After already showing his excellent form on Friday, Iban Mayo was able to prove that he is back on track for the upcoming Tour de France by taking the victory in Saturday's stage six to La Toussuire. Attacking his breakaway companion Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears) with only a few kilometres to go on the final climb of the day, the Basque Euskaltel rider truly cheered when he passed the finish line. Valverde saved his advantage over the three chasers Christophe Moreau (AG2R), Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) and overall leader Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner) to come second.
"I've thought I'd never come back", a relieved Mayo said after his win. "I've spent two years without a win. Once it was because of a problem with a shoulder that stopped me from racing for a long time. Then I decided to prepare only for the Tour de France, but I got a sore knee as well as back problems and I never reached my level on time."
The lead on general classification remained in the hands of American Leipheimer, while previously second-placed Denis Menchov (Rabobank) unluckily crashed and lost his spot to Frenchman Moreau. A very consistent Bernhard Kohl of T-Mobile moved up to third overall.
"Levi feels very good," said Gerolsteiner directeur sportif Christian Henn after the stage, feeling confident that Leipheimer will be able to take his advantage until the race finish in Grenoble. "Not much is missing anymore - we will definitely do everything it takes to pull this thing through." After mastering the Cold du Galibier and the Col de la Croix de Fer, the man in the yellow jersey remained calm on his way to La Toussuire. "He really had good legs," Henn added. "Especially on the last climb, Levi was brutally strong and did not give a single chance away to his rivals for the GC. He was in total control."