Events

Mercado conquers Galibier; Armstrong holds lead

If the Dauphiné Libéré race is Lance Armstrong's dress rehearsal for the upcoming Tour de France, don't expect any major changes in the plot line come July. The four-time Tour winner brushed off aches and pains from Friday's spill and withstood more aggressive attacks from Euskaltel's Iban Mayo on the classic climb up the Col du Galibier. "From the moment I cycled from the hotel to the start line, I knew it would be a difficult day because my body was aching all over," Armstrong said after finishing fourth behind winner Juan Miguel Mercado. "I suppose that's why I couldn't find my proper

By Andrew Hood

Lance Armstrong tests his legs on the Galibier.

Lance Armstrong tests his legs on the Galibier.

Photo: Graham Watson

If the Dauphiné Libéré race is Lance Armstrong’s dress rehearsal for the upcoming Tour de France, don’t expect any major changes in the plot line come July.

The four-time Tour winner brushed off aches and pains from Friday’s spill and withstood more aggressive attacks from Euskaltel’s Iban Mayo on the classic climb up the Col du Galibier.

“From the moment I cycled from the hotel to the start line, I knew it would be a difficult day because my body was aching all over,” Armstrong said after finishing fourth behind winner Juan Miguel Mercado. “I suppose that’s why I couldn’t find my proper rhythm climbing the Galibier.”

The ascent up the long, grinding Galibier was an important test for Armstrong, who will be gunning for a fifth consecutive victory in the Tour in July. Armstrong held off the Spanish mountain goats and goes into Sunday’s finale with a 1:12 gap on second-placed Mayo.

Mayo launched a fierce attack 5km from the summit at an altitude of 2,556 meters but he could not build up a lead of more than 10 seconds on Armstrong. Despite the fall he suffered speeding down a slope Friday, Armstrong caught Mayo on the descent.

Mercado celebrates.

Mercado celebrates.

Photo: Graham Watson

“I never really worried because Mayo was not able to open a real gap and there were a lot of kilometers to go,” said Armstrong, who rode the stage with a bandage on his right elbow. “Going down the pass, I didn’t think about the fall and I never panicked.”

Mercado made a move on the Galibier and crossed over the summit 35 seconds ahead of Armstrong and 20 seconds ahead of Mayo. A group of about 20 riders came back together on the long, 30km run into Briançon, but there was no catching Mercado.

Mayo made another run on the steep climb into the hilltop city of Briançon and grabbed back a few seconds on Armstrong, but the Texan didn’t let the Spanish rider get too far away.

“The team is responding well, particularly (Manuel) Beltran,” said Armstrong, who won this race en route to his fourth Tour victory last year. “That’s good. Tomorrow is another complicated stage. It’s a good experience and a tough race, which is good for the Tour.”

Spain is turning the Dauphiné Libéré into its own private fiesta, but Armstrong remains firmly in the driver’s seat. Mercado’s win is his first major race outside of Iberia and the third win for a Spanish rider this week. Spain also swept the top three places in the stage.

“This gives me motivation for the Tour, and it’s good for the team,” Mercado said. “(Pablo) Sastre did a lot of work on the Galibier. I don’t know the Alps very well at all, so this is encouraging.”

American Levi Leipheimer (Rabobank) had another solid ride, coming in eighth at 34 seconds back to remain in seventh place overall. Cofidis’ David Millar remains in third place overall. The Scot lost nearly two minutes heading up the Galibier, but caught back on with the lead group on the long approach into Briançon.

The 55th Dauphiné Libéré concludes Sunday with the 174km seventh stage from Briançon to Grenoble. The peloton hits the 2,058-meter Col du Lautaret early in the stage and then the 1,434-meter Col du Coq and the 1,386-meter Col de Porte in the final 50 kilometers before a fast downhill finish into Grenoble.

