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Don Alejandro

Stage 4

A hilly ITT and I should hopefully be able to limit my losses to the absolute minimum.


Tactically, it seems we are on the right track with this stage. Rujano goes thru' the first check point almost 30 seconds faster than Kreuziger.


He can't maintain that kind of pace though and at the line he is 12" down. Still, if Jose can ride like that, then things look good for me.


As I set off, our tactic is simple. Go hard up the first climb, slow down at the top and on the descent and then go hard for the final couple of kilometers.


Thru' the first check, I'm flying. I am 34" quicker than Jose and have Danielson in my sights. The pace is suicidal though, and I know I have to ease up over the next few kilometers.


In my earpiece, I hear Dekker is faster than Schumacher at the first check - but neither of them are anywhere near my time.


At the second check point, I have slowed considerably, but am still the fastest. The next section is downhill, so I can up the pace again.


Schumacher is having a bad day it seems. Dekker though is riding hard, and as he goes thru' the second checkpoint he is 5" down.


I have just enough in my legs to make one last big effort on the final uphill drag to the finish.


Over the line and I have the fastest time!


I know Schumacher will not better it, but Dekker? I do not know. It is in the hands of the gods now....

I watch him coming into the finish....he is giving it his all....I think he will take it....



He doesn't. I have won the stage!

Dekker can only manage 3rd.

I cannot believe it - I felt sure he would do it...This win is almost as satisfying as my win at LBL earlier this year.


Tonight, I am a very happy man. So happy, in fact, that I will give myself a banana. Banana

Stage 4

1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 55'03
2 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi + 7
3 Thomas Dekker Rabobank + 10
4 Thomas Lövkvist Team Columbia + 21
5 Roman Kreuziger Liquigas + 28
6 Tom Danielson Garmin - Chipotle powered by H30 + 32
7 Christophe Moreau Agritubel + 40
8 José Rujano Caisse d'Epargne + 41
9 Bradley McGee Team CSC - Saxo Bank + 42
10 Fabian Cancellara Team CSC - Saxo Bank + 45
11 Maarten Tjallingii Silence - Lotto + 47
12 Laurent Lefèvre Bouygues Télécom + 50
13 Stefan Schumacher Gerolsteiner + 52
14 Sandy Casar Française des Jeux + 53
15 Juan Manuel Gárate Quick·Step + 54

Overall after Stage 4

1 Thomas Dekker Rabobank 9h43'56
2 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne + 10
3 Stefan Schumacher Gerolsteiner + 55
4 Tom Danielson Garmin - Chipotle powered by H30 + 1'27
5 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi + 1'46
6 Thomas Lövkvist Team Columbia + 1'53
7 Fabian Cancellara Team CSC - Saxo Bank + 2'07
8 Christophe Moreau Agritubel + 2'11
9 Vladimir Efimkin AG2R La Mondiale + 2'21
10 Sandy Casar Française des Jeux + 2'23
11 Laurent Lefèvre Bouygues Télécom s.t.
12 Maarten Tjallingii Silence - Lotto s.t.
13 Bernhard Kohl Gerolsteiner + 2'35
14 Juan Manuel Gárate Quick·Step + 2'37
15 Jelle Vanendert Française des Jeux + 2'38

Today's performance also put's me into the mountains jersey.
Congrats man!
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hey, I want a banana too

So Banana

Stage 5

Today should be interesting. The final climb may shake things up on GC, but shouldn't be decisive in terms of the overall.


We have two jerseys in the team today. I am wearing the green points jersey, and Pasamontes is in the best climber jersey - because he is second in that classification - behind me.


It is a hot, hot day and we get Rujano in the break. If they can build up a big enough lead then perhaps he will take the stage today?


It is Euskaltel and Rabobank who do most of the work at the front - even though the rumour in the pack is that Dekker has stomach problems today.

At the foot of La Saleve - the final climb - the break still have over 3 minutes on the pack.

