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Mont Ventoux 5th Stage, Tour of the Dauphin?

Today the race arrived at altitude on Mont Ventoux in the fifth stage of the Tour of the Dauphin?, the race was won by Szmyd that has set Valverde in the final head-to-head.

Team Lampre NGC

Marco Marzano has raced well currently 20th at 4’08" from the stage winner and 19th place 7’18" behind in overall standings behind new leader Valverde.

"I am pleased with the test of Marzano which has proved to be in the early twenty best climbers of this race in stages, hoping to have with him also Spilak today, but Simon I think has paid the effort about the crono that played yesterday, the hot, and also the fact that it is his first race after a period of release. "

Team Director Piovani continues, "Tomorrow there’s an unusual stage with the Col d’Izoard and very short, only 106 km, so I think that having been outlined some of the more ranking today the teams of the first runners of the general classification will leave space in attempts to escape, in which we count to be present to obtain a good result at one stage. "

Team Caisse d’Epargne

Alejandro Valverde, who was second after a brilliant ascension of the Mont Ventoux in the fifth stage of the Dauphin? Lib?r?, is the new leader of the race and is now in the overall ranking 16 seconds ahead of Cadel Evans and 1?04? ahead of Alberto Contador.

"I feel very well since the very beginning of the race which started on last Sunday", explained Alejandro Valverde after he received the yellow jersey. "My results in the two time trials showed that already. Today while we were climbing the Ventoux, I had very good feelings and I saw that my adversaries and most of all Cadel Evans did not look so good. Ten kilometers were still left to the finish when I decided to attack."

"I passed all the riders which went in a former breakaway one by one, keeping the same rhythm and increasing the more and more the gap with the group of the yellow jersey. The last rider which stayed with me was Sylvester Szmyd. His collaboration was really important to me, most of all in the parts where it was really windy and it is normal that he won the stage. It is true that I planned to attack today to try and win the Dauphin? but I did not think it was possible to recover so much time in just one stage. Now some difficult mountain stages are left to go but I believe that the most difficult part which was to gain again the time I lost in the time trials is now done and what I will have to do now is hold on till the final."

Team Astana: Zubeldia’s Escape

Putting in a decisive attack with 10km to go, Spanish national road champion Alejandro Valverde launched himself past the race leader Cadel Evans and straight into a yellow jersey of his own, grabbing the lead by a slim 16-seconds in front of the Aussie with three stages to go.

Astana's Zubeldia on a break - Mont Ventoux 5th Stage, Tour of the Dauphin?

Team Astana’s Alberto Contador slipped to third place at 1:04 back after placing 8th on the stage. However teammate Haimar Zubeldia had placed himself up close to the breakaway leaders and took third place on the stage, a strong performance by the 32-year old Basque rider, going from 21st to 5th on general classification.

"It was planned to not go for a stage win or the GC. From the beginning of the climb it was my plan to save forces. My goal is the Tour de France and I don?t want to punish myself." Contador said.

"The Ventoux was like always, very windy in the final kilometers. Contador continued. The wind played a crucial role. The riders chasing the leading group had to attack. When they did they were alone and paid for their effort (in the wind). The riders in the leading group stayed together and could keep a constant rhythm. The fact that Haimar was in the front was good for me. I had a good excuse to not go for the victory. Believe me, this climb took away all my doubts. Evans was good again but he was alone. No teammates. Alberto had Zubeldia in front of him and Jesus Hernandez just behind, giving Astana Cycling Team the win in the Teams classification on the stage and the lead in the GC as well."

Team BMC enters top 20 at Dauphin?

Racing up the Mont Ventoux is a daunting task even for the most seasoned professionals.  As Thursday’s stage marked the beginning of four tough stages in the Alps, the day would act as a real proving ground for anyone with ambitions to succeed at the Dauphin?.

Not unexpectedly, the leader board received a dramatic shake up with Alejandro Valverde taking second on the stage and the race lead for good measure.  Sylvester Szmyd (Liquigas) won the stage, while Cadel Evans finished over 2 minutes back, relinquishing the leaders jersey by 16 seconds.  Several of BMC’s riders had very strong rides.  Florian Stalder and Thomas Frei rode in together just three minutes behind Evans while Mathias Frank rolled in just a few minutes later.  On the strength of his strong rides yesterday in the time trial and today up Ventoux, Thomas Frei is now in 20th place on the GC with three more tough stages to go.

