Discovery Channel Team Report
George Hincapie and the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team finished off the Dauphine Libere today in the same fashion they began the race one week ago - with an impressive stage win. Hincapie, the winner of the race's prologue seven days ago in Aix-les-Bains, broke clear today with teammate Yarosav Popovych less than halfway through the 128 kilometer stage from Morzine-Avoriaz to Sallanches and the duo managed to stay clear, winning in 3:07:10. The next group of riders were led to the line twenty-two seconds later by a sprinting Lance Armstrong - giving the Discovery Channel team a
"It's gone really well for me," Hincapie said. "I would never have dreamed of winning two stages. I trained very hard for this race so to win the prologue was a really big deal for me. And today's stage, it was a really hard day, just brutal. So I'm really happy."
Hincapie and Popovych were members of an early breakaway but saw an opportunity to surge ahead.
"We had nothing really planned like that today," Hincapie said. "We were in the big break and with five Phonaks with us, they were pulling hard trying to gain time for their leaders. Then we hit a valley and then a climb and on the climb the break wasn't working together that well. There were lots of attacks and with about one kilometer left on the climb, Popo went. I saw the group riding at its limit so I went up and caught Popo and then we went hard the rest of the way."
The stage finished with seven circuits that included a 2.5 km climb that averaged 10% but the Discovery Channel duo fought on.
"We were going as hard as we could," Hincapie said. "We worked well together but didn't know we would stay away. The climb got harder and harder and at the end, you couldn't feel your legs. It was one of the toughest circuits out there, so for us to stay away and for Lance to get third, that's a really good sign for us."
In the overall, Armstrong led the team in fourth place, just under a minute behind surprise winner Inigo Landaluze of the Euskaltel team. Armstrong came through with many solid performances throughout the week in one of his final tune-ups for the upcoming Tour de France. Armstrong was fifth in the prologue and following two relatively uneventful stages turned in a strong ride in the stage three time trial, placing third, 26 seconds behind stage winner and overall runner-up Santiago Botero of Phonak. In the next stage to
"B plus for the whole week? Maybe that's a little generous,'' Armstrong said to the Associated Press. "I wasn't explosive and wasn't able to make the selection, only to follow. But I know from here I can step up another level."
On today's sweep of the podium, Armstrong said - "It was a great race because I could help a teammate today, that's racing. They were dream circumstances."
Also in the overall, three other Discovery Channel riders - Manuel Beltran (16th), Popovych (22nd) and Jose Azevedo (25th) finished in the top 25, helping the team win the team classification by nearly seven minutes over Phonak. Hincapie finished 32 second overall.
Click here for complete results.