Pereiro Wins Classique des Alpes
Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) has won the Classique des Alpes. The Spanish climber outsprinted seven companions to take the mountainous, 165-km race in 4:32:23. Iban Mayo (Euskaltel) finished second, and Pereiro's teammate Jose Enrique Gutierrez (Phonak) took third.
On the day's first categorized climb, the Cote de Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse (37 km), the racing began. Gutierrez attacked. Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel) and Jorg Jaksche (CSC) joined the Spaniard, and Laurent Lefevre (Brioches La Boulangere) bridged up to the break on the Col de Cucheron (40.5 km). By the time that the escapees reached the Col du Granier (58.5 km), the break led a chase group by 0:50 and the bunch by 1:25.
The chase group, which contained Yaroslav Popovych (Landbouwkrediet) and David Moncoutie (Cofidis), among others, caught the leaders at the feed zone at 80 km. At this point, the break led the bunch by a little more than a minute.
On the Col des Pres (99 km), Gutierrez sprinted for climber's points, and an attack ensued. Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel) and Ruslan Gryschenko (Landbouwkrediet) joined him, as did Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole). One km later, Gutierrez took off on his own.
The peloton reeled in everyone but Gutierrez. Mayo and Landaluze began to press the pace, and the resulting combustion formed a chase group that included those two riders, Pereiro and Oscar Sevilla (both from Phonak), Carlos Sastre (CSC), Thomas Voeckler (Brioches La Boulangere), and Alexander Botcharov (Credit Agricole). The chasers reeled in Gutierrez on the Col du Revard (140.5 km), the day's final climb, and the eight men plunged to the finish in Aix-les-Bains.
In the last five km, Voeckler attacked several times. On each occasion except the last, a Phonak or a Euskaltel man rode him down. Mayo got boxed in just as the sprint started. Pereiro won easily.
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