66th Paris-Nice, Hors Category
France, March 7-14, 1999
PreviewThe 1999 edition of Paris-Nice involves 8 stages between Boulogne-Billancourt and Nice. There is a 9 kms ITT on the first day and a finish on the summit at Valberg the day before the end. There are 16 teams entered (see full list below).
Last year's winner, Belgian Frank Vandenbroucke is the hot favourite to win the Paris-Nice for 1999. The 1999 race is already notable because of the absence of some of the great teams in the professional peloton. Several of the best riders in the world will be missing from the starting line in Paris, notably French rider Laurent Jalabert and his Spanish team ONCE-Deutsche Bank who are refusing to ride in France at present after the team doctor Nicolas Terrados was detained and placed under investigation by Judge Keil in the Festina scandal.
Also missing from the starting 9 kms ITT on Sunday will be the Telekom team (with leader Jan Ullrich still ill) and Banesto. 8 months after the crisis of the last Tour de France, the "Race to the Sun" should allow some conclusions to be drawn about the state of professional cycling. Already rumours are circulating after last weekend's Het Volk (9 Belgians in the top 10) about the capacity of the French riders this season.
There is considerable interest in Richard Virenque who will be making his return to racing after earlier saying he was quitting professional cycling. People will be comparing this year's performances with those in recent years and drawing conclusions if they are inferior.
The French Cofidis team has sought Vandenbroucke to revitalise its fortunes and he is definitely eyeing two in a row. The ITT is clearly the sort of parcours which favours him. Not to technical. But the real duel on Stage 1 will be between British rider Chris Boardman and the Ukrainian Sergueï Gontchar.
The stages to Sens, Nevers and Vichy are good for the sprinters and Tom Steels, Frédéric Moncassin and Jan Kirsipuu, will contest some furious finales.
The big event comes next Saturday (March 13) with the long climb up to the finish at Valberg (27 kms of climbing) and will be the determining stage in the race. Vandenbroucke, Lance Armstrong, Stuart O'Grady and Alexandre Vinokourov are all capable of winning this race.
Meanwhile, Richard Virenque has given an interview about his new team, Polti and his chances in 1999. The French rider has spoken to Canal + in France and said that his first objective for 1999 was to be in good condition for the Giro and in excellent condition for the Tour de France.
What have you been doing since you signed with Polti in January?
I began training on my bike again and have made the sacrifices again. Now, I have found a new peace and I have found my tempo. I am happy. I am now in a hurry to get back to competition. I want to express myself and do lots of things.
What are the changes that have been made in the last year?
Everything has changed - the directeur sportif, the teammates, the jersey. And especially my way of seeing the things. This year, I will be more considered, more attentive, and more wary."
You have said that you have uncovered enemies?
Before I thought that everything was beautiful, and that the whole world was at peace. But now that is not true. I have discovered that there are problems with people. I had some problems coping with some difficult moments last year.
How have you come to Paris-Nice?
Physically I am not really bad, good, I would say that I can have a great Paris-Nice. It is only my first race back though. The last period, the conditions at Genève have been very bad. I have been training in Spain, in the region of Mallaga, to find some sun and to get a little tempo back. I do not believe that I am in top form. The objective is to find some form.
Are you apprehensive about this?
I have no fear of anything. On the contrary, I am seeing things differently. The spectacle of cycling still remains for me. I am very eager about it and I hope that I can still give more passion to the people who follow the sport.
What is there in this season for you?
I want to be in top form for the Tour de France and it is over a beautiful route this year. I would like to win a stage in the Tour and a World Cup race. I also want to ride for France at the World Championships in Italy.
Complete Starting List