Photo Gallery

Results

Stage 6 Results

CHALLES-LES-EAUX – BRIANCON

1. Mercado Juan Miguel (Sp), iBanesto.com, 3:58:47 @ 38.445 km/h

2. Iban Mayo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 00:26

3. Mikel Astarloza (Sp), Ag2R Prevoyance, 00:29

4. Lance Armstrong (USA), U.S. Postal Service

5. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), iBanesto.com

6. Christophe Moreau (F), Credit Agricole, 00:34

7. Patrice Halgand (F), Jean Delatour

8. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Rabobank (Netherlands)

9. Nicolas Vogondy (F), FDJeux.com

10. David Millar (GB), Cofidis

11. Cyril Dessel (F), Phonak

12. Manuel Beltran (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 00:40

13. Massimiliano Lelli (I), Cofidis, 00:43

14. Pablo Lastras (Sp), iBanesto.com

15. Inigo Chaurreau (Sp), Ag2R Prevoyance, 00:46

16. Albe Lopez De Munain (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

17. Salmon Benoît (F), Phonak, 00:51

18. Rubiera José Luis (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 1:01

19. Ludovic Turpin (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, 1:11

20. David Moncoutie (F), Cofidis, 1:14

21. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus), Ag2R Prevoyance, 3:16

22. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Brioches La Boulangere

23. Remmert Wielinga (Nl), Rabobank (Netherlands), 3:22

24. Gilles Bouvard (F), Jean Delatour, 4:29

25. Fragniere Cédric (Swi), Credit Agricole

26. Egoi Martinez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

27. Talabardon Sébastie (F), BIG

28. Joseba Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

29. Iker Flores (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi

30. Nicolas Portal (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, 4:37

31. Piotr Wadecki (Pol), Quick Step-Davitamon

32. Pena Victor Hugo (Col), U.S. Postal Service, 4:40

33. Josu Silloniz (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 5:04

34. Laurent Brochard (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, 5:12

35. Vasseur Cédric (F), Cofidis

36. Addy Engels (Nl), Rabobank (Netherlands), 5:57

37. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz), Quick Step-Davitamon, 8:25

