Botero takes two, but lead stays with Landaluze
Stage 6 was a tough day for the Dauphiné Libéré peloton in the French Alps. Starting in Albertville, the riders tackled three Cat. 1 climbs before doing the hors categorie Col de Joux-Plane, then descending into Morzine for the finish. As expected, all the GC riders tried to break each other's legs on the last couple of climbs, with Santi Botero (Phonak) and David Moncoutié (Cofidis) crossing the summit of the Joux-Plane first, ahead of Francisco Mancebo (Illes Balears), Christophe Moreau (Credit Agricole), and Marzio Bruseghin (Fassa Bortolo), then a group containing Lance Armstrong (Discovery), Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile), Levi Leipheimer (Gerolsteiner), David Arroyo (Illes Balears), and Jose Gomez Marchante (Saunier Duval).
On the descent, Botero dropped Moncoutié and stayed away to win the stage by 23 seconds, with the rest of the contenders coming in in dribs and drabs. As expected, race leader Iñigo Landaluze (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was isolated from his few remaining teammates, but managed to limit the damage to 4'17 at the end of the day, and saved his yellow jersey. He now leads Botero by 49 seconds with Leipheimer back in third at 1'16 and Armstrong fourth at 1'37. There's one more stage to come tomorrow in Sallanches, and all the GC riders will have to be alert, as the finishing circuit (ridden seven times) contains the Cat. 4 Côte de Domancy. It could be just enough for one of the top five to put Landaluze under enough pressure to take the lead.