Oakley Cycling Warms up for Tour at Dauphine Libere
Oakley cycling dominated the Dauphiné Libéré, the most prestigious cycling stage race in France outside the Tour de France.
After eight days of racing, Oakley won six stages, with Alejandro Valverde winning two stages and George Hincapie, Dessel, Trofimov and Chris Sorensen each taking a stage.
Overall winner Valverde reckons the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré is one of the best on the cycling calendar. “This is the most important victory of my career so far,” said the Spaniard. “Because of the prestige of this race but also because of the time of the year when it’s held. This week allowed me to judge the condition of my adversaries. I came with a good condition myself after the training camp we had in the Alps.”
It wasn’t necessarily an obsession for him to win the Dauphiné, but his motivation increased day by day. “I did a phenomenal prologue,” he said about his third place behind Levi Leipheimer and Thor Hushovd. “It gave the motivation for the next day and winning stage one gave me even more motivation. The time trial gave me the yellow jersey and I rode like Miguel Indurain did: after the time trial I controlled the situation.”
Valverde said he saw the attack by Cadel Evans’ team-mate Yaroslav Popovych on the Col du Granier as a test. “But my team was phenomenal,” he insisted. Therefore, the Australian didn’t try to attack him again after his unsuccessful but spirited offensive the day before on La Toussuire.
Evans got another second place overall at the Dauphiné after beating beaten by Christophe Moreau last year, but he proved to have overcome the knee problems he had before the French event and gave his fans the guarantee that he’ll start the Tour in Brest on July 5 with the best condition he could have hoped for.
“The Tour de France will be a different story because the time trial will be a very different one from the Dauphiné’s,” Valverde added. “I’ll take it day by day. Now I’ll take a rest and try and maintain my condition towards the Tour de France. Winning the Dauphiné gives me the confidence for the Tour as well.”
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne OAKLEY
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto OAKLEY
3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
4 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank
5 Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi OAKLEY
6 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale OAKLEY