France, March 5-12, 1995

Pre Race News
March 4 - Because of illness, Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini has withdrawn from Paris-Nice which begins tomorrow (Sunday). Mario won three of the eight stages last year and has already won seven races in the first five weeks of the 1995 season.

"He will be okay for the Milan-San Remo classic," said his team manager Antonio Salutini on Saturday. Milan-San Remo is in two weeks.

If the dominating sprinter recovers in time, Cipollini may ride the Tirreno-Adriatico race, which starts on Wednesday -- three days after the first Paris-Nice stage.

Stage One Report
With a powerful finish, Wilfried Nelissen won the first stage of the 62nd Paris-Nice today. Nelissen took the stage after the peloton chased down Arturis Kasputis (Lithuania) who was the lone leader for 100 kilometers.

"I have felt like a stranger in my new team, and I wanted to give them some confidence in me," Nelissen said."I have never been so cold in a race as I was today, but I told Marc Sergeant halfway through the race that no-one would beat me today. Now I am sure that I will win again this week."

For Frenchman Jalabert, it was his first French race of the season -- Jalabert's team and sponsor are Spanish. Commenting on the finish he said, "I was not taking any risk on that final corner into the finish, but my legs were so cold." Icy rain fell on the riders for most of the race. "Nelissen was just too strong," Jalabert added.

Nelissen is the overall leader of 1,356 kms race. Nelissen's advantage of three seconds over Jalabert was gained through time bonuses awarded to the first three finishers. Kasputis earned six seconds in bonuses by winning two intermediate sprints.

Stage 1 - 161 kms - March 5 1995

  1. Wilfried Nelissen (Belgium-Lotto)         04:18:56
  2. Laurent Jalabert (France-ONCE)
  3. Silvio Martinello (Italy-Mercatone Uno)
  4. Fabio Baldato (Italy-MG Technogym)
  5. Frederic Moncassin (France-Novell)
  6. Gian Matteo Fagnini (Italy-Mercatone Uno)
  7. Paolo Fornaciari (Italy-Mercatone Uno)
  8. Federico Colonna (Italy-Mapei GB)
  9. Andrei Tchmil (Moldova-Lotto)
 10. Giovanni Fidanza (Italy-Polti)            all s.t.
General Classification after Stage One
  1. Nelissen                          04:18:46
  2. Jalabert                                03 secs.
  3. Arturas Kasputis (Lithuania-Chazal)     04
  4. Martinello                              06
  5. Sven Teutenberg (Germany-Novell)        07
  6. Wiebren Veenstra (Netherlands-Motorola) 08
  7. Baldato                                 10
  8. Moncassin
  9. Fagnini
 10. Fornaciari                             all s.t.
Stage 2
No report or results available.

Stage 3 Report
Wilfried Nelissen (Belgium) outsprinted Gian Matteo Fagnini (Italy) and Frederic Moncassin (France) to win the 168 kms third stage from Roanne.

Nelissen's victory at Orleans gave him the overall lead on Sunday, but when he missed the decisive break on Monday he finished than 12 minutes behind Jalabert. "This was my fifth win out of six mass sprints," he said. "I will be trying again at Marseilles on Friday when the finish again will suit me."

Sean Yates (U.K.) and Gerd Audehm (Germany) escaped the peloton 40 kilometers after the start. At 35 kilometers, the tandem still had a 3 minutes and 30 seconds lead on the peloton. Meanwhile, Thierry Gouvenou's (France) solo chase had earned him a 45 seconds advantage over the peloton. Finally, Yates and Audehm were brought back 5 kilometers from the finish. "We just kept pressing. Sometimes such a move works," Yates said.

Starting the race after 3 days of recuperative bed rest, Alex Zuelle (Switzerland) is still feeling weak from a stomach virus. "After that ride (Monday) my temperature was 38 degrees celsius, but now I am feeling better but weak."