38. Bessy Frédéric (F), Cofidis

39. Michael Blaudzun (Dk), CSC

40. David Canada Gracia (Sp), Quick Step-Davitamon

41. Kurt Van De Wouwer (B), Quick Step-Davitamon

42. Vladimir Karpets (Rus), iBanesto.com

43. Felix Garcia Casas (Sp), BIG

44. Laurent Dufaux (Swi), Alessio

45. Manuel Calvente (Sp), CSC

46. Poilvet Benoît (F), Credit Agricole

47. Yannick Talabardon (F), BIG

48. Jan Boven (Nl), Rabobank (Netherlands)

49. Anthony Morin (F), Credit Agricole

50. Richard Virenque (F), Quick Step-Davitamon

51. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC

52. Andrea Peron (I), CSC, 9:04

53. Michael Boogerd (Nl), Rabobank (Netherlands), 9:10

54. Grischa Niermann (G), Rabobank (Netherlands)

55. Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr), Jean Delatour

56. Roger Beuchat (Swi), Phonak, 9:26

57. Pavel Padrnos (Cz), U.S. Postal Service, 9:49

58. Ruben Diaz De Cerio (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 10:08

59. Didier Rous (F), Brioches La Boulangere, 11:29

60. Andy Flickinger (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, 11:31

61. Christophe Le Mevel (F), Credit Agricole, 12:23

62. Anthony Charteau (F), Brioches La Boulangere

63. Peter Luttenberger (AUT), CSC

64. Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz), Cofidis, 12:36

65. Tyler Hamilton (USA), CSC, 15:53

66. Bram Tankink (Nl), Quick Step-Davitamon

67. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step-Davitamon

68. Maryan Hary (F), Brioches La Boulangere

69. Walter Beneteau (F), Brioches La Boulangere

70. Christophe Edaleine (F), Jean Delatour

71. Philippe Gilbert (B), FDJeux.com

72. Eddy Seigneur (F), Jean Delatour

73. Christophe Mengin (F), FDJeux.com

74. Nicolas Jalabert (F), CSC

75. Anthony Geslin (F), Brioches La Boulangere

76. Nicki Sorensen (Dk), CSC

77. Vicent Garcia Acosta (Sp), iBanesto.com

78. Ekimov Viatcheslav (Rus), U.S. Postal Service

79. Denis Menchov (Rus), iBanesto.com

80. Mcgee Bradley (Aus), FDJeux.com

81. Floyd Landis (USA), U.S. Postal Service

82. Finot Frédéric (F), Jean Delatour

83. Raffaele Ferrara (I), Alessio

84. Iker Camano (Sp), Phonak

85. Lamouller LoïC (F), BIG

86. Pineau Jérôme (F), Brioches La Boulangere, 16:42

87. Franck Renier (F), Brioches La Boulangere, 18:15

88. Clain Médéric (F), Cofidis

89. Pierrick Fedrigo (F), Credit Agricole, 20:00

90. Plamen Stoianov (BUL), BIG

91. Andrea Brognara (I), Alessio

92. Samuel Dumoulin (F), Jean Delatour

93. Mads Kaggestad (Nor), Credit Agricole

94. Guillaume Auger (F), BIG

95. Laurent Lefevre (F), Jean Delatour

96. Javier Pascual (Sp), iBanesto.com, 20:13

97. Alexandre Usov (Blr), Phonak

98. Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus), U.S. Postal Service, 20:15

99. Davide Frattini (I), Alessio, 26:39:00

100. Alexei Sivakov (Rus), BIG

101. Beat Zberg (Swi), Rabobank (Netherlands)

102. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Credit Agricole

103. Aitor Silloniz (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 33:08:00

104. Vaugrenard BenoïT (F), FDJeux.com, 34:27:00

Christophe Oriol (F), Ag2R Prevoyance

Gonzalo Bayarri (Sp), Phonak

Miguel Martinez (F), Phonak

Overall Results after Stage 6

1. Lance Armstrong (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 25:07:42

2. Iban Mayo (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 1:12

3. David Millar (GB), Cofidis, 2:17

4. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), iBanesto.com, 3:18

5. Inigo Chaurreau (Sp), Ag2R Prevoyance, 4:36

6. Christophe Moreau (F), Credit Agricole, 4:59

7. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Rabobank (Netherlands), 5:08

8. Albe Lopez De Munain (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 5:45

9. Cyril Dessel (F), Phonak, 6:01

10. Mercado Juan Miguel (Sp), iBanesto.com, 6:03

11. Mikel Astarloza (Sp), Ag2R Prevoyance, 6:16

12. Nicolas Vogondy (F), FDJeux.com, 7:19

13. Manuel Beltran (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 7:50

14. Massimiliano Lelli (I), Cofidis, 8:11

15. Remmert Wielinga (Nl), Rabobank (Netherlands), 8:41

16. Salmon Benoît (F), Phonak, 11:06

17. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus), Ag2R Prevoyance, 11:24

18. Patrice Halgand (F), Jean Delatour, 13:22

19. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz), Quick Step-Davitamon, 13:34

20. Egoi Martinez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 14:04

21. Laurent Dufaux (Swi), Alessio, 14:08

22. Grischa Niermann (G), Rabobank (Netherlands), 14:21

23. Nicolas Portal (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, 14:35

24. David Canada Gracia (Sp), Quick Step-Davitamon, 15:07

25. Piotr Wadecki (Pol), Quick Step-Davitamon, 15:45

26. Laurent Brochard (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, 16:11

27. David Moncoutie (F), Cofidis, 16:36

28. Vasseur Cédric (F), Cofidis, 16:42

29. Talabardon Sébastie (F), BIG, 17:12

30. Kurt Van De Wouwer (B), Quick Step-Davitamon, 18:13

31. Richard Virenque (F), Quick Step-Davitamon, 18:21

32. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Brioches La Boulangere, 18:46

