Fofonov Wins Final Stage of Dauphine Libere; Valverde Takes Overall
Dmitri Fofonov (Credit Agricole) has taken the seventh and final stage of the Dauphine Libere. Fofonov outsprinted Jurgen Van de Walle (Quick Step) and Yuri Trofimov (Bouygues Telecom) to win the rugged, 128-km ride from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Grenoble in 3:17:20. Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) has won the overall victory.
From the start, the racing was fast and aggressive. At 15 km, Trofimov, Stephane Auge (Cofidis), Christophe Riblon (Ag2r), Sebastien Chavanel (Francaise des Jeux), Fofonov, Daniele Righi (Lampre), and Van de Walle escaped. The septet led the peloton by 3:35 at 20 km and by 6:45 at 41 km.
The peloton woke up and began to chase. At the base of the day's first climb, the Category 1 Col du Granier, the fugitives' advantage was down to 5:00. Yaroslav Popovych (Silence), Matteo Carrara (Quick Step), Maxime Monfort (Cofidis), and Pierre Rolland (Credit Agricole) attacked from the peloton.
On the Col du Granier, Chavanel, Auge, and Righi, respectively, were dropped from the break. Van de Walle was dropped temporarily but rejoined on the descent. The three stayed together on the Category 1 Col du Cucheron, but Trofimov attacked on the day's last ascent, the Category 2 Col de Porte. Fofonov and Van de Walle caught the Russian on the descent. The stage came down to a sprint, which Fofonov won.
In the overall, Valverde won the 2008 Dauphine Libere by 0:39 over Cadel Evans (Silence) and by 1:24 over Levi Leipheimer (Astana). The Spaniard made an impressive showing in a race that he entered to tune up for the Tour de France. Evans, who is also headed for the Tour de France, demonstrated that he has good form as well. From July 5 to 27, these two riders will cross swords in the Tour. Who will prevail? Check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!