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Spain's Valverde wins first stage of Tour de France warmup

Spain's Valverde wins first stage of Tour de France warmup

Spain's Alejandro Valverde won a finish-line sprint to claim Monday's first stage of the Dauphine Libere cycling race, while Norway's Thor Hushovd took the overall lead.
Valverde, who placed third in Sunday's time trial prologue, finished the flat 194-kilometer (120.5-mile) first stage in 4 hours, 46 minutes and 36 seconds.
"I couldn't do anything to get him," Hushovd said of Valverde, who moved into second overall.
Germany's Bjorn Schroder, riding for Team Milram, placed third in the stage.
The day's surprise came from American Levi Leipheimer, riding for Astana. He placed sixth in the stage and slipped from his lead after the prologue to third in the overall standings.
The eight-day race in southern France is seen as the traditional warmup for the Tour de France. However, not everyone in the race will be in the Tour. For instance, Leipheimer's Astana team was banned from the Tour in February by race organizer ASO as punishment for doping problems in previous seasons. Leipheimer rode for the Discovery Channel team in the 2007 Tour, placing third, and did not join Astana until late last year.
ASO's decision also means that last year's Tour champion Alberto Contador, another Astana rider who is not racing in the Dauphine Libere, won't get to defend his title. Like Leipheimer, Contador rode for Discovery Channel last year.
Tuesday's stage is a 184-kilometer (114.3-mile) ride from Bourg-Saint-Andeol to Vienne.


Updated : 2021-05-07 13:32 GMT+08:00