Events

By George! Hincapie wins another at Dauphiné; Landaluze takes overall

George Hincapie put an emphatic exclamation point on what’s been a fête américaine during this year’s Dauphiné Libéré, winning Sunday’s exciting finale after a dramatic two-man breakaway with Discovery Channel teammate and protégé Yaroslav Popovych. Basque bomber Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) hung on during the fast-paced 128km seventh stage to claim the 57th Dauphiné crown by a slender margin of 11 seconds to Santiago Botero (Phonak) while Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) finished third overall at 38 seconds back for his first major podium since his breakthrough at the 2001 Vuelta a

Discovery goes 1-2-3 on last stage of classic Tour warm-up

By Andrew Hood

By George! Hincapie wins another at Dauphiné; Landaluze takes overall

Photo:

George Hincapie put an emphatic exclamation point on what’s been a fête américaine during this year’s Dauphiné Libéré, winning Sunday’s exciting finale after a dramatic two-man breakaway with Discovery Channel teammate and protégé Yaroslav Popovych.

Basque bomber Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) hung on during the fast-paced 128km seventh stage to claim the 57th Dauphiné crown by a slender margin of 11 seconds to Santiago Botero (Phonak) while Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) finished third overall at 38 seconds back for his first major podium since his breakthrough at the 2001 Vuelta a España.

RESULTS ARE POSTED

Six-time Tour king Lance Armstrong was third in the stage to make it a sweep for Discovery Channel, earning them the team classification and a huge boost of morale with less a month to go to the Tour de France.

The 31-year-old Hincapie capped a great Dauphiné performance that also included victory in the opening prologue in Aix-les-Bains.

“When I did well in the prologue, I told Johan I want to take advantage of my form and go for some stages,” said Hincapie, who held up two fingers as he crossed the line.

“It couldn’t have gone any better. To win two stages, this Dauphiné has gone awesome for me and I’m very happy.”

Hincapie, Popovych in big win
Sunday’s finale concluded on a circuit course with seven climbs over the short but very steep Cat. 3 Côte de Domancy above Sallanches. The climb was part of the epic 1980 world championships course won by Bernard Hinault and provided the fitting climax for what’s been a titillating Dauphiné right from the gun.

But it was the relatively easy Cat. 4 Côte St-Sigismond – or more specifically the descent – that proved decisive on the day. A group of 25 riders led by the hard-charging Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole) tore away early. With all the favorites present, it looked like the break was going nowhere when Popovych tried his luck near the summit.

Smelling an opportunity, Hincapie shot out to join his newest teammate. The two barreled down the long, 10km twisting descent and opened up a gap on the regrouped bunch.

The dynamic duo

The dynamic duo

Photo: Graham Watson

“No, the attack wasn’t planned. Popovych went and I saw that our group was very tired, so I took a chance. We got 10 seconds and on the descent, we went as hard as we could,” Hincapie said. “I think I’m a very good descender, but I’m pretty impressed with Popovych and he was right there with me. Once we got onto the circuit, it was extremely hard for us. We went hard as we could and we worked well together.”

Hincapie and Popovych hit the first lap on the circuit with two minutes on the main bunch. In the back, Landaluze was fighting to keep his jersey under pressure from Botero and Leipheimer, but with two Discovery riders up the road, Armstrong wasn’t about to take a pull.

“It’s not often I get to sit in the lead group and not have to do any work. I kind of liked it,” said Armstrong, who won the points jersey for his efforts. “I told the other guys, ‘Sorry guys, I can’t work.’”

Hincapie and Popovych saw their lead dwindle to 1:48 with two laps to go and then fall to 1:16 on the bell lap. It looked like it might be enough, but Hincapie wasn’t sure.

A one-two punch... a later, Armstrong takes third

A one-two punch… a later, Armstrong takes third

Photo: Graham Watson

“We were going as hard as we could. We wanted to get to the top of the hill with at least 20 seconds. The main thing was to stay together,” he said.

Coming into the finish, Hincapie slipped ahead to take the victory, his third on the season and his second at the Dauphiné.

The New Yorker is the only man to be on all six of Armstrong’s Tour-winning teams and now he’s preparing to begin working for a new team leader next season with Popovych.

