Slovenian champion for time trial Janez Brajkovic has won the 49km race against the clock from Monteux to Sorgues, preceding hot favourite David Millar by 26 seconds and Norwegian prodigy Edvald Boasson Hagen by 43 seconds. Yellow and blue jersey Alberto Contador finished sixth at 1.46. Brajkovic is the new leader of the Dauphiné.
The crashes of the first two stages have placed some time trial specialists in the first positions of the starting list. Danish champion Lars Ytting Bak (HTC-Columbia) set an interesting time of reference in 1.05.32 but he was quickly beaten by Tomas Vaitkus (RadioShack) in 1.05.15.
Boasson Hagen back in business
With Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky), the race became another story. The Norwegian champion for time trial clocked 1.02.34 with the impressive average speed of 46.990km/h. That was 2.44 less than Vaitkus. The wind was a major factor in the early part of the race. It blew against the cyclists in the climb of La Roque-sur-Pernes and became favourable for the riders on the way back after the turning point of Fontaines-de-Vaucluse at the half way point.
12 seconds missing for Menchov
Denis Menchov threatened Boasson Hagen’s lead. He was timed 18 seconds adrift the Norwegian at La Roque-sur-Pernes. He rode cautiously in the downhill and suffered a deficit of 32 seconds at the second check point but the Russian finished strongly with only 12 seconds missing compared to the best performance at the time. Bert Grabsch was another specialist who got no chance to make the young Norwegian worry. The former world champion for time trial couldn’t repeat the stage win he got at the Dauphiné one year ago as he scored the fourth fastest time when he crossed the line in 1.04.07.
Millar and Brajkovic complete the show
Once the last ten riders took off, it became another story. Three of them bettered Boasson Hagen’s time after 15.5km: Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack) in 23.26, David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) in 23.35 and Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia) in 23.42. Race leader Alberto Contador (Astana) was fifth, 32 seconds adrift the Slovenian champion for time trial. Brajkovic was forced to change bike after 20 kilometres but he kept the leading position till the end with 26 seconds lead over Millar and 43 seconds over Boasson Hagen. Brajkovic clocked 1.01.51 at an average speed of 47.53km/h and became the new leader of the Dauphiné.
This is a great victory for me. I knew I always had the best time but I had to change bike after the climb, so I was angry and I didn’t know my position. I lost about 30 seconds in the bike change. But my directeur sportif Alain [Gallopin] told me I still had the best time. It’s fantastic to be in yellow. We have a very strong team and I am in good form. I feel good but I’ve never done these climbs in France. The Dauphiné is one of the biggest races in the cycling calendar, so I want to do well.
1. Brajkovic (RadioShack), 1.01.51
2. Millar (Garmin), at 0.26
3. Boasson Hagen (Sky), at 0.43
4. Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia), at 0.53
5. Menchov (Rabobank), at 0.55
6. Contador (Astana), at 1.45
Janez Brajkovic has set a new best time on the finishing line: 1.01.51. It’s 26 seconds faster than David Millar. His average speed is 47.53km/h.
At the km 32 time check, the top 6 is:
1. Brajkovic (RadioShack), 43.50
2. Millar (Garmin), at 0.16
3. Boasson Hagen (Sky), at 0.22
4. Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia), at 0.31
5. Menchov (Rabobank), at 0.54
6. Contador (Astana), at 0.58
The best time on the finishing line so far is set by David Millar in 1.02.17. It’s 17 seconds faster than Boasson Hagen.
At the 15.5km time check, the top 5 is:
1. Brajkovic (RadioShack), 23.26
2. Millar (Garmin), 23.35
3. Van Garderen (HTC-Columbia), 23.42
4. Boasson Hagen (Sky), 23.54
5. Contador (Astana), 23.58