By Andrew Hood
Liberty Seguros stamped its authority on the final stage of the Vueltaa Murcia in southern Spain.
Aussie sprinter Allan Davis won his second stage in three days whileKoldo Gil wrapped up the overall title after finishing strong in Saturday’sclimbing stage at Collado Bermejo.
Despite some early attempts at breakaways, the sprinter teams controlledthe pace to set up the bunch. Davis held off Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner),a winner of the first two stages, to snag his second victory on the season.
Gil, 27, confirmed his status as one of Spain’s rising stars. He heldoff Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Caffita) in Saturday’s climbing stage to grabthe overall leader’s jersey, but had to settle for second on the day behindPedro Arreitunandía.
American Levi Leipheimer finished a solid sixth overall in his seasondebut for Gerolsteiner.
Vuelta a Murcia (SPA 2.1), Stage 5, Murcia-Murcia,150km
1. Allan Davis (Aus), Liberty Seguros 3h24:28
2. Danilo Hondo (Ger), Gerolsteiner
3. Wesley Lindo (Ned), Chocolade Jacques
4. Crescenzo D’Amore (Ita), Acqua y Sapone
5. Jukka Vastaranta (Fin), Rabobank – all same time
Final overall standings
1. Koldo Gil (Spa), Liberty Seguros 15h53:08
2. Antonio Colom (Spa), Illes Balears +0:30
3. Damiano Cunego (Ita), Lampre-Caffita +0:59
4. Pedro Arreitunandía (Spa), Barloworld +1:09
5. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa), Kaiku +1:35
6. Levi Leipheimer (USA), Gerolsteiner +1:47
Armstrong confirms Dauphiné
Lance Armstrong will race the Dauphiné Libéréin his final preparation for a run at a seventh Tour de France crown. TheFrench daily L’Equipe reported Armstrong will race the French raceJune 5-12 as the Texan makes his season debut in this week’s Paris-Nice.
Armstrong already confirmed he would race in the ProTour team timetrial on June 19, a decision that left no room for Armstrong to race inthe Tour de Suisse, which runs June 11-19.
Armstrong has won two Dauphiné titles en route to victory inthe Tour.
Race organizers decided to cancel the final stage of the Three Daysof West Flanders after poor weather continued to plague northern Europe.Snow prompted the cancellation of the opening two stages and organizersdecided a final stage just wasn’t likely considering the continuing poorweather.Cipollini, Petacchi to square off in Italy
Mario Cipollini (Liquigas-Bianchi) and Alessandro Petacchi (Fassa Bortolo)will face each in Monday’s Giro della Provincia di Lucca in Italy.
It will be the first time the two Italian sprinter superstars havefaced each other in the 2005 season. Seventeen teams will line up for theItalian race ahead of this week’s start of Tirreno-Adriatico (March 9-15).Most of the favorites for Milan-San Remo (March 19) will be stretchingtheir legs in Lucca.