World time trial champion, Bert Grabsch, today won the fourth stage of the Dauphiné Libéré, a 42km time trial from Bourg-Les-Valence to Valence, whilst Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto) took back the yellow jersey.
The Columbia rider, resplendent in his rainbow jersey and shorts, powered around the challenging course to record the quickest time, seven seconds ahead of Evans.
Whilst Grabsch was the fastest on the day, all eyes were on the battle between the two Tour de France contenders, Evans and Alberto Contador (Astana).
It was a re-run of the duel between Contador and Evans in the dramatic finale to the 2007 Tour de France that saw the Spaniard valiantly defend his yellow jersey from the Australian.
This time, Evans put 37 seconds into Contador, sending out a strong message just weeks before the Tour.
Evans got the better of Contador in the opening time trial of the Dauphiné by just seven seconds and got the upper hand once again today but it was clear that the Spaniard’s form is still not where he needs it to be after a two month break from racing.
It remains to be seen how significant Evans’ result will be come July, but with the Tour de France just three weeks away, the Australian today dealt a major psychological blow to Contador.
Though Contador’s form is still uncertain, David Millar is clearly enjoying a purple patch.
The British Garmin rider was narrowly caught on the line on stage two and rode to an impressive third today, just 39 seconds down on Grabsch and moving into fifth on the general classification in the process.
Stage four: Bourges-Les-Valence – Valence, 42km
1. Bert Grabsch (Ger) Columbia-Highroad in 51-26
2. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto at 0-07
3. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 0-39
4. Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Columbia-Highroad at 0-40
5. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana at 0-44
6. Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank at 1-01
7. Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank at 1-19
8. Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step at 1-20
9. Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 1-23
10. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) ag2r at 1-24
General classification after stage four
1. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana at 0-45
3. Bert Grabsch (Ger) Columbia-Highroad at 0-48
4. Frantisek Rabon (Cze) Columbia-Highroad at 1-07
5. David Millar (GB) Garmin-Slipstream at 1-09
6. Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank at 1-33
7. Sébastien Rosseler (Bel) Quick Step at 1-46
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 1-54
9. Koos Moerenhout (Ned) Rabobank at 2-01
10. Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 2-07
David Millar came third on the stage, and moves up to fifth overall
Cadel Evans did enough today to regain the yellow leader’s jersey
Alberto Contador was fifth on the stage is is now looking ahead to stage five’s mountain top finish on Mont Ventoux
Bert Grabsch showed why he’s the time trial world champion