Euskaltel and Gerolsteiner set a fast pace up the climb - and it seems the rumours about Dekker may be true today. I am up front in the green ready to mark any attacks and there is no sign of the race leader.


Rujano is the last of the escapees to be caught and with just over 3k to the summit I decide it is time to test my legs.


Way back down the climb, Dekker has nothing in his legs. It seems the Giro has finally caught up with him.


As the summit approaches, I am feeling fairly comfortable in the lead group of 6.


We take it easy on the descent and the race comes back together somewhat.

Inside the final 3k, I am strong, and with Gerolsteiner trying to set things up for Schumacher, I decide it is time to jump away.


Today, I am too strong for the German and ride myself into the race lead.


Dekker must really have had some kind of problem today and comes in over 3 minutes back. Things look very good for me on the overall after today.

Stage 5 Result

1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 4h51'02
2 Stefan Schumacher Gerolsteiner s.t.
3 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi s.t.
4 Bernhard Kohl Gerolsteiner s.t.
5 Thomas Lövkvist Team Columbia s.t.
6 Davide Rebellin Gerolsteiner s.t.
7 Juan Manuel Gárate Quick·Step s.t.
8 Tom Danielson Garmin - Chipotle powered by H30 s.t.
9 Be√Īat Intxausti Scott - American Beef s.t.
10 Christophe Moreau Agritubel s.t.
62 Thomas Dekker Rabobank + 3'22

Overall after Stage 5

1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 14h34'58
2 Stefan Schumacher Gerolsteiner + 49
3 Tom Danielson Garmin - Chipotle powered by H30 + 1'27
4 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi + 1'42
5 Thomas Lövkvist Team Columbia + 1'53
6 Christophe Moreau Agritubel + 2'11
7 Vladimir Efimkin AG2R La Mondiale + 2'21
8 Sandy Casar Française des Jeux + 2'23
9 Laurent Lefèvre Bouygues Télécom s.t.
10 Bernhard Kohl Gerolsteiner + 2'35


1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 25 62
2 Thomas Dekker Rabobank 0 50
3 Stefan Schumacher Gerolsteiner 20 43


1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 22 34
2 Mauricio Soler Barloworld 30 30
3 Juan Manuel Gárate Quick·Step 26 26


Stage 6

We are on the road to Morzine today and I hope to consolidate my lead at the least. To win the stage again is a possibility, but my priority is the overall and I will ride conservatively.


It is finally our turn to set the pace at the front of the pack today and we set a decent enough pace and keep the break on a fairly tight leash.


Garmin eventually move up to inject more pace into the stage. Tom Danielson has been riding well and maybe he fancies his chances on the downhill into the finish? There are 50k to go and the break of 17 have 2"37 on the pack as the road begins to head up into the mountains.


The gap has been brought down to less than 2 minutes at the foot of the Joux-Plane and Fabian Cancellara takes everyone by surprise as he attacks out of the pack!


Cancellara's attack comes to nothing, but it is the first of many attacks and there are still 11k to the summit when I decide that I have to mark a move from Moreau.


I chase him down and there is some regrouping and a lot of jockeying for position as we slog upwards. 3k from the summit, it is Sammy Sanchez who attacks out of the lead group.


I am not as strong as I would like to be today and wait for the others to go after Sammy.


The race splinters and Lovkvist, Sanchez and Soler are up front with a gap. I give it my all in trying to get across and with 800m to the summit am with them.

Lovkvist immediately attacks again. Sanchez follows. Soler, like me looks to have nothing left.


Over the top and they have a gap. Sanchez is good on the descents and I have cause to worry.


I am tired but hit the front on the descent. I know I have little chance of catching a descender like Sammy, but I have to limit my losses as best I can.

Lovkvist is not prepared to take the risks Sammy does on the descent and loses contact.


Sammy sweeps to the stage victory and has emerged as the most serious threat to me on the overall. Lovkvist is also now, too close for comfort.


