Team Columbia-Highroad's Bert Grabsch won stage four of the Dauphiné Libéré, a 42.4-kilometre individual time trial in Valence, France. Grabsch, the reigning world time trial champion, finished seven seconds ahead of runner up Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) and 39 seconds in front of David Millar (Garmin-Slipstream) in third place.
"I haven't won a race since my world championship victory last year, and after four or five top 10 places in time trials this year I've finally won one, so this is very important for me," Grabsch said. "The last two time trials I did before this were just 12 kilometres and 25 kilometres long, so the distance in this one this one suited me a lot better. On top of that,this was a perfect course for me today, there weren't too many climbs and there were a lot of opportunities to use a big gear. So I had to take my chance."
The German time trial specialist admitted it had been a close fight against Evans, but in the final part of the course he managed to pull ahead of the Australian.
"I was faster than Cadel in the first part, then he got back some time on me, and then in the last part I was able to move in front again. In the last 10 kilometres I was suffering badly, but I still won, which is what's important."
Grabsch commented on the goals for the remainder of his season.
"There are 13 or 14 riders on the shortlist for the Tour de France and we won't know for sure until after the Tour of Switzerland who will be going," said Grabsch. "Obviously if I go, I'd want to do my best in the time trials, and I think the second, which is much longer and flatter is better for me. I'd definitely try as hard as possible in both, though. We'll see.
"In any case, retaking the world time trial champion's jersey in Mendrisio in September is also really important for me, so whatever happens I have plenty of targets in the next few months."