The first road stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré was supposed to be one for the sprinters, a rare opportunity in a race that gets its shape from the hilly terrain of the foothills of the Alps. But someone forgot to have Gerolsteiner's Fabian Wegmann read the script, and the German took the stage win after a perfectly-timed four-man escape shed the peloton 14km from the line.
Wegmann nipped off the front with Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues), Francisco Mancebo (AG2R) and Egoi Martinez (Discovery Channel) just before the peloton caught Nicolas Inaudi (Cofidis) on the côte de Rapoux. Inaudi had been away since the second kilometre.
The four worked together to stay away. "I am quite surprised we managed to keep the sprinters at bay," said Wegmann after the stage. "It was a tough stage to do so but the four of us collaborated well."
Wegmann was the fastest of the four as the line approached, and his stage win put him into the race leader jersey. However he doesn't expect to defend that position. "Tackling the really high mountains is always difficult for me," he said. "I'll be happy to work for my race leader Levi Leipheimer."