Dauphiné: Leipheimer tumbles in standings

Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer sees his leader's yellow jersey slip away as Euskaltel's I¤igo Landal

Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer sees his leader's yellow jersey slip away as Euskaltel's I¤igo Landal
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Levi Leipheimer saw the maillot jaune of leader at the Dauphin Libr tumble away after he skidded off the road on the descent of the Cote de Quatre Seigneurs late in Friday's 219km fifth stage. I¤igo Landaluze (Euskaltel) tore away with a 13-man breakaway midway through the stage. But 'the Basque Bomber' couldn't follow the attacking Axel Merckx (Davitamon-Lotto) who soloed to victory into sunny Grenoble, but did manage to snag enough time to move nearly three minutes ahead of the hard-chasing Leipheimer and Co. "We were chasing hard over the climb and I was just going too fast on the descent," said Leipheimer, after doctors attended to the cuts and scrapes on his right elbow and buttocks. "I braked up on the corner and skidded off the road. Luckily I didn't get hurt and Discovery Channel were nice enough to wait for me," said the Gerolsteiner captain, now third at 2.51 back. "I'm not seriously hurt, but it's always hard to race the next day after a crash." Landaluze and Merckx were part of the day's main action on the six-climb stage and had pulled more than 13 minutes away by the middle of the long haul across the flanks of the French Alps. Phonak pitched in to help drive the chase, but T-Mobile weren't keen on working with just two days left in the Dauphin. "T-Mobile seem to be counting on Landaluze folding in the mountains, but he finished with us yesterday up the Ventoux," Leipheimer said. "No one wanted to help us work today except Phonak." Leipheimer wasn't terribly upset that he lost the jersey. He knows there's a chance to still win the race with a good effort in Saturday's difficult climbing stage over the Joux-Plane to Morzine. "I'm still taking this day-by-day," he said. "Tomorrow's stage is very hard. It's going to be a hard day." Stage five: Vaison-la-Romaine - Grenoble 1 Axel Merckx (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 219km in 5.15.01 (41.71 kph) 2 Inigo Landaluze (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 2.15 3 Benjamin Noval (Spa) Discovery Channel 5.45 4 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 5 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 6.15 General classification after five stages 1 Inigo Landaluze (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 20.41.15 2 Axel Merckx (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 2.32 3 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 2.51 4 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel 3.12 5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile 3.17
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