The duel between Janez Brajkovic and Alberto Contador has made two winners at l’Alpe d’Huez. The Spaniard couldn’t create differences because of the wind. He won the stage while the Slovenian rode superbly in defence of his yellow/blue jersey.
20 riders in the lead
Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) gave the go in the first climb of the day, the Côte des Fontaines where he passed in first position. The Basque rider was again on the offensive as the first significant breakaway went at km 18 at the initiative of David Le Lay (Ag2r). Eight riders accompanied Le Lay and Martinez: Plaza (Caisse d’Epargne), Fofonov (Astana), Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Denifl (Cervélo), Van Summeren (Garmin-Transitions), Le Lay (Ag2r-La Mondiale), El Farès (Cofidis), Martinez (Euskaltel), Gautier (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Levarlet (Saur-Sojasun). The leading group of ten riders was reinforced at km 38 by Rohregger (Milram), Di Gregorio (FDJ), Samoilau and Cataldo (Quick Step). Five more counter-attackers joined the front 5km before the top of the col du Grand Cucheron: Pujol (Cervélo), Pate (Garmin), Bouet (Ag2r), Moinard (Cofidis) and Lefèvre (Bbox). Martinez took the lead of the climbers’ competition as he passed first at the top ahead of Gautier and 3.05 before the peloton.
Egoi Martinez becomes the king of the mountains
Champion became the twentieth man in the breakaway group in the downhill of the col du Grand Cucheron. At the feed zone (km 73.5), the disadvantage of the peloton was 2.30. Pate, Fofonov, Lefèvre, Gautier and Roelandts lost contact in the col du Glandon. Martinez continued to collect KOM points at the top and secured the polka dot jersey. The Astana team took over from RadioShack at the head of the peloton and reduced the gap to 1.35 at the top of the Glandon.
Brajkovic’s superb defence in l’Alpe d’Huez
Di Gregorio accelerated at the bottom of the climb to l’Alpe d’Huez. Pujol succeeded to him as the lone leader but got caught by the Contador/Brajkovic group with 10km to go. Hernandez, Van Garderen, Van den Broeck, Szmyd and Coppel were the last riders who could observe the duel between the Spaniard and the Slovenian until Contador attacked with 8.8km to go. Brajkovic resisted with great courage. Szmyd was the first rider to come across to the duo. As they watched each other, Coppel and Van den Broeck made the junction again. Contador and Brajkovic went again with 4km to go but it was a hard effort against the head wind in the steepest part of the climb.
Contador wins at l’Alpe
Contador and Brajkovic distanced Szmyd and Coppel with 2km to go. The Slovenian was never in difficulty. He opened the sprint but Contador passed him for the stage win in the final 50 metres and could enjoy acting as “El Pistolero” once again.
Je suis très ému de gagner à l’Alpe d’Huez. Mon équipe a travaillé pour cela dès le début. Quand on a l’opportunité de gagner au sommet d’un col dont tout le monde se souvient, il ne faut pas la laisser passer. Nous avons dû contrôler les autres équipes pour gagner aujourd’hui. Brajkovic a été très fort. Il est assez compliqué de s’imposer sur le Dauphiné car il y a beaucoup de vent.
1. Alberto Contador (Astana)
2. Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack)
3. Szmyd (Liquigas)
4. Coppel (Saur)
5. Van den Broeck (Omega)
Contador precedes Brajkovic on the line.
Brajkovic and Contador lead at the 1km mark. Szmyd is at ten seconds.
Runner up Van Garderen is at 1.20 with 2km to go.
Brajkovic responds to all the accelerations of Contador. With less than 2km to go, he even takes the lead and sets the pace.