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Milram’s Terpstra doubles in Dauphiné

Dutch rider Nikki Terpstra delivered the double for his Milram team at Tuesday’s third stage at the Dauphiné Libéré, winning out of a five-man breakaway and snatching the race leader’s jersey. Sensing that the favorites would be cooling their jets ahead of Wednesday’s decisive individual time trial, five peeled away early on a hilly 182km stage to Saint-Étienne to hold a 1:32 gap to the line.

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By Andrew Hood

2009 Dauphiné Libéré, stage 3: Terpstra takes the win and the leader’s jersey.

Photo: Graham Watson

Dutch rider Nikki Terpstra delivered the double for his Milram team at Tuesday’s third stage at the Dauphiné Libéré, winning out of a five-man breakaway and snatching the race leader’s jersey.

Sensing that the favorites would be cooling their jets ahead of Wednesday’s decisive individual time trial, five peeled away early on a hilly 182km stage to Saint-Étienne to hold a 1:32 gap to the line.

The 25-year-old Terpstra overcame a long sprint from ex-Dauphiné winner Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel) and then held off Ludovic Turpin (Ag2r) to earn his first victory on the 2009 season.

Terpstra now leads Rémy Pauriol (Cofidis) by 26 seconds, with fellow escapee Yury Trofimov (Bouygues) slotting into third at 27 seconds back.

Overnight leader Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) crossed the line 15th with the main bunch and slipped to fifth overall at 1:01 back.

Landaluze, Pauriol, Terpstra, Trofimov and Turpin snuck away to open up a decisive, six-minute gap with in the first hour of racing.

With three of four French teams in the breakaway represented, it was left to FDJeux to lead the chase, but the effort came too late.

The gap was trimmed from almost five minutes at 50km to go down to less than three minutes with 25km to go, it soon became evident that the breakaway was going to stay clear.

Astana – racing in their regular team jerseys after financial problems within the team have been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction – was at the front to keep Alberto Contador out of trouble over the hilly final run into Saint-Étienne.

Caisse d’Epargne nudged to the front to lead the pack down some narrow descents in the final 15km as light showers dampened roads and effectively put an end to the serious chase, allowing the leading five to duke it out for the honors.

Gert Steegmans (Katusha) led the main bunch across to win the sprint at 1:32 back.

Pauriol claimed the climber’s jersey as the breakaway picked up points over four fourth-category climbs on the undulating transition stage ahead of the “real” Dauphiné clicks into gear with Wednesday’s 42km individual time trial.

The out-and-back course in the hills east of Valence features a stiff, fourth-category climb at the Côte de la Martinette about midway through the race. There are enough wide-open, flat sections to give rolleurs like Evans, winner of Sunday’s TT opener, an advantage against more agile climbers.

Differences opened up in Wednesday’s time trial will come in handy going into Thursday’s summit finish up Mont Ventoux in the 154km fifth stage.

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Results

Stage results | Click for: GC standings

  • 1. Niki Terpstra (NED/MRM)
  • 2. Ludovic Turpin (FRA/ALM) 0:00.
  • 3. Yury Trofimov (RUS/BBO) 0:00.
  • 4. R?mi Pauriol (FRA/COF) 0:00.
  • 5. Inigo Landaluze (ESP/EUS) 0:00.
  • 6. Nikolai Trussov (RUS/KAT) 1:32.
  • 7. Murilo Fischer (BRA/LIQ) 1:32.
  • 8. Marco Bandiera (ITA/LAM) 1:32.
  • 9. Markus Zberg (SUI/BMC) 1:32.
  • 10. Christian Knees (GER/MRM) 1:32.
  • 11. Stijn Vandenbergh (BEL/KAT) 1:32.
  • 12. Adam Hansen (AUS/THR) 1:32.
  • 13. Paul Voss (GER/MRM) 1:32.
  • 14. Karsten Kroon (NED/SAX) 1:32.
  • 15. Cadel Evans (AUS/SIL) 1:32.
  • 16. S?bastien Minard (FRA/COF) 1:32.
  • 17. William Bonnet (FRA/BBO) 1:32.
  • 18. Aliaksandr Kuschynski (BLR/LIQ) 1:32.
  • 19. David De la Fuente (ESP/FUJ) 1:32.
  • 20. Luis Pasamontes (ESP/GCE) 1:32.
  • Abandons: Staf Scheirlinckx (BEL/SIL), Trent Lowe (AUS/GRM)

GC standings | Click for: Stage results

  • 1. Niki Terpstra (NED/MRM) 10:23:45
  • 2. Remi Pauriol (FRA/COF) at 0:26 sec
  • 3. Yuri Trofimov (RUS/BBO) 0:27.
  • 4. Ludovic Turpin (FRA/ALM) 0:36.
  • 5. Cadel Evans (AUS/SIL) 1min 01sec
  • 6. Inigo Landaluze (ESP/EUS) 1:01.
  • 7. Alberto Contador (ESP/AST) 1:09.
  • 8. Alejandro Valverde (ESP/GCE) 1:24.
  • 9. Sebastien Rosseler (BEL/QST) 1:34.
  • 10. Vincenzo Nibali (ITA/LIQ) 1:35.