Cofidis Mapei-Quick Step 1. Franck Vandenbroucke (Bel) 11. Tom Steels (Bel) 2. Steve De Wolf (Bel) 12. Giuliano Figueras (Ita) 3. Peter Farazijn (Bel) 13. Paolo Fornaciari (Ita) 4. Philippe Gaumont (Fra) 14. Bart Leysen (Bel) 5. Claude Lamour (Fra) 15. Axel Merckx (Bel) 6. Arnaud Pretot (Fra) 16. Chann McRae (USA) 7. Christophe Rinero (Fra) 17. Tobias Steinhauser (Ger) 8. Laurent Rokia (Fra) 18. Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Casino Rabobank 21. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) 31. Michael Boogerd (Ned) 22. Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) 32. Erik Dekker (Ned) 23. Lauri Aus (Est) 33. Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) 24. Stéphane Barthe (Fra) 34. Robbie McEwen (Aus) 25. Pascal Chanteur (Fra) 35. Rolf Sorensen (Den) 26. Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) 36. Leon Van Bon (Ned) 27. Laurent Roux (Fra) 37. Marc Wauters (Bel) 28. Benoît Salmon (Fra) 38. Markus Zberg (Swi) La Française des Jeux Kelme-Costa Blanca 41. Stéphane Heulot (Fra) 51. José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) 42. Christophe Bassons (Fra) 52. Santiago Botero Echeverry (Col) 43. Christopher Horner (USA) 53. Francisco Cabello Luque (Spa) 44. Yvon Ledanois (Fra) 54. Aïtor Gonzalez (Spa) 45. Emmanuel Magnien (Fra) 55. José Javier Gomez (Spa) 46. Anthony Morin (Fra) 56. Eduardo Hernandez Bailo (Spa) 47. Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) 57. Francisco Leon Mane (Spa) 48. Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra) 58. Javier Pascual Llorente (Spa) Crédit Agricole Vini Caldirola 61. Chris Boardman (GB) 71. Serguei Gontchar (Ukr) 62. Olivier Pereaudeau (Fra) 72. Massimo Apollonio (Ita) 63. Frédéric Finot (Fra) 73. Ruggero Borghi (Ita) 64. Frederic Moncassin (Fra) 74. Andrej Hauptmann (Slo) 65. Stuart O'Grady (Aus) 75. Gianluca Sironi (Ita) 66. Eros Poli (Ita) 76. Guido Trentin (Ita) 67. Henk Vogels (Aus) 77. Matthew White (Aus) 68. Jens Voigt (Ger) 78. Mauro Zanetti (Ita) Festina US Postal Service 81. Wladimir Belli (Ita) 91. Francisco Andreu (USA) 82. Rolf Huser (Swi) 92. Lance Armstrong (USA) 83. Fabian Jeker (Swi) 93. Pascal Deramé (Fra) 84. Andrei Kivilev (Kaz) 94. Tyler Hamilton (USA) 85. Laurent Lefevre (Fra) 95. George Hincapie (USA) 86. Laurent Madouas (Fra) 96. Marty Jemison (USA) 87. Alexander Moos (Swi) 97. Jason Livingston (USA) 88. Francisque Teyssier (Fra) 98. Glenn Magnusson (Swe) Cantina Tollo Lotto-Mobistar 101. Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) 111. Andrei Tchmil (Bel) 102. Andrea Brognara (Ita) 112. Mario Aerts (Bel) 103. Oscar Cavagnis (Ita) 113. Fabien Dewaele (Bel) 104. Moreno Di Biase (Ita) 114. Jacky Durand (Fra) 105. Marco Antonio Di Renzo (Ita) 115. Thierry Marichal (Bel) 106. Massimiliano Gentili (Ita) 116. Jo Planckaert (Bel) 107. Massimo Giunti (Ita) 117. Peter Van Hyfte (Bel) 108. Guido Trenti (USA) 118. Gert Verheyen (Bel) Polti Big Mat-Auber 93 121. Richard Virenque (Fra) 131. Pascal Lino (Fra) 122. Daniel Atienza Urendeze (Spa) 132. Guillaume Auger (Fra) 123. Rossano Brasi (Ita) 133. Ludovic Auger (Fra) 124. Mirko Celestino (Ita) 134. Dominique Rault (Fra) 125. Mirko Crepaldi (Ita) 135. Christophe Cappelle (Fra) 126. Stéphane Goubert (Fra) 136. Carlos Dacruz (Fra) 127. Denis Lunghi (Ita) 137. Thierry Gouvenou (Fra) 128. Mauro Zinetti (Ita) 138. Jay Sweet (Aus) Saeco-Cannondale Post Swiss Team 141. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) 151. Bruno Boscardin (Swi) 142. Valentino China (Ita) 152. Pierre Bourquenoud (Swi) 143. Salvatore Commesso (Ita) 153. Christian Charriere (Swi) 144. Dario Frigo (Ita) 154. Cédric Fragnière (Swi) 145. Harald Morscher (Aut) 155. Yvan Haymoz (Swi) 146. Massimiliano Mori (Ita) 156. Sven Montgomery (Swi) 147. Igor Pugaci (Mda) 157. Daniel Schnider (Swi) 148. Mario Traversoni (Ita) 158. Frederic Vifian (Swi)Thanks to Daniel Schamps, Paris for the list
1933 Alfons Schepers (Bel) 1934 Gaston Rebry (Bel) 1935 René Vietto (Fra) 1936 Maurice Archambaud (Fra) 1937 Roger Lapebie (Fra) 1938 Jules Lowie (Bel) 1939 Maurice Archambaud (Fra) 1946 Fermo Camellini (Ita) ... 1951 Roger Decock (Bel) 1952 Louis Bobet (Fra) 1953 Jean-Pierre Munch (Fra) 1954 Raymond Impanis (Bel) 1955 Jean Bobet (Fra) 1956 Alfred De Bruyne (Bel) 1957 Jacques Anquetil (Fra) 1958 Alfred De Bruyne (Bel) 1959 Jean Graczyk (Fra) 1960 Raymond Impanis (Bel) 1961 Jacques Anquetil (Fra) 1962 Joseph Planckaert (Bel) 1963 Jacques Anquetil (Fra) 1964 Jan Janssen (Ned) 1965 Jacques Anquetil (Fra) 1966 Jacques Anquetil (Fra) 1967 Tom Simpson (GB) 1968 Rolf Wolfshohl (Ger) 1969 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1970 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1971 Eddy Merckx (Bel) 1972 Raymond Poulidor (Fra) 1973 Raymond Poulidor (Fra) 1974 Joop Zoetemelk (Ned) 1975 Joop Zoetemelk (Ned) 1976 Michel Laurent (Fra) 1977 Freddy Maertens (Bel) 1978 Gerrie Knetemann (Ned) 1979 Joop Zoetemelk (Ned) 1980 Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle (Fra) 1981 Stephen Roche (Ire) 1982 Sean Kelly (Ire) 1983 Sean Kelly (Ire) 1984 Sean Kelly (Ire) 1985 Sean Kelly (Ire) 1986 Sean Kelly (Ire) 1987 Sean Kelly (Ire) 1988 Sean Kelly (Ire) 1989 Miguel Indurain (Spa) 1990 Miguel Indurain (Spa) 1991 Tony Rominger (Swi) 1992 Jean-Francois Bernard (Fra) 1993 Alex Zülle (Swi) 1994 Tony Rominger (Swi) 1995 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) 1996 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) 1997 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) 1998 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Mapei-Bricobi
Mario Stiehl from Berlin compiles the winner's lists