“In the end, Popovych knows that next year I’ll be working for him at the Tour de France and maybe it was better than I won the stage today,” said Hincapie. “I don’t consider July racing for me. My job is just to stay with Lance and there are no real personal ambitions. It’s a team ambition. For me to win two stages in the Dauphine is a big deal.”

Levi wonders what could have been
With Hincapie and Popovych up the road, the real battle for the overall prize was going down with each passing climb up the Domancy. With an average grade of 10 percent up 2.5km of sun-baked French asphalt, the climb was sure to splinter the peloton. That proved true, as nearly half the bunch abandoned on the day, leaving just 78 finishers.

With each lap, Landaluze was getting worn down, but showing incredible fortitude to battle back on. The lead group was soon whittled to eight riders, with most of the work falling to the two who had the most to gain: Botero and Leipheimer.

Armstrong had already said he wouldn’t be working while T-Mobile’s Alexandre Vinokourov seemed uninterested in pulling hard to tow his ex-teammate Botero into the yellow jersey.

At the bell lap, Landaluze was 21 seconds down on the Botero-Leipheimer group, something the Gerolsteiner captain couldn’t believe.

“It was a hard race today. I don’t understand how Landaluze didn’t lose. Every time we dropped him on each climb, then he came back each time, he must have had a lot of friends out there,” said Leipheimer, who finished sixth at 22 seconds back. “We really turned it on on the hill and he was gone and I thought there’s no way. We were five or six of us rolling through perfectly, he still wins the race.”

Leipheimer leaves the Dauphiné very satisfied in terms of the longer view toward the Tour de France. He proved his climbing and time trialing abilities are improved from last year and that he’s ready to challenge for a top spot come July.

But when he looks back at the Dauphiné, he admits he let the race slip through his hands when Landaluze was allowed to escape into the yellow jersey in the transition stage to Grenoble on Friday.

“Definitely, we made a mistake,” he said. “I know I could have won the race, there’s no doubt in my mind. I think I was the strongest guy here and I’m not afraid to say that.”

Leipheimer just missed winning two stages, losing the prologue to Hincapie and the long time trial to Botero, each time by less than one second.

While he will undoubtedly regret his bad luck at the Dauphiné, he walks away satisfied with his performance and with a big boost of confidence going into the Tour.

“Finishing on the podium is great. I’ve got to be happy with two days in the yellow, with the way I’ve climbed, the way I’ve time trialed,” he said. “Now I am going to go home and take a big rest. I’m not going to worry about gaining anymore fitness, it’s just a matter of maintaining the fitness I already have.”

Landaluze hangs on
Landaluze was doing his best against the odds.

Botero kept up the pressure...

Botero kept up the pressure…

Photo: Graham Watson

“Every lap I went at my own rhythm, I would get dropped, fight to come back, by the bell lap, I knew I had to go full-gas,” he said. “I gave it everything on that last lap. When I heard the differences, something like 30 seconds, I went as hard as I could on the descent.”

All three remaining Euskaltel riders abandoned, meaning Landaluze was a one-man team in more ways than one. Botero was doing his utmost to make up the final ticks of the clock on the descent to Sallanches.

“We tried to attack and drop him, but he always came back. We went really hard in the final three laps, but he was getting some help from others,” said Botero. “Vinokourov had nothing left, Armstrong wasn’t helping because he had riders up front, I gave all I could. It wasn’t by luck Landaluze won. He held on and he deserves it.”

...but Landaluze held his own.

…but Landaluze held his own.

Photo: Graham Watson

The 28-year-old Basque rider came through 12th at 1:00 back, just enough to win the race by 11 seconds. It’s his first win as a professional.

“This is the happiest day of my career,” said Landaluze, who nearly won a stage in last year’s Tour de France. “I came here looking to do something in a stage, specifically the stage to Grenoble, but after I rode well up the Ventoux, I started to change my way of thinking. With the high level of racing here, this has been like the Tour, I’m very proud to have won here.”

