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Grabsch wins stage, Evans takes lead

GERMANY'S Bert Grabsch won Wednesday's fourth stage of the Dauphine Libere ahead of Australian Cadel Evans, who reclaimed the race leader's yellow jersey.

Grabsch completed the 42.4-kilometer time trial from Bourg-les-Valence to Valence in France in 51 minutes and 26 seconds. Evans took second place, seven seconds behind the 33-year-old time trial world champion, who claimed his first victory of the season.

British rider David Millar came third, 39 seconds behind.

Evans regained the overall lead he held for two days after winning the opening time trial in Nancy last Sunday. He now leads former Tour de France champion Alberto Contador by 45 seconds. The Spaniard crossed the finish line in fifth position. Grabsch moved up to third place overall, 48 seconds adrift.

Previous leader Niki Terpstra of the Netherlands lagged well behind in 114th place of the stage, 5:27 back.

"I did not necessarily come to win but it's better to lead, for sure," Evans said. "The track was fast and Grabsch was the best today. But I fear for the Ventoux tomorrow."

The fifth stage is a 154km ride from Valence to the Mont Ventoux and will be a strong test for the race favorites. The stage, with its gruelling uphill finish, also features four difficult climbs.

Defending champion Alejandro Valverde of Spain suffered a big blow, losing 1 minute and 31 seconds to Evans.

The Dauphine Libere is a traditional warmup for next month's Tour de France, where Contador will try for a second victory, after his 2007 win. He will ride in the same Astana team as seven-time champion Lance Armstrong.

Evans has finished runners-up at the Tour for the past two years.


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