Stage 3 - 168 kms - March 7 1995

  1. Wilfried Nelissen, Belgium (Lotto)          04:22:07
  2. Gian Matteo Fagnini, Italy (Mercatone Uno)
  3. Frederic Moncassin, France (Novell)
  4. Fabio Baldato, Italy (MG Technogym)
  5. Federico Colonna, Italy (Mapei GB)
  6. Laurent Jalabert, France (ONCE)
  7. Paolo Fornaciari, Italy (Mercatone Uno)
  8. Gianluca Bortolami, Italy (Mapei GB)
  9. Jurgen Werner, Germany (Telkom)
 10. Francois Simon, France (Castorama)           all s.t.
General Classification after Stage 3
  1. Jalabert                              13:16:22
  2. Andrei Tchmil, Moldova (Lotto)           01:37
  3. Stephane Heulot, France (Banesto)         1:39
  4. Simon                                     1:43
  5. Joona Laukka, Finland (Festina)
  6. Vyacheslav Ekimov, Russia (Novell)
  7. Roberto Petito, Italy (Mercatone Uno)
  8. Abraham Olano, Spain (Mapei GB)
  9. Rolf Sorensen, Denmark (MG Technogym)
 10. Udo Bolts, Germany (Telkom)              all s.t.
Stage 4 Report
In initial reports, the 135 riders of Paris Nice were stopped 54 kilometers into the start of Stage 4 because of snow drifts on the roads. They restarted, but drifts stopped them again after another 10 kilometers. It was then decided to transport the riders to another starting point (Riom) still another 37 kilometers into the stage's route.

However, more recent reports indicate the stage was abandoned after the 37 kms tranfer because of the snow and high winds. Earlier, a snowplough had to clear the road into Chalvignac so that advance vehicles could reach the finish area. Never before has a stage been cancelled in Paris-Nice. The decision to call the stage was made by course director Rene Jarlaud along with the managers of the 18 participating teams.

"It is your decision whether the race continues," Jarlaud told their spokesman Roger Legeay. The managers soon decided to send the riders to their hotels for the night.

Apparently the move to abandon the stage was precipiated by some of the racers, including Jacky Durand and Armand de las Cuevas. They and other riders complained of the weather and called for a halt after 52 kilometers. During the starts and stops, it is reported that the Italians and a few others continued to race. But finally, they also abandoned at Riom.

Race organiser Josette Leulliot said: "In these conditions if the riders decide what happens we have nothing to reproach them for. We were given assurances that all would be okay this morning, and we had constant weather updates. There was always a risk, but no one was ready for that second snowstorm."

As for tomorrow's (Thursday) 5th stage, "We have been told that the temperature should be between five and 11 degress Centigrade and that all roads should be passable," said Leulliot. Marc Madiot, assistant course director, said: "The riders have been racing in cold weather since Sunday's start, and today's decision was just an accumulation of what they had suffered previously. They also got confused with the stopping and starting, and then being told that the weather ahead was good when in fact it was not."

Stage 5 Report
After staying away for the last half of the 176-kilometer stage from Murat to Saint Etienne, Lance Armstrong (U.S.A.) beat Thierry Bourguignon (France) in an uphill finish by eight seconds. Eddy Bouwmans (Holland) was third, 51 seconds behind, after starting the decisive break 73 kms from Murat on rolling terrain through the Haute Loire.

Eleven kilometers after breaking away, Bouwman had 15 seconds on a chase group of Bourguignon and Oscar Lopez Uriarte (Spain) with Armstrong just bridging up.

"I was sure after yesterday's cancelled stage that someone would go from the gun," Armstrong said."I was feeling strong and had tried some attacks, then the others escaped and I gave chase. It took me most of the first climb to catch them." "I knew the finish would be hard but it was a lot harder than I thought."

Armstrong's win moved him from 76th to 19th on G.C., and left him 11 minutes three seconds behind Jalabert. Jalabert finished in the main group, one minute 44 seconds behind Armstrong who had started the day 12 minutes 56 seconds in arrears of the overall leader. Jalabert took an intermediate sprint after 32 kilometres to increase his lead over Tchmil. "There is no pressure on me," said Jalabert. "My biggest rival is my teammate Alex Zuelle and the main challenge will come in the final time trial at the Col d'Eze on Sunday." "My team was in control today and so there were no problems."