STAGE 7 Results
1. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, 3:07:10
2. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Discovery Channel
3. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 0:22
4. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), T-Mobile
5. Santiago Botero (Col), Phonak
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Gerolsteiner
7. David Moncoutie (F), Cofidis, 0:24
8. Wim Van Huffel (B), Davitamon-Lotto
9. Jose Gomez Marchante (Sp), Saunier Duval, 0:45
10. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears, 0:59

OVERALL RESULTS
1. Inigo Landaluze (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 28:24:46
2. Santiago Botero (Col), Phonak, 0:11
3. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Gerolsteiner, 0:38
4. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 0:59
5. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), T-Mobile, 1:02
6. David Moncoutie (F), Cofidis, 1:56
7. Jose Gomez Marchante (Sp), Saunier Duval, 3:54
8. Marzio Bruseghin (I), Fassa Bortolo, 3:58
9. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz), Credit Agricole, 5:04
10. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears, 6:20

Photo Gallery

Results

STAGE 7 Results

1. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, 3:07:10

2. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Discovery Channel

3. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 0:22

4. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), T-Mobile

5. Santiago Botero (Col), Phonak

6. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Gerolsteiner

7. David Moncoutie (F), Cofidis, 0:24

8. Wim Van Huffel (B), Davitamon-Lotto

9. Jose Gomez Marchante (Sp), Saunier Duval, 0:45

10. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears, 0:59

11. Eddy Mazzoleni (I), Lampre, 1:00

12. Inigo Landaluze (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

13. Marzio Bruseghin (I), Fassa Bortolo

14. Pierrick Fedrigo (F), Bouygues Telecom, 1:14

15. Stephane Goubert (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 1:28

16. David Canada (Sp), Saunier Duval, 1:31

17. Denis Menchov (Rus), Rabobank, 1:57

18. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz), Credit Agricole

19. Erik Dekker (Nl), Rabobank, 2:38

20. Axel Merckx (B), Davitamon-Lotto

21. Manuel Beltran (Sp), Discovery Channel

22. Mikel Astarloza (Sp), Ag2r Prevoyance

23. Massimo Giunti (I), Fassa Bortolo

24. Bram Tankink (Nl), Quickstep, 3:53

25. Xabie Zandio Echaide (Sp), Illes Balears, 4:26

26. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus), Credit Agricole, 5:34

