Besides the third-placed in the final general classification, Bernhard Kohl of T-Mobile, and the fact that several favourites of the race (Alexandre Vinokourov, Floyd Landis, Yaroslav Popovych) did not reveal their levels of fitness just weeks before the Tour de France, the Dauphiné Libéré saw another surprise as Basque Iban Mayo emerged again in front of the peloton to take Saturday's stage to La Toussuire, a summit finish also in this year's Tour. Similar to his best days in the Centenary Tour in 2003, the Basque climber took off on the final ascent and this time left everybody behind again.
"This is the most important victory in my career," he stated. "After the Dauphiné [2004, where he clocked a record time in the Dauphiné time trial up the Mont Ventoux - ed.], I crashed in the Tour de France on the stage to Wasquehal. After that, I was out of the picture for two years due to knee problems and a back injury. My form was good these last few weeks, but my head wasn't quite right yet. Now, I feel like a bike rider again. But I don't want to look ahead to the Tour. I live day by day and I'm happy with every performance."