Stage 6 Results

1 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi 3h16'03
2 Thomas Lövkvist Team Columbia + 15
3 Tom Danielson Garmin - Chipotle powered by H30 + 52
4 Sylvester Szmyd Lampre + 53
5 Juan Manuel Gárate Quick·Step s.t.
6 Mauricio Soler Barloworld + 57
7 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne + 1'00
8 Vladimir Efimkin AG2R La Mondiale + 2'00
9 Christophe Moreau Agritubel + 2'03
10 Bernhard Kohl Gerolsteiner + 2'28

Overall after Stage 6

1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 17h52'01
2 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi + 32
3 Thomas Lövkvist Team Columbia + 1'02
4 Tom Danielson Garmin - Chipotle powered by H30 + 1'15
5 Juan Manuel Gárate Quick·Step + 2'30
6 Stefan Schumacher Gerolsteiner + 2'31
7 Mauricio Soler Barloworld + 2'47
8 Sylvester Szmyd Lampre + 3'04
9 Christophe Moreau Agritubel + 3'14
10 Vladimir Efimkin AG2R La Mondiale + 3'21


1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 9 71
2 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi 25 58
3 Tom Danielson Garmin - Chipotle powered by H30 16 51


1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 30 64
2 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi 35 57
3 Mauricio Soler Barloworld 26 56
Edited by fenian_1234 on 19-12-2008 16:06
nice riding, hope you can hang on to the lead. what are the last few stages like?
even though Sanchez has gained time your chances are still very good it seems

keep it going Wink
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Stage 7

The hardest stage of the race and I hope today will be the day I secure the overall.


I do not have the strongest team riding in support here at the Dauphine, but once again, under another very hot sun, they hit the front and drag the pack along most of the day.


Euskaltel also come to the front - after yesterday it would seem that Sanchez thinks he can win on La Toussuire.

As we hit the bottom of the Col de la Croix de Fer, the five escapees have a lead of over 8 minutes. Caisse cannot hope to set the pace up this climb and Columbia join Euskaltel at the front.

For me, my strategy is simple. I must keep close to Sanchez and Lovkvist.


Zubeldia hits the front for Euskaltel and riders begin shelling out the back of the pack. It is a murderous pace for some, and before we are even half way up the climb the lead group is down to around 30 riders and I am isolated.


Fortunately for me, neither Columbia or Euskaltel have another rider who is a threat to me on the overall, so I am able to sit on, keeping a close eye on my two rivals.

Close to the summit, I decide to go with the guys who are after the KOM points. Over the top and we have a gap on Sanchez and Lovkvist who do not follow.

The lead is maintained all the way down into the valley and my rivals need to burn energy in closing us down again.


They make it back though, and at the foot of the 20k climb up to the summit we are set for the showdown. If Sanchez or Lovkvist want to win this race, this will have to break me on these slopes.


There is some collaboration in the break, but it is only a matter of time before the attacks come.


Moreau, it is, who sparks the action and Sanchez, Lovkvist, and Soler are immediately after him.


I feel better than I did yesterday and I go after Soler.


Just under 5k to the summit and Sanchez looks to be the strongest again. In front of him, there is only Efimkin, who we let go earlier on the climb.


I grit my teeth and and ride hard.

I sense Soler and Lovkvist struggling to stay with me.


Moreau is finished and I am ever so slowly gaining on Sammy.


3k to go and I just about have his wheel. Efimkin remains out front. As far as I'm concerned he is welcome to the stage. I just need to stay with Sammy.


He has no intention of letting me sit on his wheel and digs deep into his reserves to put in one final big attack.


He is pushing me to the limit, but I know I must try and follow. There are only 30 seconds between us on the GC.


I match his effort and have his wheel again. Surely, he will not go again?


As I move up alongside him, I see that he is suffering - maybe he has pushed himself too hard.


