Moreau storms to Dauphiné lead

Christophe Moreau (Ag2r)

Christophe Moreau (Ag2r) (Image credit: Luc Claessen)

Frenchman Christophe Moreau (AG2r) stomped away from the group of Andrey Kashechkin (Astana) on stage six of the Dauphiné Libéré, taking back the leader's yellow jersey from the Kazakh rider with a gutsy move on the final climb of the Col du Télégraph. The 36 year-old came eighth behind remnants of an early breakaway on a stage won by Maxim Iglinsky (Astana), but gained enough time on Kashechkin to recapture the jersey that he took on stage two.

Moreau took the overall lead in the Dauphiné with a brilliant ride on stage two into Saint-Etienne, where he was part of a three-man breakaway, only to give it up in the following day's time trial. "My favourite terrain is switching slowly from time trialling to climbing," said Moreau after that stage. "But I've showed today that my legs of an old man still work correctly. I haven't decided anything for my future. We must see how the old machine goes before calling it a career."

A professional since 1995, Moreau usually races quite well in the Dauphiné - he won the overall classification in 2001 - and he looks to be in for another overall victory following his performance in Valloire after a strong ride on the Mont Ventoux in stage four that made up for a mediocre stage three time trial. "Winning here is just as fabulous as taking the yellow jersey after the prologue of the 2001 Tour de France in Dunkirk. It's magnificent," Moreau said atop Mont Ventoux.

Moreau's late breakaway companion Cadel Evans had high praise for the Frenchman. "Moreau seems to get better every year. When he's good, he's very good. I wasn't holding back... I wanted to attack and try to get the yellow jersey but I simply couldn't. Moreau was the strongest."

Moreau holds a slim 14 second lead over Australian Cadel Evans going into the final stage, but with the final difficulty, the Col de la Forclaz, coming more than 17 kilometres from the finish and a downhill run to the finale in Annency, Moreau doesn't expect to have problems holding the lead. "We'll have to stay focused till the very end. I don't want to sell the skin of the bear before killing him, but if Evans rides as he did today, it should be all right."

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