Hushovd Wins Stage 1 of Dauphine Libere
Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) has won Stage 1 of the Dauphine Libere. The Norwegian took a bunch sprint from Stuart O'Grady (Cofidis) and Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r) to win the downhill, 231-km ride from Megeve to Bron in 6:03:47. Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) remains the overall leader.
Jimmy Casper (Cofidis) started the racing early. At four km, the Frenchman bolted up the road, and his lead ballooned to 17:00 at 120 km. La Francaise des Jeux.com began to chase, and Casper began to come back to the peloton.
With 55 km remaining and Casper's lead down to 1:00, Christophe Laurent (RAGT) bridged up to the Cofidis rider, and the pair forged a three-minute lead. The sprinters' teams, however, upped the tempo and reeled in the pair in the last two km. The stage came down to a sprint, which Hushovd won.
In the overall, Mayo leads Tyler Hamilton (Phonak) by 0:01 and defending champion Lance Armstrong (U.S. Postal Service) by 0:02. Stage 2 might change this state of affairs, but it probably will not do so. The undulating, 181-km run from Bron to St. Etienne has three categorized climbs, but the toughest of them will be a Category 2 ascent with 16 km remaining. Will one of the heads of state steal a march on his competitors with a late solo flyer? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!
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