There are 1.5k to the summit, Efimkin is desperate to hang on and I realize I have an opportunity to put some time into Sanchez and also take the stage.

I try and close the gap. Sanchez cannot hold my wheel and I begin to close on Efimkin. If we owed AG2R anything, I would let him have the stage, but we don't, and I will try and take it from him.


I call on the last of my energy reserves and try to pass him. He is a fighter though, and will not let this go without a struggle.


I am the stronger though, and when I look back I see that he is a beaten man. This stage is mine.


The Russian collapses and I cross the line victorious again.


Stage 7 Result

1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 6h05'07
2 Vladimir Efimkin AG2R La Mondiale + 11
3 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi + 30
4 Thomas Lövkvist Team Columbia + 1'14
5 Christophe Moreau Agritubel + 1'22
6 Mauricio Soler Barloworld + 1'26
7 Thomas Dekker Rabobank + 1'39
8 Juan Manuel Gárate Quick·Step + 1'43
9 Bernhard Kohl Gerolsteiner + 2'14
10 Tom Danielson Garmin - Chipotle powered by H30 + 2'19
11 Sylvester Szmyd Lampre + 2'31
12 Haimar Zubeldia Euskaltel - Euskadi + 2'32
13 Roman Kreuziger Liquigas + 2'33
14 Steve Zampieri Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone + 3'29
15 Sandy Casar Française des Jeux + 3'46

Overall after Stage 7

1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 23h57'08
2 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi + 1'02
3 Thomas Lövkvist Team Columbia + 2'16
4 Vladimir Efimkin AG2R La Mondiale + 3'32
5 Tom Danielson Garmin - Chipotle powered by H30 + 3'34
6 Juan Manuel Gárate Quick·Step + 4'13
7 Mauricio Soler Barloworld s.t.
8 Christophe Moreau Agritubel + 4'36
9 Sylvester Szmyd Lampre + 5'35
10 Bernhard Kohl Gerolsteiner + 6'17
11 Thomas Dekker Rabobank + 6'55
12 Sandy Casar Française des Jeux + 8'01
13 Laurent Lefèvre Bouygues Télécom + 8'09
14 Steve Zampieri Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone + 8'20
15 Fabian Cancellara Team CSC - Saxo Bank + 8'31


1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 20 91
2 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi 15 73
3 Thomas Lövkvist Team Columbia 13 62
4 Thomas Dekker Rabobank 9 59


1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 44 108
2 Mauricio Soler Barloworld 42 98
3 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi 32 89

I am so very close to overall victory now, but have not forgotten that I lost a minute to Sanchez on the last stage that finished on a downhill. There is still work to do in the morning...


Until tomorrow,

I kinda feel sorry for Efimkin. But you won! WOOHOO![/end homer simpson.]
well done Smile
You look good for the tour
Let's hope it's not too early Grin
Amazing win Grin

You sure need to keep an eye on Sanchez tomorrow but the hardest work is done I believe!

But can you tell what is Alejandro form?

Dessel as a good point it would be a shame see him fading away in the Tour...
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Stage 8

The final day and as long as I am over the final summit with Sanchez then this race is mine. And there should be no reason I cannot do this - the climbs today are not as difficult as on the day he got away.


There are plenty of attempts to get away in the opening kilometers but other teams in the race seem unwilling to let anyone go. That means that with 74km of the stage remaining and the climb of the Col du Granier starting everyone is together and we are on the front.


Up the climb and we put Rujano on the front. He sets a fast pace and only two riders decide to try their luck on the climb - Cornu from Lotto and Vanendert from FdJ.


At the summit, Rujano has done his work well and riders are dropping out the back as the climbers go after KOM points.


With 2 climbs remaining and Rujano clearly tired, Columbia move up to set the pace. The 2 escapees have a couple of minutes on the pack.


Euskaltel it is who eventually lead the main group over this climb and I am careful to stay up front watching for any kind of move from Sanchez or Lovkvist. There is just one more climb and 39k between me and my best ever result in a stage race.


