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Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Sunday, 15 June 2008 16:33 UK

Valverde claims Dauphine Libere

Alejandro Valverde
Valverde won the Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic in April

Spain's Alejandro Valverde showed off his Tour de France credentials by winning the Dauphine Libere in Grenoble, France on Sunday.

The Caisse D'Epargne rider, 28, finished 39 seconds ahead of Australian Cadel Evans, while American Levi Leipheimer finished third overall.

The seventh and final stage was won by Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Fofonov.

The Dauphine Libere is one of the final warm-up races before the Tour de France, which starts on 5 July.

"It's my biggest ever stage race win," said Valverde after the mountainous 128km stage between Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne and Grenoble.

"It shows that my form is even better than I expected right now. It's looking very good for the Tour.

"I won the Dauphine a little like [five-time Tour de France winner] Miguel Indurain. I got the yellow jersey early on in the time-trial then kept my rivals under control in the mountains.

"If I could do the same in the Tour, that would be great. But the time-trial there is very different to the ones here."

Dauphine Libere final standings:

1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa/Caisse d'Epargne) 27hrs 34:39"
2. Cadel Evans (Aus/Silence-Lotto) +39secs
3. Levi Leipheimer (US/Astana) +1:24"
4. Robert Gesink (Ned/Rabobank) +2:47"
5. Haimar Zubeldia (Spa/Euskaltel) +3:19"
6. Cyril Dessel (Fra/AG2R) +4:01"
7. Mikel Astarloza (Spa/Euskaltel) +4:25"
8. Sylwester Szmyd (Pol/Lampre) +4:29"
9. Maxime Monfort (Bel/Cofidis) +4:45"
10. Matteo Carrara (Ita/Quick-Step) +5:13"

see also
Valverde scoops victory in Liege
27 Apr 08 |  Cycling

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