Evans Wins Stage 1 of Dauphine Libere
Cadel Evans (BMC) has displayed his pre-Tour de France form.
Cadel Evans (Team BMC Racing) has displayed his pre-Tour de France form. The Tour champion broke away from the field on the day's last climb and took a three-up sprint to win the hilly, 187-km ride from Seyssins to Saint Vallier in 4:36:21. Jerome Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) finished second, and Andrey Kaschechkin (Astana) finished third. Defending champion Bradley Wiggins (Sky) is the maillot jaune.
The hostilities began early. With four km ridden, Giovanni Bernaudeau (Europcar), Markel Irizar (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Nicolas Edet (Cofidis), Sep Vanmarcke (Garmin-Barracuda), Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank) and Yukihiro Doi (Argos-Shimano) escaped. Initially, the peloton did not chase, and the sextet led by 13 minutes at 45 km.
Lotto-Belisol began to chase, and Sky, Orica-GreenEdge, Saur-Sojasun and BMC eventually joined in. With about 70 km left, the escapees' advantage was down to 4 minutes, and it dropped another minute in the next 20 km.
Fifty km into the stage, a crash took down Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Last year's Tour de France King of the Mountains struggled to finish the stage, and the rumor mill let out that Sanchez had broken ribs and would be taken to a hospital when he finished the stage. The Spaniard finished the stage 24 minutes down. An examination determined that Sanchez had bruised ribs.
When the fugitives tackled the day's last climb with 12 km left, barely 1 minute separated bunch and break. Omega Pharma-Quick Step led the field, while Irizar set out on his own. Surprisingly, Andy Schleck (RadioShack-Nissan) was dropped. The field reeled in Irizar.
On the descent, Evans attacked. Coppel and Kashechkin followed. The trio opened a small gap, and the peloton could not close it. The three fought out the sprint, which Evans won. The peloton finished at 0:04.
"It was a bit of difficult descent, quite narrow," Evans said. I saw a bit of an opportunity there in the little group in the peloton. Sometimes you see these opportunities and you have to try something.
"I rode a lot to try and keep the distance on the peloton and that isn't normally favourable for the finish. But I came with good speed out of the corner and kept it to the line. It shows that the work I've been doing is good but we've still got a lot of work to do and some improvements to make before we get to the Tour,"
In the overall, Wiggins leads Evans by 0:01 and Andriy Grivko (Astana) by 0:02. Stage 2, a hilly, 160-km ride from Lamastre to Saint Felicien, could change this state of affairs. The course will feature 6 categorized climbs, including a Category 4 at the end. Who will win? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!