63rd Paris-Nice - ProTour
France, March 6-13, 2005
Main Page Results
& report Stage
Stage 6 - Saturday, March 12: La Crau - Cannes, 184km
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Hedwig Kröner and
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 14:30 CET
Estimated finish time: 16:30 CET
Welcome back to Cyclingnews for the sixth and penultimate stage of Paris-Nice.
Today, the riders wind their way to Cannes from La Crau, on the south eastern
coastline of France. It's around 15 degrees today and sunny, with a bit of a
westerly wind blowing at the riders backs all day. Really a perfect day for
a bike race.
There is plenty of uphill (and downhill) action in stage 6, starting with the
Col de Taillude (Cat. 3, km 33), then the Côte de Taradeau (Cat. 2, km 81),
Côte des Tuillières (Cat. 2, km 95.5), Col de Saint-Arnoux (Cat. 3, km 118.5),
Bourigaille (Cat. 1, km 130) and Col du Tanneron (Cat. 2, km 164). The sprints
are at La Garde-Freinet (km 55.5) and Montauroux (km 149).
As he said in his post-race interviews yesterday, new race leader Bobby Julich
(CSC) knows the climbs in this area and is looking forward to today's stage.
He admitted that he has never liked Mont Faron, but the mountains today and
tomorrow should suit his style. It will take a very strong rider to unseat him
and his team from the lead in the next two stages, but anything can happen.
It's been a fairly simple stage so far, with 149 riders starting in La Crau.
Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Phonak) was the only non-starter. After 5 km,
the breakaway of the day was established by eight riders: Aaron Kemps (Liberty),
Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner), Bram Schmitz (T-Mobile), Joost Posthuma (Rabobank),
Marc Lotz (Quick.Step), Fabien Sanchez (Francaise des Jeux), Joerg Ludewig (Domina
Vacanze) and Cyril Dessel (Ag2r). Nico Mattan (Davitamon-Lotto) tried to get
across by himself, but couldn't make it. The gap was 30 seconds at km 7, 2'05
at km 15, 4'00 at km 36 and 5'00 at km 80, which was the last time check we
14:44 CET 110km/74km to go
The breakaways are now at km 110, holding a gap of 5'40. CSC is leading the
peloton, setting a steady controlling tempo.
The wind is quite strong, especially towards the end of the stage. Unlike last
year, when Vinokourov powered past Samuel Sanchez in the closing kilometres
to win the stage, it's a tailwind finish. So once the riders crest the Col du
Tanneron, the final 20 km will be very fast.
A very motivated Vinokourov told Cyclingnews at the start this morning,
"I want to win a stage, either today or tomorrow. So watch out!
We also spoke to Jörg Jaksche (Liberty) at the start today, and the German defending
champion was almost resigned to his fate. "With a strong team like CSC, the
race is basically over. I don't think they'll let the jersey go again," said
15:00 CET 124km/60km to go
Posthuma is leading on the Cat. 1 Col de Bourigaille as suddenly Joerg Ludewig
attacks. He strings out the eight man break, putting at least one rider in difficulty.
The rider in trouble is Fabien Sanchez, who is trying to get back to the break.
The peloton is tackling the lower slopes of the Col de Bourigaille. Former mountains
leader Jimmy Casper is being dropped as CSC continues to set the tempo.
Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Liberty) and Jaan Kirsipuu (Credit Agricole) have
15:04 CET 125km/59km to go
This is a 5.7 km climb averaging 5.8% - definitely not as tough as the Faron.
The leaders are 5 km from the summit. CSC has its whole team on the front of
the peloton, working for Bobby Julich. The roads are quite narrow here, so it's
fairly easy for a team to control the race.
15:06 CET 126km/58km to go
Aaron Kemps (Liberty) takes a turn in the break, which is still rotating quite
well on the climb. Sanchez is back on. Ludewig accelerates again - he's taken
all the mountains points today, so he might be making a late charge for the
mountains jersey. David Moncoutié has 31 points.
Andre Korff (T-Mobile) is dropped from the bunch. There are eight CSC riders
in front, including Julich.
We spoke to Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears) this morning, who - as always
- complained of being tired. "I want to try to move up on GC. It'll be difficult,
but I'll try if it's possible," he said.
There's an attack in the peloton - it's Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel). He
passes the 5 km to go banner.
Danielson is joined by a Saunier rider and Schleck from CSC. The three have
about 5 seconds.
