Dauphiné Libéré stage 2 wrap: Just rewards for a strong Gilbert

Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux)

Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) (Image credit: Luc Claessen)

Having spent his fair share of 2006 at the front of the peloton with only one win to his name, Francaise des Jeux's Philippe Gilbert has won stage 2 of the Dauphiné Libéré into Saint-Galmier. It was a well deserved triumph for the young Belgian, who spent the bulk of the day in front of the main bunch with team-mate Sébastien Joly and Cédric Vasseur (Quick.Step) for company.

The Francaise des Jeux team-mates worked well together, and it wasn't until later in the stage that Gilbert, who won Het Volk earlier in the year, had to ride away from his stablemate. But that didn't worry Joly, who said after the stage that, "For me, it's the same as if I had won myself. I love this spirit of sacrificing one for the other."

With an uphill finish and his breakaway companion behind him, Gilbert could afford to coast to victory, while behind him Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R) took it upon himself to fly the coop several kilometres before the end in order to avoid sprinting against the likes of Thor Hushovd, whose strengths suited the type of finish.

With a healthy five-minute buffer separating himself from the peloton at the finish, Gilbert took the leader's yellow jersey, just reward for a strong and intelligently-ridden stage. The long time trial of stage 3 will test how much gas the Belgian hope has in his legs as he'll surely be trying to hold onto his overall lead.

Click here for full results, report & photos

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