Stage 5 - 176 kms - March 9 1995

  1. Lance Armstrong, U.S. (Motorola)             04:03:20
  2. Thierry Bourguignon, France (Le Groupement)        08 secs.
  3. Eddy Bouwmans, Netherlands (Novell)               :51
  4. Fabio Baldato, Italy (MG Technogym)              l:02
  5. Paolo Fornaciari, Italy (Mercatone Uno)
  6. Francesco Frattini, Italy (Gewiss Ballan)
  7. Richard Virenque, France (Festina Andorra)      all s.t.
  8. Giovanni Fidanza, Italy (Polti)                  1:06
  9. Gianluca Bortolami, Italy (Mapei GB)             1:08
 10. Pascal Richard, Switzerland (MG Technogym)       1:10
General Classification after Stage 5
  1. Laurent Jalabert, France (ONCE)         17:20:23
  2. Andrei Tchmil, Moldova (Lotto)              1:40
  3. Stephane Heulot, France (Banesto)           1:42
  4. Sergei Outschakov, Ukraine (Polti)          1:44
  5. Francois Simon, France (Castorama)          1:46
  6. Joona Laukka, Finland (Festina)
  7. Vyacheslav Ekimov, Russia (Novell)
  8. Roberto Petito, Italy (Mercatone Uno)
  9. Abraham Olano, Spain (Mapei GB)
 10. Rolf Sorensen, Denmark (MG Technogym)     all s.t.
Stage 6 Report
Marco Saligari (Italy) held off Paolo Fornaciari (Italy) in a sprint finish to take Friday's 178-km sixth stage. The tandem escaped their breakaway companions, Francesco Frattini (Italy) and Ludwig Willems (Belgium), as the peloton closed in. The 4-man break had held an advantage of more than two and a half minutes, but as the peloton approached the finish they were pulled back to under a minute. The two Italians then made their move. "I knew that once we were over the final climb we would be safe," said Saligari. "The classics are my main goal this year, but I have not been told whether I will contest the first, Milan to San Remo," he added.

Jalabert improved his overall lead to one minute 43 seconds over Moldova's Andrei Tchmil. Jalabert remarked: "If I still have the same lead after Saturday's stage then it will be difficult to lose because the remaining stages are hard." With no one in today's break threatening overall G.C., Jalabert commented, "Today's breakaway was very strong, but not so much of a threat as others which we had to work hard to control."

Jalabert added, "I am making more effort in this race than I normally do. I am racing as a leader now rather than a sprinter who tries to keep something in reserve for the finish." On another note, experiencing stomach trouble, Wilfried Nelissen (Belgium) lost approximately eight minutes and 40 seconds.

Stage 6 - 178 kms March 10 1995

  1. Marco Saligari (Italy, MG Technogym)       04:51:53
  2. Paola Fornaciari (Italy, Mercatone Uno)         s.t.
  3. Francesco Frattini (Italy, Gewiss-Ballan)        07
  4. Ludwig Willems (Belgium, Mapei GB)              s.t.
  5. Fabio Baldato (Italy, MG Technogym)              11
  6. George Hincapie (U.S., Motorola)
  7. Laurent Jalabert (France, ONCE)
  8. Federico Colonna (Italy, Mapei GB)
  9. Gian Matteo Fagnini (Italy, Mercatone Uno)
 10. Frederic Moncassin (France, Novell)           all s.t.
General Classification after Stage 6
  1. Laurent Jalabert (France-ONCE)     22:12:24
  2. Andrei Tchmil (Moldova, Lotto)        01:43
  3. Stephane Heulot (France, Banesto)      1:45
  4. Sergei Outschakov (Ukraine, Polti)     1:46
  5. Abraham Olano (Spain, Mapei GB)        1:47
  6. Francois Simon (France, Castorama)     1:49
  7. Vyacheslav Ekimov (Russia, Novell)
  8. Roberto Petito (Italy, Mercatone Uno)
  9. Rolf Sorensen (Denmark, MG-Technogym)
 10. Udo Bolts (Germany, Telkom)           all s.t.
Stage 7 Report
Pascal Richard (Switzerland) won today's tough seventh stage. Laurent Jalabert (France), finishing second, strengthened his overall lead when his chief rival, Moldovan Andrei Tchmil, lost contact after a series of attacks on the second of two six-kilometer climbs up Grand Duc hill. Richard soloed away from his three breakaway companions, including Berzin (Russia), with 29 kilometers remaining in the stage. But, Richard had a scare on his descent from the Grand Duc summit as he ran off the road at a bend, narrowly missing spectators, before regaining control of his bike.

Richard, at nearly 12 and a half minutes behind, was no danger to Jalabert but in the final flurry of attacks up the six-km climb, second-place Tchmil fell back. Swiss cyclists (Tony Rominger and Alex Zuelle) have won Paris-Nice three times in the past four years. Today, it was Zeulle's chasing efforts that blew apart the field.

