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61st Paris-Nice - 2.HC

France, March 9-16, 2003

Main page    Course map    Start list    Results

Stage 7 - March 16: Nice - Nice, 160 km

Complete Live Report

Start time: 11:25 CET
Estimated finish time: 15:40 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
The situation on the Col de Châteauneuf with some 50 km to go is that we have a small peloton of 45 riders or so, with Kelme's Ivan Parra leading the way up the climb with a small gap. Telekom's Thorsten Hiekmann is at the front of the peloton, doing great work for his teammate and race leader Alexandre Vinokourov.

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
Bernabeu catches Parra, and the pair are caught by Fabian Jeker to form an interesting three man break on this Cat. 2 climb. The peloton is some 15 seconds back, led by an ONCE rider.

14:21 CET - 110 km/50 km to go
Jeker, Bernabeu, and Parra cross the top of the Col de Châteauneuf in that order with 15 seconds to the peloton. Tyler Hamilton (CSC) sprinted for the remaining mountain points, trying to keep his mountains jersey, but was beaten by another Milaneza rider, Rui Sousa. Hamilton still gets a point, which means he will probably keep the jersey.

Just one more climb to come - the Col d'Eze.

14:28 CET - 118 km/42 km to go
On the descent of the Chateauneuf, Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r) attacks the peloton in pursuit of Jeker, Bernabeu and Parra, who are some 20 seconds in front of the 40 man peloton.

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
Fabian Jeker, David Bernabeu (Milaneza) and Ivan Parra (Kelme) are now 50 seconds in front of the peloton, meaning that Bernabeu is effectively 5th on GC. Can he move up further?

Chasing them is Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r) at 40 seconds, followed by the peloton.

14:38 CET - 127 km/33 km to go
The leading three are in Nice now, getting ready for the final ascent of the Col d'Eze. Mikel Astarloza is now at 40 seconds, while the peloton follows at 48 seconds, led by Cedric Vasseur (Cofidis) and Thorsten Hiekmann (Telekom). Astarloza gives up his chase.

14:41 CET - 129 km/31 km to go
The Vasseur/Hiekmann chase is holding the three breakaways at 55 seconds, as they race through the streets of Nice for the second last time. Alexandre Vinokourov is sitting in about 6th wheel in the peloton, looking very comfortable at the moment. There should be some interesting action on the Col d'Eze this time around.

14:44 CET - 132 km/28 km to go
CSC's Lennie Kristensen gets a small gap to the peloton along the Promenade des Anglais, as they ride 1'15 behind Fabian Jeker, David Bernabeu and Ivan Parra. The Milaneza boys are eating and drinking now in preparation for the final assault on the Col d'Eze.

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
The three leaders have started the final ascent of the Col d'Eze, with a 1'20 advantage on the peloton. The bottom part of the climb is quite steep, and both the Milaneza riders are working hard to keep their rhythm.

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
The peloton is led by Vasseur, until Stephane Goubert (Delatour) jumps away in pursuit of the leaders. No-one reacts, as he is not a threat on GC. In front, Parra and Bernabeu are suffering, but riding at a good tempo.

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
Chavanel attacks again, and Vino is right there with him. Rebellin also. The peloton is still some 25 riders strong, and follows Bernabeu and Parra at 1'20. The peloton slows again, until Marcos Serrano lifts the pace. He should realise that his teammate Zarrabeitia's second place on GC is in great danger at the moment.

In front, Fabian Jeker has made his way back to Bernabeu and Parra. Impressive.

15:00 CET - 141 km/19 km to go
Chavanel goes yet again, and this time gets 20 metres. It's a strong attack, but he is caught by Kurt Arvesen (fakta), in front of the peloton.

In front, Bernabeu, Parra and Jeker are still powering away on the Col d'Eze, with 1'00 lead on the peloton.

15:02 CET
Arvesen leads, then Chavanel takes over with Vinokourov right on his wheel. Chavanel needs to try and bring Bernabeu back to 17 seconds in order to keep his 5th place on GC.

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
The three leaders, Fabian Jeker, David Bernabeu, and Ivan Parra are really hurting as they approach the top of the Col d'Eze. Will they be caught before then?

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
Samuel Sanchez attacks behind Lefevre, followed by Vino and Rebellin. They are still about 30 seconds behind the three leaders at the top, with about 16 men left in the peloton. Kurt Arvesen (fakta) takes over the chase in the group, riding very well.

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
The three leaders are on the descent, followed by Lefevre at 25 seconds, then the peloton at 30 seconds. This will be an interesting descent.

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
The descent into Nice is spectacular, although the peloton does not have time to look at the few. The group has split into two on this final section, with the front part of the peloton about 25 seconds behind the three leaders. Chavanel, Perez (Phonak), Vinokourov, Rebellin, Sanchez, and Zarrabeitia are all in the front chasing group.

15:16 CET - 150 km/10 km to go
Sanchez attacks on the descent, and his teammate chases him down. Sanchez is not happy. But they will probably work better together to bring back Bernabeu and co.

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
The gap is down to 20 seconds.

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
It's desperate chasing from the peloton with 5 km to go, as Jeker, Bernabeu and Ivan Parra are still leading the stage. Sylvain Chavanel and Santi Perez are in pursuit.

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
The three leaders, David Bernabeu, Ivan Parra and Fabian Jeker enter the promenade des Anglais. Bernabeu attacks with 1 km to go, and is away!

15 seconds behind them is the peloton.

Brochard sets off in pursuit of Bernabeu.

15:27 CET - 160 km/0 km to go
Bernabeu wins the stage! Very impressive move. His teammate Jeker takes second place, and is just as delighted. Parra is third, followed by Brochard, and then Arvesen leads the peloton in for 5th at 10 seconds.

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.

Results (provisional)

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

Results     Mail the commentary team