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61st Paris-Nice - 2.HC
France, March 9-16, 2003
Stage 7 - March 16: Nice - Nice, 160 km
Complete Live Report
Start time: 11:25 CET
Welcome to Cyclingnews' coverage of the seventh and final stage of Paris-Nice. Breaking with the tradition of what was basically a criterium along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, this year's Stage 7, totaling 160 km, will take riders on three circuits out of Nice and back again. The first two circuits include both the Category 1 Col d'Eze and the Category 2 Col de Châteauneuf. The final circuit will be shorter, taking in the Col d'Eze one final time, with the summit lying only 16 km from the finish in Nice.
The three intermediate sprints will provide additional bonus seconds each time the race crosses the start/finish line in Nice.
Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom), defending Paris-Nice champion, heads into the final stage with a strong chance of pulling off a repeat win in Nice. He'll have to stay vigilant and keep his rivals close at hand over the challenging course today, as three men sit within a minute of the overall lead. Lying in second is Mikel Zarrabeitia (ONCE-Eroski), just 43 seconds back. Former race leader Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) is third, 54" back, while Zarrabeitia's ONCE teammate Jorg Jaksche is in fourth at 55".
Meanwhile, in Italy, the fourth stage of Tirreno-Adriatico has been cancelled due to bad weather.
14:14 CET - 107 km/53 km to go
David Bernabeu (Milaneza) attacks in pursuit of the Kelme rider, forcing a reaction from Vinokourov and co. Bernabeu is not far down on GC, and can't be allowed to escape.
14:18 CET - 109 km/51 km to go
14:21 CET - 110 km/50 km to go
Just one more climb to come - the Col d'Eze.
14:28 CET - 118 km/42 km to go
A Credit Agricole rider - is it Poilvet? - attacks in pursuit of Astarloza, who is 25 seconds behind the leading three. The peloton is at 35 seconds.
14:34 CET - 124 km/36 km to go
Chasing them is Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r) at 40 seconds, followed by the peloton.
14:38 CET - 127 km/33 km to go
14:41 CET - 129 km/31 km to go
14:44 CET - 132 km/28 km to go
Kristensen is increasing his lead, as Vasseur continues to control the tempo. They cross the line 1'20 behind the three leaders. Bernabeu is only 31 seconds behind Vino on GC now, putting him in second overall. ONCE had better think about chasing soon.
14:50 CET - 136 km/24 km to go
Cedric Vasseur leads the bunch at the bottom of the climb, with Kristensen being caught.
Jeker has been dropped, leaving Bernabeu and Parra the two sole leaders.
14:53 CET - 137 km/23 km to go
Now ONCE's Zarrabeitia attacks, followed by Chavanel and Vinokourov. It goes nowhere. Chavanel keeps the pace going, with Zarrabeitia, Vino and Brochard able to follow. This has really hurt the peloton.
14:56 CET - 139 km/21 km to go
In front, Fabian Jeker has made his way back to Bernabeu and Parra. Impressive.
15:00 CET - 141 km/19 km to go
In front, Bernabeu, Parra and Jeker are still powering away on the Col d'Eze, with 1'00 lead on the peloton.
Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) forces the pace, with Vino right on his wheel. Rebellin and Chavanel are also there, and there are gaps in the peloton. The pace has brought back Bernabeu's group to 30 seconds. There are less than 15 men in the peloton, with all the main favourites still there.
15:06 CET - 142 km/18 km to go
A Euskaltel rider (Lopez de Munain?), is working hard on the front of the peloton, with Sanchez in second wheel. An attack by Laurent Lefevre (Delatour) gains some metres.
15:09 CET - 144 km/16 km to go
On the false flat at the top of the climb, the peloton is flying along. They are only 20 seconds behind Bernabeu, Jeker and Parra.
15:12 CET - 146 km/14 km to go
Lefevre doesn't last long in front, and is caught by a flying peloton. In front, Parra has problems following Jeker and Bernabeu, the two Milaneza riders, on this technical downhill.
15:14 CET - 148 km/12 km to go
15:16 CET - 150 km/10 km to go
Alexandre Vinokourov in yellow, has ridden a very intelligent race today, given that he has had very little support from his team. He should remain in the number one position.
15:20 CET - 153 km/7 km to go
Vinokourov, Rebellin, Samuel Sanchez and Gorka Gonzalez (Euskaltel), Claus Moller (Milaneza), Kurt Arvesen (fakta), Oscar Pereiro, Santi Perez (Phonak), Sylvain Chavanel (Boulangere), Laurent Brochard (Ag2r), Jorg Jaksche and Mikel Zarrabeitia (ONCE) are some of the riders in the leading group.
Sylvain Chavanel attacks again. He catches Santi Perez (Phonak) who was also a little way off the front.
15:21 CET - 155 km/5 km to go
Vinokourov loses his chain at a bad time. He is back in the second group with Simoni and Lefevre. But there is no panic, and the group comes back the the first peloton. Chavanel, Perez and Sanchez are still 3 seconds in front of them.
15:25 CET - 159 km/1 km to go
15 seconds behind them is the peloton.
Brochard sets off in pursuit of Bernabeu.
15:27 CET - 160 km/0 km to go
Alexandre Vinokourov comes in last wheel, but he wins Paris-Nice for the second time in a row. A very fine ride by the Kazakh, who vowed to win after his friend Andrei Kivilev's death last week. Instead of a trophy or flowers, Vinokourov holds a photograph of Kivilev on the podium as he salutes the crowd, clutching his young daughter on his shoulder.
In the other classifications, Laurent Brochard took the green points jersey, Tyler Hamilton the Mountains, and Sylvain Chavanel the Young Rider's Jersey.
Thanks for following the live coverage of Paris-Nice with Cyclingnews this week. Be sure to check back in next Saturday for our live coverage of Milan-San Remo, the first round of the World Cup.
1 David Bernabeu (Spa) Milaneza-MSS 4.01.21 2 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Milaneza-MSS 0.03 3 Ivan Parra (Col) Kelme-Costa Blanca 4 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Ag2R Prevoyance 0.10 5 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team fakta 0.11 6 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Brioches La Boulangere 7 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saeco 8 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 9 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 10 Gorka Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi Final general classification 1 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Team Telekom 23.30.04 2 Mikel Zarrabeitia (Spa) ONCE-Eroski 0.43 3 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.54 4 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) ONCE-Eroski 0.55 5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Brioches La Boulangere 1.24 6 David Bernabeu (Spa) Milaneza-MSS 1.28 7 Claus Michael Moller (Den) Milaneza-MSS 1.30 8 Volodomir Gustov (Ukr) Fassa Bortolo 1.41 9 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 1.48 10 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 2.04