Stephane Heulot's (France) fourth place finish today behind Abraham Olano (Spain) moved him into second place on G.C., 1:45 behind Jalabert. Richard, Berzin, Gian Matteo Fagnini (Italy) and Jose-Luis Arrieta (Spain) were off the front for most of the day with Jalabert's teammates, Zuelle, Herminio Diaz Zabala (Spain) and Neil Stephens (Australia) chasing hard through the rolling Var countryside.

With the exception of Richard each was reeled in on the first assault of the Grand Duc to prepare the way for Jalabert's final attack. "Today was important and there was never a time when I was worried," said Jalabert. "Now with a day remaining I feel I have the victory within my grasp."

Stage 7 - 205 kms - March 11 1995

  1. Pascal Richard (Switzerland-MG Technogym)  05:39:43
  2. Laurent Jalabert (France-ONCE)                   33 secs.
  3. Abraham Olano (Spain-Mapei GB)
  4. Stephane Heulot (France-Banesto)
  5. Vladislav Bobrik (Russia-Gewiss Ballan)
  6. Francesco Frattini (Italy-Gewiss Ballan)
  7. Neil Stephens (Australia-ONCE)
  8. Roberto Petito (Italy-Mercatone Uno)         all s.t.
  9. Andrei Tchmil (Moldova-Lotto)                  l:04
 10. Vyacheslav Ekimov (Russia-Novell)              1:28
General Classification after Stage 7
  1. Jalabert                       27:52:41
  2. Heulot                            01:45
  3. Olano                              1:47
  4. Petito                             1:49
  5. Bobrik
  6. Alex Zuelle (Switzerland-ONCE)      s.t.
  7. Tchmil                             2:13
  8. Sergei Outschakov (Ukraine-Polti)  2:40
  9. Ekimov                             2:43
 10. Udo Bolts (Germany-Telkom)          s.t.
Final Stages Report
Laurent Jalabert (France, ONCE) won Paris-Nice today (Sunday). It was his first career victory in a major multi-stage cycling event in his seven years as a professional. It was only the second French victory in Paris-Nice in the last 15 years. In 1993, Jalabert helped teammate Alex Zuelle win Paris-Nice and now the Swiss has returned the favor, strongly defending Jalabert's lead throughout the week. "I had a margin of security at the start of the time trial," Jalabert said. "I was calm and I made a good race. My teammates helped me a lot and I dedicate my victory to them."

Zuelle was third in the mountain time trial at 22:49, three seconds faster than his 22:52 trial last year when he took third spot behind Tony Rominger. Zuelle had earlier been given a time considerably slower than his effort last year but it was discovered that a timing fault had given all the riders times one minute slower than their actual times. All were later corrected. Bobrik (Russia) was 26 seconds outside Rominger's course record of 22:06 set last year.

Stages 8a and 8b - March 12 1995
Stage 8a - Road Race - 91.4 kms

   1. Fabio Baldato, Italy,       2:17:10
   2. Andrei Tchmil, Russia
   3. Giovanni Fidanza, Italy
   4. Sven Teutenberg, Germany
   5. George Hincapie, U.S.
   6. Laurent Jalabert, France
   7. Gian Matteo Fagnini, Italy
   8. Frankie Andreu, U.S.
   9. Francois Simon, France
  10. Claude Lamour, France       all s.t.
Stage 8b - ITT - 12.5 kms
   1. Vladislav Bobrik, Russia      22:32
   2. Laurent Jalabert, France         12 secs.
   3. Alex Zulle, Switzerland          16
   4. Abraham Olano, Spain             53
   5. Stephane Heulot, France        1:02
   6. Roberto Petito, Italy          1:22
   7. Fernando Escartin, Spain       1:38
   8. Viatcheslav Ekimov, Russia     1:48
   9. Marcelino Garcia, Spain        1:49
  10. Yvon Ledanois, France          1:57
Final General Classification
   1. Laurent Jalabert, France    30:32:32
   2. Vladislav Bobrik, Russia        1:40
   3. Alex Zulle, Switzerland         1:57
   4. Abraham Olano, Spain            2:30
   5. Stephane Heulot, France         2:38
   6. Roberto Petito, Italy           3:03
   7. Andrei Tchmil, Russia           4:01
   8. Viatcheslav Ekimov, Russia      4:23
   9. Yvon Ledanois, France           4:35
  10. Serguei Outschakov, Russia      4:50