Friday, June 13, 2008

Haimar approaching top form

Haimar is certainly on the right track for the Tour. On today's 5th stage of the Dauphiné, and on the second consecutive stage in the mountains, he ended up 4th. Here's how it all unfolded:

The team once again got a man in the decisive break, as Rubén got away early on with a bunch of other riders. The course turned out to be a little bit too tough for him though, so he didn't stand a chance when the real climbing began with the feared Joux-Plane. Haimar did though. With approximately 6 kilometres left to the summit, he took off from the group of favourites. He quickly built up a handy advantage, and stayed between the remnants of the break and the rest of the peloton, which had been markedly slimmed down by then, for several kilometres. But when Gesink upped the pace with 3 clicks to go to the top, Haimar decided to take it easy and wait for Valverde, Gesink, Evans, Leipheimer and Szmyd. He stayed with this group easily all the way to the finish, coming in an impressive 4th. As a result he advanced to 9th overall. Mikel got dropped a couple of kilometres from the top though, and had to make do with a 14th place on the stage, consequently dropping to 8th overall. Samu once again decided to use it all as training, but perhaps we'll get to see him in a break tomorrow. After the stage, Haimar had this to say to the reporters: "It was a very short and nervous stage. The break didn't get very far, as it contained several important riders , meaning the pace was high in the pack all day and we never got the chance to relax. I was some minutes adrift of the leaders on GC going into the stage, so I harboured hopes of getting a gap when I attacked at the base of the Joux-Plane. But the guys in the car told me all along that there was a war going on behind me, so I decided to wait for them. I feel good, especially on the climbs, and that gives me motivation to continue the preparations for the Tour. The fact that I'm up there alongside the likes of Valverde and Evans bodes well for the future. But it's important to keep in mind that the Tour is only three weeks away, so you don't want to go too deep. In those three weeks it'll be important to recover from this effort and put the finishing touches on the Tour preparation". Stage results:

  • 4th, Haimar Zubeldia, 0:23
  • 14th, Mikel Astarloza, 2:13
  • 48th, Rubén Pérez, 5:57
  • 95th, Iñaki Isasi, 15:54
  • 96th, Samuel Sánchez, s.t.
  • 115th, Juan José Oroz, 19:35
  • 118th, Jon Bru, s.t.
  • 127th, Beñat Albizuri, 21:33


  • 8th, Mikel Astarloza, 3:15
  • 9th, Haimar Zubeldia, 3:17
  • 68th, Rubén Pérez, 21:44
  • 78th, Juan José Oroz, 25:58
  • 82nd, Iñaki Isasi, 27:54
  • 88th, Samuel Sánchez, 29:33
  • 122nd, Jon Bru, 48:28
  • 129th, Beñat Albizuri, 1:02:23

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