Danielson continues to pound the pedals, as a Credit Agricole rider (Kashechkin)
gets up to them. Four chasers now. But the bunch is closing the gap to them.
Yep, they're coming back.
Danielson looks back and attacks again. There is an immediate reaction this
time from one of the Sauniers. Voigt is up there too in third wheel.
15:13 CET 128km/56km to go
The gap is approximately four minutes between the break and the peloton, which
has regrouped after Danielson's attacks. Voigt is right up in the front rank
The attacks start again, led by Saunier. Is that Zaballa?
The break is nearly at the top of the climb, still all together. It's a lot
flatter up here.
15:16 CET 131km/53km to go
Ludewig takes the points on the Cat. 1 Bourigaille, followed by Dessel.
Voigt has marked the Saunier Duval rider, and they come back to the bunch. Danielson
goes again, and gets a bit of a gap. Julich is sitting well in the top 10.
Danielson reaches the flatter part near the top of the climb, and slowly opens
up a gap. But CSC has regrouped at the front and is chasing. A Saunier rider
goes after Danielson, as well as a CSC rider. They come back to the peloton
at the top of the climb.
Sylvain Chavanel is dropped.
15:19 CET 133km/51km to go
Schleck and Voigt lead the peloton over the top of the climb, approximately
3 minutes behind the break. 3'25 to be exact.
The first sprint at La Garde-Freinet (km 55) was won by Ludewig from Sanchez
15:21 CET 135km/49km to go
Ludewig is the best placed on GC of the riders in the break, starting the day
in 58th at 6'43, so he's not a threat to Julich's lead at the moment.
The eight leaders are flying on the descent of the Bourigaille, and are nearly
at the bottom.
15:23 CET 139km/45km to go
Four CSC riders lead the peloton on the descent, around 3'30 behind the break.
They're taking no risks. The leaders are motoring through Tourrettes now.
The full results of the Col de Bourigaille: 1 Joerg Ludwig, 2 Cyril Dessel,
3 Joost Posthuma, 4 Marc Lotz, 5 Bram Schmitz, 6 Aaron Kemps, 7 Fabien Sanchez.
15:27 CET 142km/42km to go
This quite a long descent off the Bourigaille, and that will help the break's
chances. There's no big urgency by CSC to chase them, as CSC doesn't need to
win the stage. All the bonus seconds can be taken by the leaders. The gap is
up to 4'02 now.
Philippe Gilbert (FDJ) attacks the peloton through Tourrettes.
15:28 CET 144km/40km to go
Gilbert gets company from Kevin Hulsmans (Quick.Step), who will be a very useful
man to have around. They have a pretty nice gap.
Commesso has set off after Hulsmans and Gilbert.
15:32 CET 147km/37km to go
Commesso has got a bit of a gap, but he'll have to work to get Hulsmans and
Gilbert. They will have to work a lot harder to get the break, which is 3'30
ahead of them. Ludewig is the strongest rider in the break.
15:36 CET 151km/33km to go
Commesso comes back to the bunch, which has the CSC train riding hard on the
The eight leaders: Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner), Bram Schmitz (T-Mobile), Joost
Posthuma (Rabobank), Marc Lotz (Quick.Step), Fabien Sanchez (Francaise des Jeux),
Joerg Ludewig (Domina Vacanze), Cyril Dessel (Ag2r). They have been away since
Ludewig has attacked on a little climb. He's got a good gap - he's really strong
15:39 CET 153km/31km to go
The peloton is now 4'17 behind Ludewig, who could well be en route to a stage
win. He's on the descent now, just before the day's final climb, the Cat. 2
Col du Tanneron (5.7 km at 5.3%).
Gilbert and Hulsmans are still in between the break and the peloton.
15:40 CET 154km/30km to go
Ludewig has got the aero position happening as he exits the main road and goes
on a smaller road. He has 30 km left with a tailwind (and one climb).
15:41 CET 156km/28km to go
The CSC team is disinterested in chasing. One of the Cofidis riders gets on
the front to try to lift the tempo.
Ludewig is really flying along, resting his forearms on the tops of the handlebars
to get a little more aero. The rest of his breakaway companions are nowhere
CSC is lifting the tempo a little, but it's not a real chase speed yet.
15:45 CET 158km/26km to go
Ludewig is still on his way downhill as the bunch exits the main road, some
four minutes behind the German. Some riders miss the corner and have to go over
the gravel. Alexandre Vinokourov has moved up.
