Wegmann Wins Stage 1 of Dauphine Libere, Takes Overall Lead
Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner) has won Stage 1 of the Dauphine Libere. The German rider took a three-up sprint to win the rolling, 207-km run from Annecy to Bourgoin-Jallieu in 5:06:36. Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) finished second, and Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel) finished third. Wegmann has taken overall leadership from prologue winner David Zabriskie (CSC).
The racing began early. At two km, Nicolas Inaudi (Cofidis) sallied off of the front. No one pursued the Frenchman, and his lead ballooned to 18:10 at 75 km. Credit Agricole began to ride tempo, and at 127 km, CSC joined the French squad to protect Zabriskie?s yellow jersey.
At 97.5 km, a collision occurred. Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), Francisco Mancebo (Ag2r), Chris Horner (Davitamon), Filippo Pozzato (Quick Step), and Andrei Grivko (Milram) went down. Leipheimer collided with a motorbike. Leipheimer?s bike was demolished, but Leipheimer was uninjured. Certainly, the episode did not help the pursuit.
With 30 km left, 4:30 separated Inaudi from the peloton. At the base of the Cote de Rapoux (193 km), Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC) and Manuel Quiziato and Vincenzo Nibali (both from Liquigas) attempted to catch Inaudi. The peloton reeled in the trio, but Wegmann, Mancebo, Martinez, and Voeckler countered. The quartet reeled in Inaudi one km before the summit.
With eight km left, the escapees led the peloton by 0:40. Credit Agricole, which had led the pursuit for some time, received assistance from Quick Step. The bunch made inroads into the break?s lead, but it was too late.
With three km left, Martinez attacked his companions but could not escape. In the last km, Voeckler made his move, but he was reeled in. With 200 m left, Wegmann sprang into the lead and held off Voeckler to win.
In the overall, Wegmann leads Voeckler and Zabriskie by 0:05. Stage 2 might produce another leadership change. The 203-km ride from Bourjoin-Jallieu to Saint-Galmier has four Category 4 four climbs that might break up the field. Will another small group escape? If so, who will be in it? For the answers to these questions and more, check in at www.roadcycling.com!