Spaniard Daniel Navarro showed the Astana team had more than one arrow in its quiver in stage five of the Critérium du Dauphiné today when he attacked early on the hors category climb of the Chamrousse and held on all the way to the finish for victory in Grenoble. Eros Capecchi (Footon-Servetto-Fuji) and Thibaut Pinot (Française des Jeux) gave chase behind, but were unable to deny Navarro his first win as a professional and settled for second and third respectively.
RadioShack's Janez Brajkovic held on to his lead in the overall competition following today's stage. On the final climb the general classification was uncontested by the Slovenian's main rival Alberto Contador, who was content to sit back and watch his teammate and compatriot Navarro ride away with the stage.
"This is not just a team victory, the first victory in a professional career is a unique moment, there is no word to describe it. It is above all a huge personal victory and the team is happy for him! " said Astana sports director Giuseppe Martinelli.
The peloton set off on the 143.5 kilometer stage from Serre-Chevalier to Grenoble immdiately facing the category two Col du Lautaret. Several groups formed on the slopes of the climb, but the peloton was anxious and continued reel the escapees back into the fold. Seven riders eventually formed the break of the day and included Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Luis Pasamontes (Caisse d'Epargne), Grega Bole (Lampre), Bram Tankink (Rabobank), Dimitri Champion (AG2R-La Mondiale) and two thirds of the stage podium in Capecchi and Pinot. After 50 kilometers had been ridden they had an advantage of a minute and a half over a RadioShack led peloton content to let them go.
The breakaway was allowed to gain more than five minutes on the peloton before their gap began to come down. By the time the head of the race reached the second sprint of the day in Vaulnaveys-le-Bas their lead was down to 2 minutes and 30 seconds with 51 kilometers left to race.
At the base of the 17.5 kilometer climb to Chamrousse the gap to the leaders was down to 2 minutes and 15 seconds, with Capecchi leading the charge. Tankink was the first of the leaders to lose contact, while behind an attack by Mickaël Delage (Omega Pharma-Lotto) and Christophe Kern (Cofidis) started a small chase group that also included Fredrik Kessiakoff (Garmin), André Steensen (Saxo Bank) and Christophe Moreau (Caisse d’Epargne) and Navarro. The chase trailed the leaders on the road by 2 minutes and 20 seconds.
Ahead Capecchi, Pinot and Martinez managed to separate from the front group to make it a leading trio on the road with their former companions at 8 seconds, the second chase group at 1 minute and 50 seconds, and the peloton a further 30 seconds behind.
Navarro began his charge on the slopes of the Chamrousse and rode by the chase group and then straight through the leaders 7 kilometers from the top, causing Martinez to lose contact. Two kilometers later Navarro had 3 minutes on the peloton and continued drive his way towards the summit. A kilometer from the top the Spaniard had put nearly a minute into his two nearest chasers, and held on to his advantage as he began the descent into Grenoble.
Back in the peloton a group that included three AG2r riders broke clear and began to force the pace in order to bring leader Christope Riblon over top of Cofids' Rein Taaramäe in the race for the overall. The French teams battled it out for the lesser general classification places all the way to the finish, while ahead Navarro held off all chasers to take home his first ever victory as a professional just weeks away from his 27th birthday.
2010 Critérium du Dauphiné stage 5 results:
1. Daniel Navarro (ESP) Astana 3hr 26min 16sec
2. Eros Capecchi (ITA/FOT) at 34sec
3. Thibaut Pinot (FRA/FDJ) same time
4. Dimitri Champion (FRA/ALM) 1:39
5. Egoi Martinez (ESP/EUS) s.t.
6. Christophe Moreau (FRA/GCE) s.t.
7. Blel Kadri (FRA/ALM) 2:40
8. Pierre Rolland (FRA/BTL) s.t.
9. Luis Pasamontes (ESP/GCE) s.t.
10. Christophe Riblon (FRA/ALM) s.t.
49. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/THR) s.t.
55. Alberto Contador
58. Denis Menchov (RUS/RAB) s.t.
66. David Millar (GBR/GRM) s.t.
General classification after stage 5:
1. Janez Brajkovic (SLO/RSH) 19hr 55min 04sec
2. Tejay Van Garderen (USA/THR) at 1min 15sec
3. Alberto Contador (ESP/AST) 1:41
4. David Millar (GBR/GRM) 1:56
5. Nicolas Vogondy (FRA/BTL) 2:43
6. Denis Menchov (RUS/RAB) 2:55
7. Christophe Riblon (FRA/ALM) 3:05
8. Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL/OLO) 3:06
9. Christian Knees (GER/MRM) 3:10
10. Rein Taaramae (EST/COF) 3:28