GRENOBLE, France -- Former mountain bike world champion Michael Rasmussen won the sixth stage of the Dauphine Libere cycle race after breaking away from the start on Saturday.
The 30-year-old Dane, who has spent most of his career off
the road, surged away on the whistle and led for the entire 144
km of the hardest mountain stage this year, between Gap and
Spaniard Iban Mayo retained the overall lead and looked
ideally placed to win his first Dauphine Libere after finishing
second behind Lance Armstrong last year.
Despite Rasmussen's fine effort, the overall standings
American Tyler Hamilton crashed in a descent but was able to
make it back into the main bunch and retain his second place
overall, 36 seconds behind Mayo.
Spain's Oscar Sevilla is third overall ahead of Armstrong,
who is two minutes behind the leader.
Rasmussen, who rides for Dutch team Rabobank, was joined by
Italian Ivan Basso, one of the Tour de France favourites, for
part of his breakaway.
But the CSC team leader had a mechanical problem on the last
climb and the Dane was left on his own.
The win was all the more impressive as Rasmussen had been on
the verge of giving up the previous day with stomach problems.
"I felt much better and I attacked. It's a great win," he
Armstrong, who is unlikely to win the Dauphine Libere for
the third time in succession, said: "I'm working. And