Valverde Wins 2nd Dauphine Libere, Sets TiVo for Tour

Valverde and Contador, seconds before a passionate kiss

Valverde and Contador, seconds before a passionate kiss

Even though I’ve found myself in a bit of a post-Giro, pre-Tour funk, I pulled it together long enough to listen to Paul Liggett’s smooth baritone over the final stage of the 8-day Dauphine Libere (aired on Versus), a mountainous race run through parts of the French Alps that I have no chance in hell of pronouncing correctly.

After fighting off repeated attacks from Cadel Evans on the final climb of the race, the Col de Saint-Bernard du Touvet (see?), Spanish rider/alleged doper/likely douche Alejandro Valverde won his second straight Dauphine Libere, besting Evans and Alberto Contador, both contenders for the yellow jersey in a few weeks. He joins Lance Armstrong in the record books as the second rider to win the Dauphine Libere two years in row; this is also his sixth win of the season, including the Points and Mountains classifications at the Castilla y Leon (where Armstrong once again managed to steal the headlines).

The bad news is that Valverde likely won’t be able to challenge for the yellow jersey at the Tour, as the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) recently slapped him with a two-year racing ban in Italy for doping, and the Tour de France finds itself in Italy for a mere 60 km during Stage 16 (he has appealed the decision, but there’s no word if it will be resolved before the start of the Tour). The good news is that he’ll have plenty of time to use his Iron Gym (GET BETTER COMMERCIALS, VERSUS) in preparation for the Vuelta in the fall.

[the winner’s interview after the jump]

And now, for those truly interested, Bike Scene presents another rough Yahoo! Babel Fish translation (French to English), this time of Valverde’s press conference following his win, taken from his official blog. Not surprisingly, most of the questions center around Valverde’s doping problems:

Alejandro Valverde, were you surprised to see Cadel Evans attacking you in this last stage?

It had attacked much yesterday, it could still test today. The last collar (Saint-Bernard-of-Touvet) was long and hard (7,5 km with 10%). But the team work was phenomenal. One placed three runners in the escape and one could all control.

What represents this victory for you?

It means much. The victory in the Turn of Catalonia justified me before the Dauphine one. They are two races of the Pro Turn. It is important for me and the team, at the sporting level and also humanly. I thank really the Savings bank team which helps me much and supports me to 100%. [On the place of number 1 with the Pro Turn] This place, it is important. She wants to say what she wants to say.

You still do not know if you will be able to take part in the Tour de France. Which is your feeling?

It is true that it is a situation different from last year. But in my head, it is clear: I want to go to the Tour de France. It is not in my capacity to decide. I will have to wait.

Since you are suspended of competition in Italy, do you plan to leave the Turn before the Alps?

I do not know. It is a decision which must be taken with the team. But obviously, I want to be first at the last day there.

And if you go to the Tour de France, which will be your objective?

Astana will be the most dangerous team that I can imagine. Since the Turn of Catalonia, I already reached a very beautiful form. It will be complicated to remain on the same level along July.

How do you make to continue to run and gain with the pressure of the extrasportives businesses?

It is thanks to the support of my entourage: my family, my representatives, the team. Everyone supports me and that enables me to concentrate on the drive and the race. (…) Sometimes, it is hard but I remake surface. The Turn of Catalonia justified me for the Dauphine one.

Do you feel anger vis-a-vis your possible suspension?

I try not to exteriorize my feelings but it is true that I have anger in me. All that master key is an injustice. But I have confidence and I hope that the truth will be restored early or late.

We can put a man on the moon, but “Tour” still translates as “Turn”? No wonder no one uses Yahoo! anymore.

[Valverde Wins 2nd Dauphine – VeloNews]


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