Armstrong, Landis 1-2 At Dauphine
– Reported by Dan Osipow For Tailwind Sports –
Riding in protection of the top two places in the general classification, the United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team rode tempo at the front of the peloton in today’s fifth stage of the Dauphine Libere stage race and maintained Lance Armstrong’s lead over his main rivals. At the conclusion of today’s 204 kilometer stage from Digne to Grenoble, Armstrong still leads teammate Floyd Landis by 16 seconds and Haimar Zubeldia of Euskaltel by 1:12.
The Dauphine continues tomorrow with a difficult sixth stage of 146 kilometers from Albertville to Morzine-Avoriaz before Sunday’s final seventh stage of 150 kms from Morzine-Avoriaz to Genиva.
Landis has been a revelation at the event and jumped from 11th to second overall following yesterday’s fourth stage.
“Johan (Bruyneel, the USPS team’s director sportif) said it would make it easier on the team if I went away in a break,” Landis said. “I was sitting on, but had the excuse to do so. It was the first break of the day and I was the only one even close on GC. I thanked the team for letting me go in the break and appreciated the confidence they had in me. From now on, I will do what I can (for the team). If I can keep my spot, great, but will work for Lance to keep him in the lead.”
Landis began to garner attention following his effort at Mount Ventoux in stage two.
“Ventoux went really well,” Landis said. “Going into it, Johan said Chechu (teammate Jose Luis Rubiera) and I should stay out of the way and be there to help Lance to the top. I sat on (Credit Agricole’s Jonathan) Vaughters and he rode tempo for what seemed like 30 minutes as he rode for (teammate Christophe) Moreau. Then there were a couple of attacks and the next thing I know there are like six or so guys left. I turned around and there wasn’t much left. I tried to cover a couple of attacks and finally couldn’t go with anyone and then rode alone over the last few kilometers.
“I had been up Ventoux a few times before – we did it in last year’s Paris-Nice – but I had never done it quite like that. I was quite pleased – tired, but at least I had something to be happy out. There are plenty of times after a race when you are wiped out with nothing to show for it.”
In his first year with the USPS team, Landis added, “As for as the racing goes, I have lots to learn, as I do with training and resting as well. This team experience has been wonderful, I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t ask for better people to surround myself with. I still have a ways to go and Johan said I should focus on being my best in July.”
STAGE 5, DAUPHINE LIBERE
1. Frederic Guesdon, La Francaise Des Jeux; 204 kms in 5:07:59
2. Santiago Botero, Kelme-Costa Blanca; s.t.
3. Laurent Jalabert, CSC-Tiscali; s.t.
4. Ludovic Turpin, Ag2R; s.t.
5. Francisco Vila, iBanesto.com; s.t.
16. Viatcheslav Ekimov, U.S. Postal Service; at 9:13
32. Floyd Landis, U.S. Postal Service; s.t.
33. Lance Armstrong, U.S. Postal Service; s.t.
43. Jose Luis Rubiera, U.S. Postal Service; s.t.
44. Pavel Padrnos, U.S. Postal Service; s.t.
47. Steffen Kjaergaard, U.S. Postal Service; s.t.
58. Benoit Joachim, U.S. Postal Service; s.t.
64. Victor Hugo Pena, U.S. Postal Service; s.t.
GC AFTER 5 STAGES, DAUPHINE LIBERE
1. Armstrong; 20:28:12
2. Landis; at :16
3. Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi; at 1:12
4. Denis Menchov, iBanesto.com; at 1:59
5. Christophe Moreau, Credit Agricole; at 2:18
28. Rubiera; at 9:40
32. Ekimov; at 10:48
74. Joachim; at 27:39
78. Pena; at 28:45
89. Padrnos; at 33:21
93. Kjaergaard; at 36:44