 CEST   
Levi goes again! He drops the others a few hundred metres from the finish.

16:56 CEST   
Leipheimer gets home a few seconds ahead of Szmyd, Valverde and Evans. Zubeldia is the next to finish.

17:08 CEST   
What a day of racing it was! The Aussies Evans and Rogers have shown they are on track for a good Tour de France. Rogers moved up to 10th in GC. Leipheimer looked good in the end and recovered from yesterday's effort. He was able to gain a few seconds on Valverde and Evans.

The Spaniard looks good, too and he certainly has improved in the time trial. Tomorrow will be one last shot for the Anglophones to unseat Valverde on a tough parcours. But we are already looking forward to an exciting Tour de France.

Thanks for joining Cyclingnews' live coverage. We hope to see you again tomorrow.

Au revoir.

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