By Hedwig Kröner in La Toussuire
As he had announced in the morning, Gerolsteiner's Levi Leipheimer attacked out of a breakaway group halfway up the second climb of the day, the Col de la Croix de Fer, with 63 kilometres to go. Putting all the strength he had left into a brave solo move, he first caught Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), then later Tadej Valjavec (Lampre), and continued on his own up the last climb. Only one rider was left in front: Michael Rasmussen, but the Dane's advantage was just too great.
"It just wasn't to be," said an-also disappointed Christian Henn (Gerolsteiner DS) at the finish. "With the way Rasmussen was riding, Levi just couldn't bridge up. Finally, his forces failed him, and the fight for the yellow jersey also made the race fast behind him. It's a pity, giving it all and ending up with nothing like that, but if you don't try, you'll never succeed."
In the finale, Leipheimer couldn't follow as Carlos Sastre caught him with six kilometres to go. he finished ninth, almost three and a half minutes down on the winner.