February 23, 2006 – Charles Dionne, Martin Gilbert and Dominique Perras have all stood the “test of time”…trial that is, at the Tour of California. The objective of all three riders in this early season race was simply to stay in the game by avoiding a time-cut in the Stage Three 27K Time Trial. Although Perras (Kodakgallery.Com-Sierra Nevada) wasn’t worried about making the cut, Gilbert and Dionne were.
Perras, 87th in the stage, finished 4:34.31 behind the winner, American Floyd Landis (Phonak Hearing Systems) who now takes possession of the coveted leader’s jersey. Landis won the Stage with a 29-second lead over fellow American, David Zabriskie (CSC). Martin Gilbert finished 98th, 5:12.14 behind Landis, while Dionne (Saunier Duval-Prodir) came in with a 6:38.63 gap, putting him at 119th in the overall standings – clearly not his best.
Commenting on his performance Perras explained, “I didn’t take it easy, but I didn’t push it to the maximum either. I rode consistently for the first half, but when another rider caught up to me, I understood that I had to move it or else I’d get eliminated because of a time cut.”
Martin Gilbert is suffering from a cold and described his placing in the Stage as a bad tactical decision. “Honestly, I started way too slow. The more I rode, the better I felt, so I had to push myself.” Gilbert, like teammate Perras, hopes to be a factor in the upcoming mountain stages on Thursday and Friday.
“It’s a day to forget,” said Charles Dionne. “I knew it was going to be a rough time-trial and it was. I suffered a lot, but unfortunately, my riding and speed were not as intense as my suffering.”
Stage four on Thursday is 210.7K route between Monterrey and San Luis Obispo.