33. Ludovic Turpin (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, 20:04

34. Pablo Lastras (Sp), iBanesto.com, 21:04

35. Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr), Jean Delatour, 21:49

36. Felix Garcia Casas (Sp), BIG, 22:22

37. Didier Rous (F), Brioches La Boulangere

38. Vladimir Karpets (Rus), iBanesto.com, 22:23

39. Manuel Calvente (Sp), CSC, 23:00

40. Michael Boogerd (Nl), Rabobank (Netherlands), 23:19

41. Peter Luttenberger (AUT), CSC, 25:40:00

42. Bessy Frédéric (F), Cofidis, 26:10:00

43. Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz), Cofidis, 26:18:00

44. Rubiera José Luis (Sp), U.S. Postal Service, 26:22:00

45. Carlos Sastre (Sp), CSC, 27:08:00

46. Joseba Zubeldia (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 27:28:00

47. Roger Beuchat (Swi), Phonak, 28:00:00

48. Andy Flickinger (F), Ag2R Prevoyance, 28:02:00

49. Philippe Gilbert (B), FDJeux.com, 29:15:00

50. Denis Menchov (Rus), iBanesto.com, 29:37:00

51. Pierrick Fedrigo (F), Credit Agricole, 31:37:00

52. Maryan Hary (F), Brioches La Boulangere, 33:05:00

53. Walter Beneteau (F), Brioches La Boulangere, 33:31:00

54. Fragniere Cédric (Swi), Credit Agricole, 33:47:00

55. Gilles Bouvard (F), Jean Delatour, 34:18:00

56. Christophe Le Mevel (F), Credit Agricole, 34:43:00

57. Clain Médéric (F), Cofidis, 35:34:00

58. Andrea Peron (I), CSC, 36:52:00

59. Michael Blaudzun (Dk), CSC, 37:01:00

60. Pena Victor Hugo (Col), U.S. Postal Service, 37:05:00

61. Iker Flores (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 39:04:00

62. Yannick Talabardon (F), BIG, 39:35:00

63. Poilvet Benoît (F), Credit Agricole, 40:52:00

64. Anthony Morin (F), Credit Agricole, 41:40:00

65. Pineau Jérôme (F), Brioches La Boulangere, 41:52:00

66. Laurent Lefevre (F), Jean Delatour, 44:24:00

67. Jan Boven (Nl), Rabobank (Netherlands), 46:19:00

68. Josu Silloniz (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 47:12:00

69. Raffaele Ferrara (I), Alessio, 47:15:00

70. Pavel Padrnos (Cz), U.S. Postal Service, 47:18:00

71. Beat Zberg (Swi), Rabobank (Netherlands), 47:57:00

72. Finot Frédéric (F), Jean Delatour, 48:09:00

73. Christophe Edaleine (F), Jean Delatour, 48:33:00

74. Nicolas Jalabert (F), CSC, 50:00:00

75. Anthony Geslin (F), Brioches La Boulangere, 50:41:00

76. Tyler Hamilton (USA), CSC, 52:16:00

77. Ekimov Viatcheslav (Rus), U.S. Postal Service, 52:29:00

78. Christophe Mengin (F), FDJeux.com, 52:50:00

79. Floyd Landis (USA), U.S. Postal Service, 52:59:00

80. Bram Tankink (Nl), Quick Step-Davitamon, 53:51:00

81. Franck Renier (F), Brioches La Boulangere, 53:56:00

82. Iker Camano (Sp), Phonak, 54:05:00

83. Ruben Diaz De Cerio (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 54:43:00

84. Vicent Garcia Acosta (Sp), iBanesto.com, 54:46:00

85. Samuel Dumoulin (F), Jean Delatour, 55:03:00

86. Mcgee Bradley (Aus), FDJeux.com, 55:12:00

87. Nicki Sorensen (Dk), CSC, 55:21:00

88. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step-Davitamon, 55:43:00

89. Plamen Stoianov (BUL), BIG, 56:32:00

90. Alexei Sivakov (Rus), BIG, 57:29:00

91. Guillaume Auger (F), BIG, 58:50:00

92. Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus), U.S. Postal Service, 59:29:00

93. Addy Engels (Nl), Rabobank (Netherlands), 1:00:31

94. Alexandre Usov (Blr), Phonak, 1:00:38

95. Mads Kaggestad (Nor), Credit Agricole, 1:03:46

96. Lamouller LoïC (F), BIG, 1:06:12

97. Davide Frattini (I), Alessio, 1:07:13

98. Javier Pascual (Sp), iBanesto.com, 1:10:35

99. Thor Hushovd (Nor), Credit Agricole, 1:13:33

100. Anthony Charteau (F), Brioches La Boulangere, 1:17:29

101. Vaugrenard BenoïT (F), FDJeux.com, 1:18:49

102. Eddy Seigneur (F), Jean Delatour, 1:18:52

103. Andrea Brognara (I), Alessio, 1:24:48

104. Aitor Silloniz (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, 1:25:32