By Susan Westemeyer
Gerolsteiner took the first and the final leader jerseys at the Dauphine Libere, splitting the duties of race leader between two riders. Levi Leipheimer won the race with an advantage of over a minute and a half, but it was his teammate Fabian Wegmann who first wore the yellow jersey after winning the first stage. "My motto is: First the fun, then the work. And there has been enough of that the last few days," the cheerful German wrote on his homepage, www.fabian-wegmann.de His personal review of the race was, "it could have gone better. It's okay that I couldn't wear my jersey another day. I would have lost after the time trial anyway, and besides it was worth it because we were able to save our strength for our captain."
And they needed that strength, too. The stage Saturday "was really hellish." On the long preliminary ascent to the Galibier, "we had to react again and again to attacks. Levi went over the Galibier with the leading group, of course, while we suffered over it behind him in the large group. After the descent we had about 20 km time on the flat stretch up to the Col de Telegraphe to close that hole. That means riding all out, giving everything. At the next mountain, it was the same thing: mountain, hole, Levi alone in front, we try to close the hole. It went like that all day." But it was worth it. That evening Leipheimer "made an extra point of thanking the team for their support. It's natural that we do our work to ride in the wind for him, but of course it doesn't hurt the morale and mood in the team when the captain honours our work."