Skip to main content

Valverde takes control of Dauphine Libere

  • Story Highlights
  • Alejandro Valverde takes over race leader's yellow jersey in Dauphine Libere
  • Spaniard finishes second to Sylvester Szmyd in the climb up Mont Ventoux
  • Previous leader Cadel Evans second in overall standings, 16 seconds behind
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

(CNN) -- Spain's Alejandro Valverde is the new leader of the Dauphine Libere after a dominant display on the giant Mont Ventoux on Thursday.

Szmyd celebrates winning on Mont Ventoux as second-placed Alejandro Valverde takes the yellow jersey.

Szmyd celebrates winning on Mont Ventoux as second-placed Alejandro Valverde takes the yellow jersey.

The 29-year-old, who is bidding to collect his second consecutive victory in the Tour de France warm-up race, finished second to Poland's Sylvester Szmyd in the 154km stage from Valence.

The pair had broken away from the lead group at the bottom of the iconic 1,900-meter climb, known as the Giant of Provence, and maintained their advantage to finish one minute 14 seconds clear of another Spaniard, Haimar Zubeldia.

Australian Cadel Evans held the race leader's yellow jersey going into the fifth stage, but he was given no help from those around him as he attempted to close the gap on the leading duo.

An unhappy Evans told reporters: "It was a bizarre race. It seems not many riders want to win the Dauphine this year.

"It's hard to have the responsibility of wearing the yellow jersey as well as coping with the wind on the final stretch, that's tough on the Ventoux. I was expecting Contador to do more."

Evans eventually finished two minutes, 10 seconds down on Szmyd and Valverde, meaning he now finds himself 16 seconds behind the Caisse d'Epargne rider in the general classification.

Tour de France champion Alberto Contador chose to follow Evans up the final climb and lies third overall, one minute and four seconds behind Valverde.

Contador said he was saving his strength for next month's Tour. "I stayed with Evans and chose not to get in a fight.

"Evans is in great form but he had to work extra hard. When your opponent is hanging onto your back wheel you are always concerned he may launch an attack," he said.

On Friday, the peloton remain in the moutains with a 106-kilometer stage from Gap to Briancon.

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print