By VeloNews Interactive , Copyright AFP 2001
American Jonathan Vaughters won Thursday’s time trial stage at the Dauphiné Libéré stage race in France. The Credit Agricole rider from Colorado covered the 43km time trial between Beaumes-de-Venise and Valreas in southeastern France three seconds faster than second-place David Millar (Cofidis), who took the overall lead. Vaughters is now second overall, 20 seconds behind Millar.
Millar, who wore the first yellow jersey of last year’s Tour de France after winning the prologue, is determined to win the Dauphiné and maintain the kind of form he will need going into this year’s Grande Boucle. In typically Mediterranean temperatures, the Scot crossed the finish line three seconds behind Vaughters, with Spaniard David Plaza clocking the third-best time, 12 seconds back.
Vaughters will be following Millar’s progress closely, and said Thursday’s performance has given him fresh inspiration. “I was really surprised by my performance,” said the 28-year-old. “I’m going to try and maintain the pace.” Vaughters also paid respect to Millar and said he would be a hard act to follow. But that would not stop him from sticking on the big Scotsman’s rear wheel. “Maybe Millar will slip up somewhere, but I think he’s an exceptional rider who will be really hard to beat. I climb better than he does and have always been good in the time-trial, but there’s no pressure. Everyone in the team is just trying to find his own pace, which is a rare mentality for cyclists to have.” Millar said he’s using Dauphiné as preparation for the Tour. “I decided to take part in the race to get myself ready for the Tour de France, not specifically to win it,” he said. “All the same, the fact that I went over the (Mount) Ventoux has given me a boost. Now that I’ve taken the lead the team has confidence in me and will try to protect me.” Millar may need protection. He leads Vaughters in the overall standings with Frenchman Christophe Moreau in third position at 1:07. However, a clutch of potential winners sit not too far behind in the overall standings, and will be ready to pounce on the slightest slip-up.
DAUPHINE LIBERE, France. June 10-17.
1. Jonathan Vaughters (USA), Credit Agricole, 55:48 (avg. 46.224 kph); 2. David Millar (GB), Cofidis, at 0:03; 3. David Plaza (Sp), Festina, at 0:12; 4. Christophe Moreau (F), Festina, at 1:05; 5. Iban Mayo (Sp), at 1:17; 6. Unai Etxebarria (Ven), Euskatel-Euskadi, at 1:22; 7. Pavel Tonkov (Rus), Mercury-Viatel, at 1:30; 8. Inigo Chaurreau (Sp), Euskatel-Euskadi, at 1:57, 9. Florent Brard (F), Festina, at 2:02; 10. Benoit Salmon (F), AG2R, at 2:03.
16. Chann McRae (USA), Mercury-Viatel, at 2:44; 19. Bobby Julich (USA), Credit Agricole, at 2:50; 28. Axel Merckx (B), Domo-Farm Frites, at 3:53.
1. Millar, 16:11:11; 2. Vaughters, at 0:20; 3. Moreau, at 1:07; 4. Etxebarria, at 1:24; 5. Tonkov, at 1:41; 6. Salmon, at 2:16; 7. Merckx, at 2:18; 8. Denis Menchov (Rus), iBanesto.com, at 2:45; 9. Sven Montgomery (Swi), Francaise des Jeux, at 2:58; 10. Andrei Kivilev (Kaz), Cofidis, at 3:06.
23. McRae, at 8:42; 27. Julich, at 10:14; 45. Floyd Landis, Mercury-Viatel, at 17:54;