27. Frederic Bessy (F), Cofidis

28. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Saunier Duval

29. Nicolas Fritsch (F), Saunier Duval

30. Massimo Codol (I), Fassa Bortolo

31. Oscar Sevilla (Sp), T-Mobile, 5:36

32. David Arroyo (Sp), Illes Balears

33. Sylvain Calzati (F), Ag2r Prevoyance

34. Paolo Bossoni (I), Fassa Bortolo

35. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak, 5:38

36. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Cofidis

37. Davide Rebellin (I), Gerolsteiner

38. Koos Moerenhout (Nl), Davitamon-Lotto

39. Manuel Calvente (Sp), CSC

40. Francisco Lara Ruiz (Sp), T-Mobile

41. Nicki Sorensen (Dk), CSC

42. Jose Azevedo (P), Discovery Channel

43. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC

44. Nicolas Vogondy (F), Credit Agricole

45. Benjamin Noval (Sp), Discovery Channel

46. Luis Rubiera Jose (Sp), Discovery Channel

47. Pieter Weening (Nl), Rabobank

48. Oscar Pereiro (Sp), Phonak, 7:12

49. Michael Boogerd (Nl), Rabobank, 7:14

50. Jose Gutierrez (Sp), Phonak, 8:02

51. Ivan Gutierrez (Sp), Illes Balears, 14:17

52. Inigo Chaurreau (Sp), Ag2r Prevoyance

53. Anthony Geslin (F), Bouygues Telecom

54. Didier Rous (F), Bouygues Telecom

55. Mario Aerts (B), Davitamon-Lotto

56. Janek Tombak (Est), Cofidis

57. Igor De Gal Gonzalez (Sp), LSW

58. Rafael Casero (Sp), Saunier Duval

59. Manuel Quinziato (I), Saunier Duval

60. Christophe Mengin (F), Francaise des Jeux

61. Philippe Gilbert (B), Francaise des Jeux

62. Andriy Grivko (Ukr), Domina Vacanze

63. Thomas Lovkvist (Swe), Francaise des Jeux

64. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz), Domina Vacanze

65. Mauro Facci (I), Fassa Bortolo

66. Remy Di Gregorio (F), Francaise des Jeux

67. Johan Vansummeren (B), Davitamon-Lotto

68. Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr), Lampre

69. Serge Baguet (B), Davitamon-Lotto

70. Francis Mourey (F), Francaise des Jeux

71. Nicolas Portal (F), Ag2r Prevoyance

72. Juan Fuentes (Sp), Lampre, 15:33

73. Matej Jurco (SVK), Domina Vacanze, 16:04

74. Daniele Becke (G), Illes Balears

75. Luke Roberts (Aus), CSC

76. Pierre Drancourt (F), Bouygues Telecom

77. Sebastien Joly (F), Credit Agricole

78. Christophe Edaleine (F), Cofidis

Samuel Dumoulin (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, ABD

Ludovic Turpin (F), Ag2r Prevoyance

Christophe Moreau (F), Credit Agricole

Damien Nazon (F), Credit Agricole

Jimmy Engoulvent (F), Cofidis

Stuart O'Grady (Aus), Cofidis

Arvesen Kurt-Asle (Nor), CSC

Alessandr Cortinovis (I), Domina Vacanze

Sergio Ghisalberti (I), Domina Vacanze

Rafael Nuritdinov (UZB), Domina Vacanze

Stijn Devolder (B), Discovery Channel

Preben Van Hecke (B), Davitamon-Lotto

Koldo Fernandez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

Aitor Silloniz (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

Joseba Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

Antonio Flecha Juan (Sp), Fassa Bortolo

Mickael Delage (F), Francaise des Jeux

Frederic Finot (F), Francaise des Jeux

Benoit Vaugrenard (F), Francaise des Jeux

Heinrich Haussler (G), Gerolsteiner

Sebastian Lang (G), Gerolsteiner

Uwe Peschel (G), Gerolsteiner

Matthias Russ (G), Gerolsteiner

Torsten Schmidt (G), Gerolsteiner

Marco Serpellini (I), Gerolsteiner

Jose Garcia Acosta (Sp), Illes Balears

Cayetano Julia Jose (Sp), Illes Balears

Alessand Spezialetti (I), Lampre

Enrico Gasparotto (I), Liquigas-Bianchi

Mauro Gerosa (I), Liquigas-Bianchi

Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe), Liquigas-Bianchi

Oscar Mason (I), Liquigas-Bianchi

Devis Miorin (I), Liquigas-Bianchi

Gianluca Sironi (I), Liquigas-Bianchi

Roberto Heras (Sp), LSW

Allan Davis (Aus), LSW

Jorg Jaksche (G), LSW

Marcos Serrano (Sp), LSW

Bert Grabsch (G), Phonak

Robert Hunter (RSA), Phonak

Nicolas Jalabert (F), Phonak

Miguel Mercado Juan (Sp), Quickstep

Jose Pecharroman (Sp), Quickstep

Jurgen Van Goolen (B), Quickstep

Rik Verbrugghe (B), Quickstep

Gerben Lowik (Nl), Rabobank

Joost Posthuma (Nl), Rabobank

Marc Wauters (B), Rabobank

Angel Edo (Sp), Saunier Duval

Andreas Kloden (G), T-Mobile

Bernhard Kohl (A), T-Mobile

Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz), T-Mobile

Nick Nuyens (B), Quickstep

OVERALL RESULTS

1. Inigo Landaluze (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 28:24:46

2. Santiago Botero (Col), Phonak, 0:11

3. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Gerolsteiner, 0:38

4. Lance Armstrong (USA), Discovery Channel, 0:59

5. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), T-Mobile, 1:02

6. David Moncoutie (F), Cofidis, 1:56

7. Jose Gomez Marchante (Sp), Saunier Duval, 3:54

8. Marzio Bruseghin (I), Fassa Bortolo, 3:58

9. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz), Credit Agricole, 5:04

10. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), Illes Balears, 6:20

11. Floyd Landis (USA), Phonak, 7:51

12. Wim Van Huffel (B), Davitamon-Lotto, 7:52

13. Axel Merckx (B), Davitamon-Lotto, 8:28

14. Stephane Goubert (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 13:08

15. Nicolas Fritsch (F), Saunier Duval, 13:14

16. Manuel Beltran (Sp), Discovery Channel, 13:36

17. Mikel Astarloza (Sp), Ag2r Prevoyance, 13:43

18. Massimo Giunti (I), Fassa Bortolo, 14:17

19. David Arroyo (Sp), Illes Balears, 14:37

20. David Canada (Sp), Saunier Duval, 15:17

21. Oscar Pereiro (Sp), Phonak, 15:31

22. Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr), Discovery Channel, 16:14

