Dauphiné 2: Gutierrez evades Mayo’s minders

José Enrique Gutierrez offered another sign of Phonak's growing strength when he won the second stag

José Enrique Gutierrez offered another sign of Phonak’s growing strength when he won the second stag

The growing strength and confidence of the Phonak team was underlined when Jos Enrique Gutierrez won the second stage of the Dauphin Libr into St Etienne this afternoon. Gutierrez came in seven seconds ahead of the yellow jersey group, which combined with a 10-second win bonus was enough of a gap to give him the leader’s jersey at Iban Mayo’s expense. The stage was always likely to be decided by the 2nd-cat Chaubouret climb, which topped out just 15km from the finish line. As the climb started just one rider was left out in front from the break of the day, Brioches’ Anthony Geslin. When the main contenders increased their pace on the early ramps of the hill Geslin was quickly caught and dropped. Other casualties here were CSC’s Jrg Jaksche and Cofidis’ David Millar. RAGT’s Ludovic Martin made a solo effort to get his team their first victory of the season. However, he was caught near the top of the mountain, at which point Gutierrez, lying eighth overall, made his move. The Spaniard’s lead was 30 seconds at the summit, but his injection of pace put his own team leader, Tyler Hamilton, in trouble. Gutierrez pushed on over the summit and down into Saint Etienne as Hamilton was helped back into the chasing pack by another of Phonak’s Spanish contingent, Santos Gonzalez. Although Mayo and his Euskaltel team-mates did all they could to defend the leader’s jersey, Gutierrez’s advantage was just enough to take him into the lead and give Phonak the responsibility of controlling the bunch on Wednesday’s hilly stage to Aubenas. Stage 2, Bron-St Etienne 1 Jos Enrique Gutierrez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 181km in 4.36.44 (39.24kph) 2 Cyril Dessel (Fra) Phonak 0.07 3 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Cofidis 4 Jrme Pineau (Fra) Brioches La Boulangre 5 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Crdit Agricole 6 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak 7 Frdric Guesdon (Fra) fdjeux.com 8 Andrea Peron (Ita) CSC 9 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel 10 Michael Rasmussen (Den) CSC 13 Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal 28 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal 30 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Rabobank 42 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak 49 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 5.15 60 Baden Cooke (Aus) fdjeux.com 8.10 63 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal 67 David Millar (GB) Cofidis 73 Matt White (Aus) Cofidis 17.23 Overall standings 1 Jos Enrique Gutierrez (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 10.48.21 2 Iban Mayo (Spa) Euskaltel 0.08 3 Tyler Hamilton (USA) Phonak 0.09 4 Lance Armstrong (USA) US Postal 0.10 5 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak 6 Cyril Dessel (Fra) Phonak 7 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Cofidis 0.14 8 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Phonak 9 Laurent Lefvre (Fra) Brioches La Boulangre 0.18 10 Levi Leipheimer (USA) 0.20 39 Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal 0.58 46 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 5.22 54 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal 8.24 60 Baden Cooke (Aus) fdjeux.com 8.46 67 David Millar (GB) Cofidis 9.21 83 Matt White (Aus) Cofidis 19.01