Leipheimer confirms Dauphiné success

Levi Leipheimer marks himself out as a clear contender for the Tour de France title with a convincin

Levi Leipheimer marks himself out as a clear contender for the Tour de France title with a convincin
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM Levi Leipheimer became the third American rider in the last seven years to win the Dauphin Libr when he finished safely in the pack behind stage seven victor Thor Hushovd in Grenoble this afternoon. Hushovd took the final stage in a bunch sprint ahead of Samuel Dumoulin and Philippe Gilbert. Following victories by Tyler Hamilton in 2000 and Lance Armstrong in 2002 and 2003, Leipheimer showed the consistency needed to shine in France's toughest stage race after the Tour de France. Third in the long time trial at Bourg de Page, then third on the Ventoux the next day, where he moved into the lead, Leipheimer always looked in control, and saw his only real rival for the title, Denis Menchov, crash out of contention on Saturday's stage to La Toussuire. On the back of his Tour of Germany victory last year, Leipheimer, 32, now looks a genuine Tour de France contender. He's not the most cavalier of competitors, but it looks like it will be hard for his rivals to drop him on any terrain. A mention too for 23-year-old Austrian Bernhard Khl (T-Mobile), who finished third overall. He has been the pick of his team's riders this week, when he has shone in the mountains. Stage 7, St Jean de Maurienne-Grenoble 1 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crdit Agricole 131km in 3.08.17 2 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Ag2r 3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Franaise des Jeux 4 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 5 Jrme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 6 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Ag2r 7 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Discovery Channel 8 Alessandro Spezialetti (Ita) Liquigas 9 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Lampre 10 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne Final overall standings 1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Gerolsteiner 24.58.49 2 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Ag2r 1.48 3 Bernhard Khl (Aut) T-Mobile 2.51 4 Jos Azevedo (Por) Discovery Channel 3.00 5 Francisco Mancebo (Spa) Ag2r 3.29 6 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 4.14 7 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 4.21 8 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval 5.13 9 Pietro Caucchioli (Ita) Crdit Agricole 5.45 10 George Hincapie (USA) Discovery Channel 6.48
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