Foreshadowing future successes

Though Ventoux is the climax of the stage, over 130 kilometers including one category 3 and three category 4 climbs have to be raced to get there.  "The whole stage was so fast and a lot of breakaway attempts were being made that the day was very difficult even before we reached the Ventoux," Mathias Frank reported.  "On the second to last climb Markus Zberg did a wonderful job working for me and getting me into the right position for the start of the final climb."  The frantic pace and hairy descents made it difficult to eat or drink properly coming into the Ventoux.  "The real mind-blower for me was the speed at which we came into the climb. It was like a full on field sprint," Brent Bookwalter explained.  "I certainly have a newfound appreciation for big mountain stages. You can’t really comprehend them until you’ve seen the size and repeatability of the top riders’ efforts."  Though Bookwalter on his first race up the Giant of Provence suffered stomach cramps and worked his way to the top with a steady group, Mathias Frank, Thomas Frei and Florian Stalder found themselves riding near the front with the strongest climbers in the world.

Frei finds his climbing legs 10 km from the top

Having suffered a dip in energy over the second to last climb, Thomas Frei expected that he would have to ride the climb up Ventoux at his own tempo and hope to save strength for the mountain stages yet to come.  "After about 100km the legs suddenly felt very bad and so I figured I would have to go up Ventoux at my own rhythm," Frei reported.  "I took two gel packs, though and with about 10 kilometers to go I started to feel much better and could really give it some gas."  Meanwhile, Mathias Frank who had been riding with the yellow jersey group up half the climb hit the wall just as Valverde put in his winning attack.  "Maybe I was a little excited and tried too hard early on, but I saw with 10 kilometers to go that I was on my limit while Evans and the other members of the group looked like they could keep going at that pace the whole way up," Frank said.  Frei managed to catch his teammate about 7 kilometers from the top.  "Thomas did a great job catching me and then he and Florian were able to work and ride together to the finish," Frank said.

I hope my legs don’t break, walking on the moon

The famous moonscape of the climb’s final five kilometers provides no protection from the massive gusts of wind which are always present.  "The final five kilometers were insane with a strong wind which was either from the side or front; really it nearly blew me off once or twice," Frei said.  "Florian did an amazing job working for me, though and I really thank him for all his efforts."  The BMC duo steadily picked their way through the stragglers and came to the summit in 24th and 25th place.  Mathias Frank had to ride most of the way up on his own which was quite a challenge in the unrelenting wind and gradient of the climb.  "On that climb everything can change so fast and then when you are alone in the wind you can lose a lot of time," Frank explained.  "But near the top I was trying to take it as easy as possible and I already have my attentions turned to making a break or helping Thomas gain time in the stages yet to come."

Still a lot of climbing ahead

With the Hors Categorie Col d’Izoard and the climb up to Brian?on to come on Friday, everyone is hoping for a speedy recovery after the trials of today.  "Now that I am in the top 20 I will take things day by day, give my best effort for the team and see where we land on Sunday," Frei said.  "We have a strong team here and a fantastic team spirit, so I’m sure that we will still be able to shake things up a bit."

Silence Lotto’s Cadel Evans in Second

On day five, Dauphin? Lib?r? arrived in the mountains, with a 154 km stage between Valence and the top of the "bald Mount", Mont Ventoux, climbing four lesser hills on the way.

Cadel Evans Dauphine Stage 5

The race had a very nervous start, with several crashes, our Sebastian Lang finishing in a hospital.

Four riders broke away after one hour: Jos? Luis Arrieta (AG2R), Alan Perez (Euskaltel), Frederik Willems (Liquigas) and Christophe Kern (Cofidis). The peloton let them go, and they had 8’30" after 80 kilometres.

Nearing the finish the gap dwindled, but the leaders began the mythical ascent with a slight margin. But the fight began in the peloton, which exploded completely, Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’?pargne) attacking alone and making a good gap.

Cadel Evans Dauphine Stage 5

Valverde rejoined the leaders and dropped them behind. Only the Polish rider Sylvester Szmyd (Liquigas) was able to go with him, he won at the top, Valverde taking the leader’s jersey from Cadel Evans.

Cadel finished in 6th position. He is now 2nd of the general classification, 18? behind Valverde Alberto Contador (Astana) is 3rd 1’04" down.

Garmin Slipstream David Miller

A great ride for David Millar on Mount Ventoux saw him climb to 4th on GC at the Dauphine Libre. The team was around him and Dan Martin all day, protecting them for the final climb.

David Millar - Dauphine Stage 5

Steven Cozza was there for bottles.Svein Tuft like a body guard for the first 120 kilometers with Dave. Christian Meier and Timmy Duggan with Dan. A total team effort. David Millar sits in position 4 of the GC.

Christopher Jones
Christopher Joneshttps://www.bicycles.net.au
Christopher Jones is a recreational cyclist and runs a design agency, Signale. As the driving force behind Bicycles.net.au he has one of each 'types' of bicycles.
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