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Tyler Hamilton and Benoît Joachim perform

The United States Postal Service Pro Cycling Team had
important results in two key European races yesterday with
Tyler Hamilton winning the Dauphiné Libéré stage race in
France and Benoît Joachim placing second at the Tour of
Luxembourg. Hamilton and teammate Lance Armstrong shared
the leader’s position at the Dauphiné this week. Armstrong
held it first following the third stage; Hamilton moved
into first place after stage five and led the race until
the end. In the process Armstrong won one stage and
Hamilton won two.

“With Tyler in the (leader’s) jersey, everything worked
out,” said Johan Bruyneel, directeur sportif for the USPS
team. “There were no big problems today. We could let the
break go again today and keep it within the limits. We
waited for the attack from Euskaltel which didn’t come.”

The win is significant for Hamilton who was considered one
of Armstrong’s main lieutenants during the 1999 Tour de
France. A talented time trialist and skilled climber,
Hamilton’s role supporting Armstrong during the Tour’s
mountain stages was emphasized when former teammate
Jonathan Vaughters was injured early in the race. These
same talents served Hamilton well this past week.

“The Dauphiné is a big race, like the Tour of Switzerland
or Paris-Nice,” Bruyneel said. “It’s the same high
category race – just under the three grand tours. So,
winning the Dauphiné is a big achievement for Tyler and for
our team.

“Once you’ve won the Tour, the objectives are not the same
anymore, but you can not forget how important it is to win
races like this.

“Everybody is tired but okay. Tyler is very happy and
relieved also, especially because there was still a
possibility that Zubeldia could take some time from
him (in yesterday’s stage); 31 seconds is still close and we had to stay
concentrated until the end.”

Hamilton credited team leader Armstrong for helping him win
the Dauphiné. “Without Lance, I never would have won
because I certainly would have panicked,” Hamilton told
reporters after the race. “With him, I was able to stay in
control and today, between St.-Jean-de-Maurienne and
Sallanches, Lance told me to relax. He stayed with me the
entire stage.” Armstrong finished the race in third place,
36 seconds behind Hamilton.

In the Tour of Luxembourg, Joachim held onto his
second-place position following yesterday’s final stage and
finished the race one minute and 28 seconds behind Alberto
Elli of Telekom. Nicola Loda of Fassa Bortolo was third.

“There was a long breakaway but it was not a problem for
us,” said Dirk Demol, assistant directeur sportif for the
USPS team. “Julian (Dean) was in the break. Telekom
controlled the race for Elli which is what we expected.

“Later, (Serguei) Ivanov tried to escape. Ivanov was only
six seconds back of Benoît so we had to protect him.
George (Hincapie), Steffen (Kjaergaard), Frankie (Andreu),
and Benoît all worked together to close the gap.”

In Saturday’s fourth stage, a 15 km time trial, the USPS took the two top spots
with Dylan Casey winning the stage with a time of 17:01, while teammate Levi
Leipheimer placed second, at 20 seconds. Casey nearly won the TT stage at last
year’s Tour of Luxembourg but was edged out by less than one second. The victory
was Casey’s third time trial win of the season, winning the race against the clock in the
Redlands Classic and at the Four Days of Dunkerque. Joachim finished an impressive
fourth in the stage, 33 seconds back, moving him from fifth to second overall.

The next races on the team’s schedule prior to the Tour de
France are the Tour of Catalunya from June 15-22 in Spain
and the Route du Sud from June 17-20 in France.

1. Laurent Jalabert, ONCE-Deutsche Bank; in 3:29:48
2. Frederic Bessy, Jean Delatour; at :45
3. Xavier Jan, La Française des Jeux; s.t.
4. Christophe Oriol, Jean Delatour; at 1:20
5. Vicente Garcia Acosta, Banesto; s.t.
* * * * *
15. Tyler Hamilton, USPS; at 2:42
16. Lance Armstrong, USPS; s.t.
44. Cédric Vasseur, USPS; at 4:33
53. Kevin Livingston, USPS; at 4:37
DNF Patrick Jonker, USPS
Stive Vermaut, USPS
DNS Viatcheslav Ekimov, USPS

1. Tyler Hamilton, USPS; in 30:22:07
2. Haimar Zubeldia, Euskaltel-Euskadi; at :31
3. Lance Armstrong, USPS; at :36
4. Alex Zülle, Banesto; at 1:42
5. Jonathan Vaughters, Credit Agricole; at 2:56
* * * * *
55. Vasseur, USPS; at 51:46
59. Livingston, USPS; at 1:03:45

1. Alessandro Petacchi, Fassa Bortolo; in 4.20.13
2. Rolf Sorensen, Rabobank; at :50
3. Filippo Simeoni, Amica Chips-Tacconi Sport; s.t.
4. François Simon, Bonjour-Toupargel; s.t.
5. Hendrik Van Dyck, Palmans-Ideal; at :54
* * * * *
20. Benoît Joachim, USPS, at 1:54
29. George Hincapie, USPS; s.t.
32. Frankie Andreu, USPS; s.t.
37. Steffen Kjaergaard, USPS; at 2:13
38. Dylan Casey, USPS; at 2:20
41. Levi Leipheimer, USPS; at 2:52
67. Julian Dean, USPS; at 6:06

1. Alberto Elli, Telekom; in 16:50:11
2. Benoît Joachim, USPS; at 1:28
3. Nicola Loda, Fassa Bortolo; at 1:34
4. Serguei Ivanov, Farm Frites; s.t.
5. Michael Sandstod, Memory Card-Jack & Jones; at 1:41
* * * * *
26. Hincapie, USPS; at 17:01
28. Leipheimer, USPS; at 17:47
30. Kjaergaard, USPS; at 18:01
66. Dean, USPS; at 24:37
71. Casey, USPS; at 28:01
74. Andreu, USPS; at 30:37
# # #


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