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60th Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré - ProT

France, June 8-15, 2008

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Stage 5 - June 13: Ville-La-Grand - Morzine, 125km

Complete live report

Live commentary by Bjorn Haake

15:23 CEST   
Bonjour et bienvenue at Cyclingnews' live coverage of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, where the riders will face a short, but swift stage of 125 kilometres to Morzine. How mountainous will it be today? Let's put it this way, the riders get the luxury of riding the last 12 kilometres almost all downhill – to end up in an altitude of 1,000 metres, after crossing the Col de Joux-Plane (1691 metres). Any rider ahead at the final KOM of the day has good chances to win the stage, unless they descend like... well, we'll leave comparisons up to you.

15:33 CEST    88km/37km to go
We have a group of eight riders on the front, including US American George Hincapie. He, Hubert Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale) and Juan José Cobo (Saunier Duval-Scott) took things in their own hand after 45 kilometres of racing. They were soon joined by Daniel Navarro (Astana), Iouri Trofimov (Bouygues Telecom), Iñigo Cuesta (Team CSC) and Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas) to form the break of the day. The gap is currently around three minutes.

15:35 CEST   
The best placed rider in the break is Trofimov, 2'34 behind race leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne). Hence, Trofimov is pedaling in the virtual leader's jersey for the moment. But the leaders reach the Col de Joux-Plane, the race starts now!

15:37 CEST   
The riders have their jerseys unzipped – it's another hot day in France. The riders went through a few bottles already. They will be tempted by grabbing something from the spectators on the climb, but they need to be careful. You never know what's in the bottle! Not only need to be concerned about potential doping products, but a simple food poisoning can take a favourite out in no time.

15:40 CEST   
The climb has immediately decimated the front group. Only five are left, with Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), Juan José Cobo (Saunier Duval-Scott), Daniel Navarro (Astana), Iouri Trofimov (Bouygues Telecom), Iñigo Cuesta (Team CSC)

15:44 CEST    103km/22km to go
The main field is led by Caisse, with Valverde sitting pretty in yellow.

Navarro is the next to say good-bye to the front group. Unfortunately, he goes the wrong way as Efimkin, Cobo, Trofimov and Cuesta pull away from the Astana rider.

15:45 CEST    105km/20km to go
Zubeldia and Casar are now escaping from the peloton, but Caisse is not too concerned.

The leaders already pass the 20km to go sign.

15:47 CEST   
Valverde takes a drink, while Zubeldia drops Casar. The race will surely explode soon, as all the favourites, which are still together, will attack the yellow Spaniard.

The gap of the quartet in front is now 2'19.

15:48 CEST    107km/18km to go
Cuesta goes! He took a lull in the break to give it a shot!

15:50 CEST   
Cuesta has been caught again, while the main field is thinning quickly now. David Moncoutié (Cofidis) is the next to drop back.

15:51 CEST   
In fact Cuesta is a few metres behind. Maybe he already knew he didn't have it and just wanted to see if the others don't react and draw some strengths from that. Or he simply overdid it in the move. The gap is still around 2'20.

15:53 CEST   
Pereiro is dropped. He is 7th, less than two minutes behind. That's a surprise. He won't be able to help Valverde for the remainder of the ride to Morzine, which is not great for Caisse.

15:55 CEST    109km/16km to go
Efimkin takes off. Cobo is able to hold his wheel, but Trofimov is having a hard time. It takes him a while to get back, while Cuesta is definitely out of the picture.

15:57 CEST   
Two Crédit Agricole riders, Patrice Halgand and Rémi Pauriol, are getting dropped from the main field. But they aren't the only ones. Only around twenty riders are left in the yellow jersey group. The gap is 2'04 to Efimkin, Cobo and Trofimov.

15:59 CEST   
Gesink sits at the front and his pull is so strong it shatters the front! Monfort is gone, Dessel as well. There aren't many left, but Valverde still sits there behind the Rabobank rider. Leipheimer is also still there. Evans as well.

16:02 CEST   
The group of Valverde gets back to Zubeldia. There are now Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), Levi Leipheimer (Astana), Robert Gesink (Rabobank), Sylvester Szmyd (Lampre) and Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi) chasing two minutes behind the leading trio.

Leipheimer wears the green jersey. It's an unusual look, as the group goes up the climb in the forested area.

16:04 CEST    111km/14km to go
The group of favourites is passing all the remnants of the breakaway. But even the front is now only a mere 90 seconds ahead. They will be caught before the top.

16:04 CEST   
There goes Valverde!

