Alejandro Valverde finished stage 16 of the Criterium of the Dauphin? Lib?r?, 4:12 behind winner Pierrick Fedrigo. Alejandro is still first overall, 16 seconds ahead of Cadel Evans and 1:04 ahead of Alberto Contador.
"The stage of today, which was only 106 kilometers long between Gap and Brian?on, was rather short but all the same a difficult one because it was very hot and the we had to climb the Izoard, which top was at only 20 kilometers from the finish without forgetting the final hill to reach the finish.
Today the plan was to control the race and try to reach the top of the Izoard with as many team-mates as possible so that they could protect me in the descent and in the last kilometers. I did almost all the downhill ahead of the bunch to avoid the danger.
I recovered without any problem of the effort I did yesterday and my most dangerous adversaries did not attack me before Alberto did it in the final climb, at one kilometer from the line. Evans went behind him and I just followed. Once we caught him, Alberto attacked again. He was very strong and it was not easy to come back but we did it and crossed the line together.
One more stage is now behind us and tomorrow will be another one, very important considering the fact that it is the queen stage.
It will be a really hard one, with the Galibier, the Croix de Fer and the final ascension till the finishing line. In such a stage everything can happen. I can lose the yellow jersey but I can also increase the gap with my adversaries who are still the same: Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador, without forgetting Robert Gesink and Mikel Astarloza who are also in good position. I hope I will have another good day and that I will still wear the yellow jersey tomorrow afternoon in Saint-Fran?ois-Longchamp."
Website: Team Caisse d’Epargne