Just over 4k to the summit of the final climb and the moment of truth is here. Sanchez follows an attack from Danielson and Soler. I follow him.


I fear for a moment that he will be too strong, but as I reach my limit he settles into the saddle and it looks as if I am safe and the race is mine.


We go over the summit together a minute down on Vanendert, who is now alone out front after dropping Cornu.

It is Lovkvist's turn for a bad day unless he can regain contact on the downhill.


The riders with me are tired and fail to take much time back from Vanendert at the front of the race. The FdJ man looks to be on his way to a fantastic victory as the road flattens out for the final 4k.


He holds on and takes the stage. I come in about 40 seconds behind to secure the overall.


Stage 8 Result

1 Jelle Vanendert Française des Jeux 3h23'26
2 Tom Danielson Garmin - Chipotle powered by H30 + 20
3 Sandy Casar Française des Jeux s.t.
4 Roman Kreuziger Liquigas s.t.
5 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne s.t.
6 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi + 31
7 Thomas Dekker Rabobank s.t.
8 Bernhard Kohl Gerolsteiner s.t.
9 Steve Zampieri Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone s.t.
10 Thomas Lövkvist Team Columbia + 1'34

Final General Classification


1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 27h20'54
2 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi + 1'13
3 Tom Danielson Garmin - Chipotle powered by H30 + 3'28
4 Thomas Lövkvist Team Columbia + 3'30
5 Vladimir Efimkin AG2R La Mondiale + 4'54
6 Juan Manuel Gárate Quick·Step + 5'35
7 Bernhard Kohl Gerolsteiner + 6'28
8 Mauricio Soler Barloworld + 6'30
9 Christophe Moreau Agritubel + 6'53
10 Thomas Dekker Rabobank + 7'06
11 Sylvester Szmyd Lampre + 7'44
12 Sandy Casar Française des Jeux + 7'57
13 Steve Zampieri Cofidis, Le Crédit par Téléphone + 8'31
14 Laurent Lefèvre Bouygues Télécom + 9'31
15 Jelle Vanendert Française des Jeux + 10'03


1 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 11 102
2 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi 10 83
3 Tom Danielson Garmin - Chipotle powered by H30 20 77


1 Mauricio Soler Barloworld 44 142
2 Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne 8 116
3 Samuel S√°nchez Euskaltel - Euskadi 15 104

Finally, this win brings our sponsor some satisfaction and means we have hit 3 for 3 goals now. The next one though, will be very, very difficult to get.


In terms of stage races, this is the most important victory of my career, both in terms of prestige and the fact that it comes ahead of the Tour. I can go now to the Spanish Championships looking for the win, and I would like nothing better than to be on the podium in Paris wearing the jersey of the national champion.

I think I will be in absolute peak condition by the time we get to the second week of the Tour and if the TT's were like the Dauphine, then I would perhaps think of winning - but they are not - and I will be satisfied with the podium in Paris. I think it is all I can do...And even that my friends, will be difficult.


very well done fenian!!

It seems like you have everything under control and you'll be at top shape by the time of the decisive stages of the Tour!!

Go on mate Wink
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once again, those stats are crazy!

But very nice, looking forward to the national championships and the tour Grin
I think the stats in Divinity work pretty well, Dessel.Wink

He's one of the best in the DB when it comes to the hills, and about the 7th or 8th best climber in the DB. In real life, Valverde is probably about the same - just he always has a bad day or two in a GT.

The results of most races are a lot closer than some of the other DBs too...and breaks will make it more often in this DB than others because of the high stats on the flat.

I like it a lot.Smile

Edited by fenian_1234 on 21-12-2008 14:32
For the TT is too muchWink He is something like 72-73Pfft
Yes Waaaay to high TT!
Words to live by
"What would Lance do?"
Very well done with the DauphinéWink ! good luck for the Tour
The way you tell your story is B)!
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