16:05 CEST   
Leipheimer is having trouble, he trails some 50m

16:05 CEST   
Evans and the others are getting back to the yellow jersey, but Leipheimer is dropped.

16:06 CEST   
Evans takes a strong pull, he is out of the saddle, weaving left and right. Valverde sits on his wheel, Szmyd and Gesink are still there. Zubeldia is slowly getting back to the group.

16:07 CEST   
The comeback of Leipheimer! The Astana rider fights hard to get back onto the group, still led by Evans.

16:08 CEST   
We are about a kilometre from the top. If Leipheimer can just survive till the KOM, he can get back to the group on the descent.

Cobo takes off from the front group - he wants the KOM points.

16:09 CEST   
Ouch - Leipheimer is dropping back a bit again. It is about 100metres. He needs to hang in there. Evans is having none of it and stomps on those pedals on the front.

16:12 CEST    113km/12km to go
Szmyd behind Evans looks almost relaxed. The Aussie is doing all the pulling - that's some good training for the Tour! Valverde hangs on the back of the group.

Kobo gets over the climb and will lead the mountains classification tonight, if he can survive the descent without crashing.

The Evans group passes a lake on the right. Probably a bit too cold up here to stop for a swim.

16:14 CEST    115km/10km to go
On the descent it is Valverde back on the front, with Evans behind him. Leipheimer did not manage to come back and now also has an Evans team-mate sitting behind him. It's Dario Cioni.

16:16 CEST    116km/9km to go
There is a little rise after the initial descent. Szmyd goes! Nobody follows him. The others look at each other.

On the front, Trofimov attacks the other two. He may jump in the GC AND win the stage!

Now Evans attacks! The gauntlets are down left and right in the French mountains.

16:17 CEST    119km/6km to go
The distinct groups have now reached the main descent. Leipheimer is not able to get get back to the Evans group and may lose his second place in GC. Amazing racing to Morzine!

16:19 CEST    120km/5km to go
The Evans group reaches a more open area, with some meadows to the left and right.

Trofimov is still on the front. He passes the 5-km to go sign. Only half a minute separates him from the Evans group. It will be touch and go. The switchbacks help him try to stay ahead of the game. There is a small rise just before the finish, though.

16:21 CEST    121km/4km to go
Efimkin has been passed. He is desperately trying to stay in contact with the Evans group. But they are going so fast, he has a hard time getting into the slipstream on the descent!!!

16:22 CEST    123km/2km to go
Trofimov is so fast, he is already in Morzine and passes the 2-km to go sign!!

16:22 CEST   
The Evans group is still in the last switchbacks. It could be enough for the Russian in front.

16:23 CEST   
Trofimov checks back, but he can't see the others for now. He goes out of the saddle and gives it all.

16:23 CEST    124km/1km to go
Trofimov passes the flamme rouge!!!

16:24 CEST   
The barriers are up, but there aren't too many people at the 1-km sign. It changes as he heads to the 500m sign.

16:24 CEST   
His smile is confident - he knows he can hang on!

16:25 CEST   
Trofimov does it! He wins in Morzine. Chapeau!

16:26 CEST   
The chasers aren't far behind and Evans leads them home, ahead of Valverde. Zubeldia is next, then Szmyd.

16:28 CEST   
Leipheimer comes in over a minute after the winner!

16:37 CEST   
Phew, what a stage! The overall has taken a beating - and so has Levi Leipheimer, who dropped to third place. But his 90-second gap is still not enough to count him out. Evans moved up to second place. He is 37 seconds behind Valverde.

16:43 CEST   
For those who have been asking why Chris Horner didn't start stage 3 - he had some back problems that prevented him from time trialing. We expect him to be back in the saddle soon.

Thanks for joining us at today's live coverage. The mountains aren't over yet, so we hope to see you tomorrow, when the riders head from Morzine to the mountain top finish at La Toussuire. See you then, au revoir.

Provisonal results

1 Iouri Trofimov (Bouygues Telecom)
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto                   0.18
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
4 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi           0.23
5 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Lampre                      0.26
6 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank             
7 Juan José Cobo (Spa) Saunier Duval-Scott
8 Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) AG2R La Mondiale           0.44
9 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana                      1.24
10 Michael Rogers (Aus) High Road               

General classification after stage 5

1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto                   0.37
3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana                      1.29
4 Iouri Trofimov (Rus) Bouygues Telecom             2.16
5 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank                      2.36
6 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale               3.04
7 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Cofidis                      3.13
8 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi           3.15
9 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi           3.17
10 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Crédit Agricole             4.25

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