With Alejandro Valverde, 23 seconds behind the winner, Australian Cadel Evans and Iv?n Guti?rrez, the ninth at 36"., the riders of Caisse d’Epargne achieved an excellent first stage of the 61st edition of the Criterium of the Dauphin? Lib?r?, a 12,1 kilometers individual time trial.
While Alejandro Valverde was really satisfied with his time, Iv?n Guti?rrez explained that "the start was a difficult one because it started climbing immediately. It was very important to be able to keep forces for the second part of the race because even if it could give the impression that it was going downhill all the time there were so many curves that there was absolutely no possibility to recover. It was necessary to change the rhythm all the time and that was really hard. I felt well but not good enough to win today. It was not easy for me to hold the same rhythm all the time.
"After the Tour of Catalonia I trained very well but it is not easy for us because we try to win the general classification in every race we take part in, which means plenty of work and after that it is really difficult to have the intensity you need to win a time trial. I will now try to do my best in the next time trial on next Wednesday. It will also be a good training session before the Spanish time trial championship which will this year take place where I live, in Cantabria."
Valerde commented on his finish "I am really happy with my time today because I felt very well during the entire race. With such a course it was necessary to change the rhythm all the time and that was a good thing for me. Cadel Evans? time is really an excellent one, and so is Contador?s one and to finish the third behind those riders in such a time trial is an excellent result for me.
"I started very regularly and my sensations were more or less the same during the 12 kilometers. This really motivates me for the next time trial, on next Wednesday, because with 42 kilometers it will be much more difficult for me.
"During the next stages one or two more riders will probably show that they can also win the race but today the general classification is already clearer and the three favorites are already the first three in the ranking."
Stage two Performance
Alejandro Valverde finished the second stage of the Criterium of the Dauphin? Lib?r? in the middle of the bunch at 34th. A five-man breakaway started at 6 km from the finishing line and Angelo Furlan was the fastest in the sprint.
"The stage of today was a rather long one and a little bit boring but the most important thing was to finish avoiding possible crashes because it started to rain in the last kilometers and the tension increased just before the sprint. There was a crash when we reached the last round-about and the pack broke in two parts but all the riders received the same time so that it was not a problem. This morning it was sunny when we started and I had a good day with regular feelings. But if the stage of today was a very quiet one the one f tomorrow should be more animated like all the stages which finished in Saint-Etienne. It will be important to be very careful, most of all in the final."
Website: Team Caisse d’Epargne