23. Pieter Weening (Nl), Rabobank, 17:23

24. Denis Menchov (Rus), Rabobank, 17:38

25. Jose Azevedo (P), Discovery Channel, 20:40

26. Pierrick Fedrigo (F), Bouygues Telecom, 21:45

27. Nicki Sorensen (Dk), CSC, 22:01

28. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus), Credit Agricole, 25:17:00

29. Jose Gutierrez (Sp), Phonak, 27:05:00

30. Bram Tankink (Nl), Quickstep, 27:19:00

31. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Cofidis, 28:19:00

32. George Hincapie (USA), Discovery Channel, 28:31:00

33. Sylvain Calzati (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 28:53:00

34. Massimo Codol (I), Fassa Bortolo, 30:05:00

35. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 30:13:00

36. Koos Moerenhout (Nl), Davitamon-Lotto, 31:49:00

37. Ivan Gutierrez (Sp), Illes Balears, 32:28:00

38. Manuel Calvente (Sp), CSC, 33:52:00

39. Luis Rubiera Jose (Sp), Discovery Channel, 34:50:00

40. Remy Di Gregorio (F), Francaise des Jeux, 36:05:00

41. Oscar Sevilla (Sp), T-Mobile, 36:12:00

42. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Saunier Duval, 37:22:00

43. Davide Rebellin (I), Gerolsteiner, 37:58:00

44. Eddy Mazzoleni (I), Lampre, 39:33:00

45. Paolo Bossoni (I), Fassa Bortolo, 40:26:00

46. Didier Rous (F), Bouygues Telecom, 40:45:00

47. Igor De Gal Gonzalez (Sp), LSW, 41:40:00

48. Xabie Zandio Echaide (Sp), Illes Balears, 43:17:00

49. Francisco Lara Ruiz (Sp), T-Mobile, 43:38:00

50. Benjamin Noval (Sp), Discovery Channel, 45:34:00

51. Rafael Casero (Sp), Saunier Duval, 47:04:00

52. Frederic Bessy (F), Cofidis, 48:04:00

53. Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz), Domina Vacanze, 49:54:00

54. Manuel Quinziato (I), Saunier Duval, 50:11:00

55. Mario Aerts (B), Davitamon-Lotto, 50:47:00

56. Andriy Grivko (Ukr), Domina Vacanze, 51:06:00

57. Juan Fuentes (Sp), Lampre, 51:09:00

58. Christophe Edaleine (F), Cofidis, 52:27:00

59. Anthony Geslin (F), Bouygues Telecom, 52:36:00

60. Serge Baguet (B), Davitamon-Lotto, 53:38:00

61. Thomas Lovkvist (Swe), Francaise des Jeux, 53:47:00

62. Johan Vansummeren (B), Davitamon-Lotto, 54:01:00

63. Francis Mourey (F), Francaise des Jeux, 55:19:00

64. Erik Dekker (Nl), Rabobank, 56:16:00

65. Nicolas Vogondy (F), Credit Agricole, 56:44:00

66. Inigo Chaurreau (Sp), Ag2r Prevoyance, 59:04:00

67. Philippe Gilbert (B), Francaise des Jeux, 1:02:21

68. Daniele Becke (G), Illes Balears, 1:03:27

69. Sebastien Joly (F), Credit Agricole, 1:04:49

70. Michael Boogerd (Nl), Rabobank, 1:04:54

71. Pierre Drancourt (F), Bouygues Telecom, 1:06:26

72. Nicolas Portal (F), Ag2r Prevoyance, 1:10:01

73. Christophe Mengin (F), Francaise des Jeux, 1:10:33

74. Mauro Facci (I), Fassa Bortolo, 1:11:52

75. Luke Roberts (Aus), CSC, 1:14:42

76. Oleksandr Kvachuk (Ukr), Lampre, 1:18:44

77. Janek Tombak (Est), Cofidis, 1:21:39

78. Matej Jurco (SVK), Domina Vacanze, 1:23:52