Botero Wins Dauphine Libere ITT, Leipheimer Takes Overall Lead
Santiago Botero (Phonak) has won Stage 3 of the Dauphine Libere. Botero, who won the long time trial in the 2002 edition of this race, repeated the feat today, winning the 47-km event in Roanne in 1:00:06. Botero edged Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) by 0:01 and Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel) by 0:26. Leipheimer has taken the overall lead from Stage 3 winner Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r).
Botero, who is rebounding from a long period of bad form, won the Tour de Romandie in April. Riding into a headwind, the 2002 world time trial champion lost time during the early, uphill part of the course, but he recovered on the descent to win the day. Leipheimer was a fairly early starter who had the best early time checks but whom the Colombian beat on the downhill run.
Other hopefuls who posted good results and moved into contention or bettered their situations were Armstrong; Floyd Landis (Phonak), who finished fourth at 0:39; and Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile), who finished fifth at 1:00. Armstrong, who was testing his form, said that his performance met his expectations and that he is on track for the Tour de France.
In the overall, Leipheimer leads Botero by 0:12 and Armstrong by 0:30. Stage 4 will shake up the standings again. The 182-km ride from Tournon-sur-Rhone has only one climb, but what a climb it is! Mont Ventoux will not decide who will win the Dauphine Libere, but it will decide who will not. Who will be in contention at the end of the stage? Check in at http://www.roadcycling.com/ and find out!