Pierrick Fedrigo is not a prolific winner, but when he makes his move, he does so with a panache and style that would see him fit among the sepia-tinted images of the past.
The BBox Bouygues Telecom rider won the sixth stage of the Dauphiné Libéré with a powerful climb up to the old town of Briançon at the end of a short, sharp stage which crossed the Col d’Izoard.
It was on the Izoard that Fedrigo and three others, Stéphane Goubert of Ag2r, Juan Manuel Garate of Rabobank and Jurgen Van de Walle of Quick Step, moved clear of the ten other riders who figured in the day’s main break.
Fedrigo cracked Van de Walle on the cobbled climb towards the finish and will now look to seize the initiative to win again during the Tour de France. The Frenchman won a memorable stage at Gap during the 2006 Tour.
Alejandro Valverde, seemingly impervious to the fact that the UCI is now in possession of documents explaining CONI’s decision to ban the rider from competing in Italy, defended his yellow jersey by finishing with his closest rivals Cadel Evans and Alberto Contador. The gap to Evans remains just 16 seconds with two stages remaining.
The day’s big mover was Spaniard Mikel Astarloza. The Euskaltel rider jumped clear of the favourites in the closing stages to gain a minute and move from eight to fourth overall.
David Millar slipped back to fifth overall again as a result of Astarloza’s gain.
Stage six: Gap-Briancon, 106km
1. Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
2. Jurgen Van de Walle (Bel) Quick Step at 4sec
3. Stephane Goubert (Fra) Ag2r at 5sec
4. Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank at 14sec
5. Lars Bak (Den) Saxo Bank at 25sec
6. Aliaksandr Kuschynski (Blr) Liquigas at 2-47
7. Mauro Santambrogio (Ita) Lampre at same time
8. Bingen Fernandez (Spa) Cofidis at 2-50
9. Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 3-17
10. Alberto Fernandez (Spa) Fuji-Servetto at 3-41
19. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 4-21
86. Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Slipstream at 6-45
Overall classification after stage six
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto at 16sec
3. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana at 1-04
4. Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel at 1-49
5. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 1-52
6. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 2-41
7. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa) Astana at 2-42
8. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas at 2-43
9. Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas at 3-50
10. Jacob Fuglsang (Den) Saxo Bank at 3-56
Race leader Alejandro Valverde rides ahead of Cadel Evans on stage 6
Ireland’s Dan Martin
David Millar maintained a top five position overall
Pierrick Fedrigo wins the tough stage six
Alberto Contador leads in yellow jersey Alejandro Valverde and Cadel Evans
Stage five: Sylvester Szmyd is the king on Mont Ventoux