Levi Powers To The Yellow Jersey

Astana Cycling Team continues winning top races. Levi Leipheimer was  the fastest rider in the 5.6 K prologue of the Dauphin‚ Lib‚r‚. Thor Hushovd  (Cr‚dit Agricole) was second, one second behind, Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d’Epargne) third.  It is the 3rd  victory of the season for the  American road champion and his 2nd in a time trial.
Astana against all Tour riders. That was the subject of all talks  before the start of the French stage race. Many racing in the Tour de France  this July are also participating in the Dauphin‚ Lib‚r‚. The Dauphin‚ is an  ideal prep-race, sort of a “mini-Tour,” compressed into eight days.  Levi Leiheimer, already overall winner of the Dauphin‚ in 2006, made a goal  of this race. It couldn’t start better for him.
The American rider was followed in the car by Team Manager Johan  Bruyneel,  who was impressed by the performance of his leader. ‘Levi’s  last kilometer was especially impressive,’ commented Bruyneel.  ‘Since  he was one of the last riders to start, we knew most intermediate times. With  one K to go, Levi still was one second behind specialist Thor Hushovd. We  knew that Levi was ready for this job; he couldn’t have had a better start.’
The fastest man on the flat circuit between Le Pontet and Avignon  was of course more than happy. ‘You always hope to win, but it is so  unpredictable, races over such a short distance. I knew my condition was very  good. Many people had their doubts about me after the Giro, but we knew  better. Don’t forget that I was in California and in moderate training mode  before getting the last-second call to ride the Giro. I crashed the first  week and had cheek and elbow injuries. As I could not get a good  classification in the Giro, I worked one-hundred percent for Alberto Contador  in the mountains. I felt the last week in Italy that my condition was getting  better and better. I hope to continue that way. My  team mates believe  in me. I’m not planning to shake their confidence.”
Result Prologue Le Pontet – Avignon, 5.6 K:
1 Levi Leipheimer 6.10.05 (54.486 K/h);   2 Thor  Hushovd 0.01;  3 Alejandro Valverde 0.06;  4 Maxime Monfort 0.12;  5 Vladimir Efimkin 0.12;  6 Cadel Evans 0.13;  7 Brett  Lancaster 0.13;  8 Manuel Quinziato 0.13;  9 Carlos Barredo  0.14;  10 Haimar Zubeldia 0.14

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