Brajkovic Leaps into 3rd Place at Dauphiné

Brajkovic Leaps into 3rd Place at Dauphiné

Team RadioShack’s Janez Brajkovic (SLO) put in an excellent performance in today’s Stage 3, Individual Time Trail of the Critérium du Dauphiné in Grenoble, France, putting himself in very good position (3rd in the overall General Classification so far) to contend this race, and defend the victory he took here last year. And, putting icing on the cake, Ben Hermans also rode a great TT coming in 15th, which now places him in 9th place on the GC.

The 42.5-kilometer (26+ mile) course, which traveled diversely through countryside as well as very narrow city alleyways, pushed the riders to their limits over a relatively hilly and long endurance test that, by the way, will be the exact time trial layout used later in July, in the Tour de France. Many parts of the course were very slick from rains, and temperatures were a bit chilly, both serving to tamp down speeds through the many downhill turns and tight city curves. Those racers contesting the overall GC were a bit cautious to avoid falls, while those in the hunt for this stage took a few more risks. The winning average speed was just below 46 kmh. If the weather’s dry in July, we’ll see that number jump.

The favorites on the day, Tony Martin, David Zabriskie, Bradley Wiggins, Cadel Evans, and our very own Janez Brajkovic didn’t disappoint, though there were a couple of other cyclists that put themselves through enough calculated suffering to make the top ten on the stage. Here’s the final for the today’s ITT:

1. MARTIN, Tony (GER) HTC-Highroad
2. WIGGINS, Bradley (GBR) Sky +00:11
3. BOASSON HAGEN, Edvald (NOR) Sky +00:43
4. ZABRISKI, David (USA) Garmin-Cervelo +00:58
5. BRAJKOVIC, Janez (SLO) RadioShack +01:17
6. EVANS, Cadel (AUS) BMC Racing +01:20
7. THOMAS, Geraint (GBR) Sky +01:36
8. RIBLON, Christophe (FRA) AG2R La Mondaile +01:37
9. TAARAMAE, Rein (EST) Cofidis +01:56
10. COSTA, Rui Alberto (POR) Movistar +02:00

Bradley Wiggins rode hard enough today to put himself in the leader’s yellow jersey for tomorrow’s 172-kilometer Stage 5, which is quite flat toward the second half likely lending itself to a sprinter’s finish. Wiggins has a strong enough team to defend the jersey for at least that day. But then comes the last 3 stages, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, they’re all mountain courses. The true overall riders will come to the fore and Janez is the kind of rider that can complete with the best in this type of terrain. His likely main rival, Cadel Evans is showing decent form as well, so there will likely be some fireworks in the Alps this weekend. Should make for some exciting racing.

The overall General Classification after Stage 3
1. WIGGINS, Bradley (GBR) Sky
2. EVANS, Cadel (AUS) BMC Racing +01:11
3. BRAJKOVIC, Janez (SLO) RadioShack +01:21
4. VINODOUROV, Alexandre (KAZ) Astana +01:56
5. COSTA, Rui Alberto (POR) Movistar +02:12
6. THOMAS, Geraint (GBR) Sky +02:25
7. VAN DE BROECK, Jurgen (BEL) Omega Pharma L +02:28
8. RIBLON, Christophe (FRA) AG2R La Mondaile +02:45
9. HERMANS, Ben (BEL) RadioShack +02:46
10. COPPEL, Jerome (FRA) Saur-Sojasun +02:52

By George Hurst, staff writer