By Agence France Presse
Not wanting to disappoint his sponsor, Spanish rider José Enrique Gutierrez Cataluña took the overall lead in the Dauphiné Libéré on Tuesday after winning the second stage, a 181km ride from Bron to St. Etiene.
Gutierrez delivered the for the Chief Executive Officer of Phonak Hearing Systems, his team’s sponsor, who had warned he would be at the finish and “did not want to be disappointed.”
Gutierrez, who will be 30 on June 18, came home seven seconds to the good of the peloton with his teammate Cyril Gussel of France in second and Australian Stuart O’Grady in third, while overnight leader Iban Mayo finished in the same time but trails his compatriot by eight seconds.
Five-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong finished 28th in the stage and is 10sec adrift of the Spaniard.
“It was very hot,” said Armstrong, who is building up for his bid to win a record sixth Tour in July.
“But I passed a good day, without any problems. I felt strong and I was happy to finish among the peloton,” added the 32-year-old.
Gutierrez, a former Spanish time-trial champion, made the decisive move on the final climb of the stage the second category Croix de Chaubouret some 16km from the finish and delivered his team Phonak’s 10th victory of the season.
He crossed the line with his arms swinging as if he was rocking his two-month-old son Iban to sleep and then admitted it would be fanciful to dream of winning the whole event.
“I am not as strong as Armstrong or Mayo but I just decided to go for it as I felt the others were at their limits,” he said. “I also heard that Tyler Hamilton (his team leader) was struggling so it freed me to make a break.” he said.
Hamilton for his part said he had felt the effects of not racing for more than a month as he finished 42nd in the stage, though little damage was done in terms of time as he managed to get back to the peloton on the descent.
“The first stage of over 200km on Monday wrecked my body and I need five or six days hard racing to really get back in the groove.
“I didn’t want to really push it as there is the Tour de France to come,” added the 33-year-old, who finished fourth in last year’s Tour despite fracturing his collarbone.
Results – Stage 2
1. José Enrique Gutierrez Cataluña (Sp) Phonak, 181km in 4:36.44
2. Cyril Dessel (F) Phonak, at 0:07
3. Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Cofidis
4. Jerome Pineau (F) Brioches La Boulangere
5. Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Credit Agricole
6. Oscar Pereiro (Sp) Phonak
7. Frederic Guesdon (F) Fdjeux.com
8. Andrea Peron (I) CSC
9. Iban Mayo (Sp) Euskaltel
10. Michael Rasmussen (Dk) Rabobank
11. Richard Virenque (F) Quick Step-Davitamon
12. Oscar Sevilla (Sp) Phonak
13. Floyd Landis (USA) U.S. Postal
14. Egoi Martinez (Sp) Euskaltel
15. Sandy Casar (F) Fdjeux.com all same time
1. Jose Enrique Guttierez (Sp) Phonak 10:48.21
2. Iban Mayo (Sp) Euskaltel, at 0:08
3. Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak, at 0:0 9
4. Lance Armstrong (USA) U.S. Postal, at 0:10
5. Oscar Pereiro (Sp) Phonak
6. Cyril Dessel (F) Phonak both same time
7. Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Cofidis, at 0:14
8. Oscar Sevilla (Sp) Phonak same time
9. Laurent Lefevre (F) Brioches, at 0:18
10. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank, at 0:20
11. Mikel Astarloza (Sp) AG2r Prevoyance, at 0:21
12. Inigo Landaluze (Sp) Euskaltel, at 0:22
13. Michael Rasmussen (Dk) Rabobank, s.t.
14. Thomas Loevkvist (S) Fdjeux.com, at 0:27
15. David Moncoutie (F) Cofidis, at 0:28
Hamburger not happy
Denmark’s 1997 world road race silver medallist Bo Hamburger on Tuesday expressed outrage at his national governing body for recommending to the National Sports Federation (DIF) that he be dropped from the cycling team for the Olympic Games in Athens in August.
The Danish cycling federation (DCU) want him expelled because they suspect the 34-year-old of taking the endurance boosting (erythropoietin) EPO after a doping test at last year’s world championships in Canada revealed an above normal level of hematocrit in his blood.
That can imply the athlete has taken EPO although it is not incontrovertible proof, and while the DCU says that they believe he did take EPO, Hamburger is furious at being judged without being proven guilty.
“I am absolutely stunned,” he told Danish agency Ritzau. “It is like I am having to battle an invisible enemy and I am obliged to defend myself in a case where there is none,” he added.
It is the second time Hamburger has been in dispute with the DCU as they banned him for life in 2001 after testing positive for EPO. However he was reinstated after he appealed on the basis that there were doubts about the second sample.