By VeloNews Interactive Wire Services
Mercury Viatel’s Andrei Teteriouk won the individual time trial on the third day of the Midi Libre Grand Prix in Montpellier, France, on Thursday. Teteriouk averaged 57.791 kph over the 19km course and finished 17 seconds ahead of Australian Bradley McGee (La Française des Jeux), and 22 seconds faster than France’s Gilles Maignan (Ag2r).
The 33-year-old from Kazakhstan also takes over the overall lead of the 33rd Midi Libre from Czech Jan Svorada with a 22-second advantage over Maignan, and a 30-second lead over Frenchman Christophe Moreau. Teteriouk’s stage win marks the 37th for the Mercury-Viatel team, which is now splitting its resources between the U.S. domestic road schedule and the circuit in Europe. The Mercury win happened to coincide with a visit to the Midi Libre by Tour de France director Jean-Marie Leblanc who was in Montpellier as a guest of the race.Teteriouk said he was still smarting from what he considered to be a disappointing third-place finish at the recent Tour de Romandy in Switzerland. “During the Tour of Romandy, I started to slow and that’s maybe where I lost the race, so I decided not to lose time at the beginning”, Teteriuk said.
“This is my first win as a professional in a time trial but it’s not a surprise for me,” Teteriouk said. “It was a nice route and I knew that I was in form. To win the time trial was my goal here. The surprise is to take the yellow jersey.”
With three difficult days ahead, Mercury team director Alain Gallopin played down the team’s chances at defending the jersey.
Gallopin pointed to the fact that Fabrizio Guidi didn’t start Midi Libre due to an injury, while several other members of the squad “don’t have a great experience in defending a leader’s jersey.”
As for Leblanc’s appearance at Midi Libre, Gallopin said he was pleased by the day’s turn of events. “We accept the decision,” Gallopin said, but added that his rider probably sent the most appropriate message of the day.
The French wire service AFP contributed to this report
MIDI-LIBRE GP, France.
Stage 3: Montpellier, May 24.
1. Andrei Teteriouk (Kaz) Mercury-Viatel, 19km in 22:26; 2. Bradley McGee (Aus) at 0:17; 3. Gilles Maignan (Fra) at 0:22 4. Florent Brard (Fra) at 0:26; 5. Christophe Moreau (Fra) at 0:30; 6. Unia Etxebarria (Ven) at 0:33; 7. Angel Casero (Spa) at 0:41; 8. Iban Mayo (Spa) at 0:44; 9. Jonathan Vaughters (USA) at 0:45; 10. Robert Bartko (Ger) at 0:45.
Others: 12. Laurent Jalabert (Fra) at 0:51; 13. Laurent Brochard (Fra) at 0:54; 17. Jamie Drew (Aus) at 1:02; 19. Didier Rous (Fra) at 1:06.
OVERALL: 1. Teteriouk, 9:36:24; 2. Maignan, at 0:22; 3. Moreau, at 0:30; 4. Unai Etxebarria (Ven) at 0:34; 5. Iban Mayo (Spa) at 0:44; 6. McGee, at 0:44; 7. Sven Montgomery (Swi) at 0:49; 8. Jalabert, at 0:52; 9. Brochard, at 0:55; 10. Brard, at 0:56.
Others: 12. Jamie Drew (Aus) at 1:03; 14. Didier Rous (Fra) at 1:06.