Ludewig starts the Tanneron with a 4'11 lead on the peloton.
15:47 CET 160km/24km to go
The rest of the seven man break is on the Tanneron now. Gilbert and Hulsmans
are 3'20 behind Gilbert, while the main peloton is at 4'00.
The rest of the break is still working well together, as they have a chance
of getting Ludewig (not much of one, admittedly).
CSC's Dave Zabriskie is driving the peloton at a steady pace. They cross the
bridge and are on the Tanneron now.
15:50 CET 161km/23km to go
Immediately, and predictably, one of the Saunier riders attacks. Kashechkin
counters and lifts the pace. No panic from Voigt, who is leading the bunch.
Kashechkin looks OK, but's not really getting away from Voigt.
The first break is 30 seconds behind Ludewig, then Gilbert and Gilbert at 3'15,
then the peloton at 3'55.
Posthuma and Dessel accelerate from the first chase group in pursuit of Ludewig.
Piepoli is now leading the peloton. They might swallow up Gilbert and Hulsmans
Back with Joerg Ludewig, who is getting cheered on by a thin crowd on the slopes
of the Col du Tanneron.
Gilbert and Hulsmans are caught by the bunch.
15:55 CET 162km/22km to go
Posthuma is catching Ludewig at a very fast rate. He looks back and sees he
has a nice gap. He makes the junction.
15:56 CET 164km/20km to go
It looks like Saunier's Joaquim Rodriguez is the main man attacking the peloton.
But CSC is not panicking.
Posthuma and Ludewig are nearly at the top of the climb now.
Cyril Dessel is third on the road, chasing the two leaders alone.
Vinokourov moves to the front of the peloton as Contador attacks, stringing
15:59 CET 165km/19km to go
Ludewig moves to the front to take the points on the climb, which will give
him 30 points for the day. Nope, it's Posthuma who gets them. Ludewig still
trails Moncoutié for the mountains jersey.
Voigt and Evans are now leading the peloton, Julich in third wheel. No-one is
able to attack, it seems.
16:01 CET 166km/18km to go
Jose Angel Gomez attacks , but Voigt just pedals a bit harder and he's caught.
Kirchen counters with 500m to the summit. Voigt continues to mark him. Kirchen
drives, but Voigt, Evans and Julich are all there. Gaps appear.
Kirchen leads them all the way to the top, but there's no mountain points. 2'37
is the gap.
16:02 CET 167km/17km to go
The situation on the descent: Joerg Ludewig (Domina Vacanze), Joost Posthuma
(Rabobank) are leading, with Cyril Dessel (Ag2r) chasing alone, then Thomas
Ziegler (Gerolsteiner), Bram Schmitz (T-Mobile), Marc Lotz (Quick.Step), then
Aaron Kemps and Fabien Sanchez (Francaise des Jeux). The peloton is at 2'29.
Posthuma tries to drop Ludewig on the descent, and gets a gap.
16:06 CET 170km/14km to go
The results of the Tanneron: 1 Joost Posthuma, 2 Jörg Ludewig, 3 Cyril Dessel,
4 Thomas Ziegler, 5 Bram Schmitz, 6 Marc Lotz, 7 Fabien Sanchez. Kemps returned
to the peloton.
Posthuma overcooks it on a corner. Oops! He is lucky and doesn't lose much time.
He's still alone, but Ludewig has made up ground.
Sanchez is caught by the peloton.
16:07 CET 172km/12km to go
Kirchen is leading the peloton on the descent, as Ludewig closes the gap to
Posthuma again. The pair are together as they reach the bottom.
16:09 CET 173km/11km to go
Ludewig can't quite close the gap to the Dutchman at the bottom! Posthuma doesn't
want to end up in a two man sprint with the German. He's hammering again. He
looks back and has a few seconds.
16:10 CET 174km/10km to go
It's a pursuit match on the flat. Posthuma keeps looking back - no point doing
that. He has to hammer all the way to the finish.
The peloton is still on the descent, led by Kirchen. It's unlikely they'll get
16:11 CET 174.5km/9.5km to go
The peloton is at 2'48. No chance of getting Posthuma, who is still alone with
9.5 km to go. Ludewig is about 50m behind him....
16:12 CET 9km/175km to go
In between the two leaders and the bunch, we still have Cyril Dessel (Ag2r),
Thomas Ziegler (Gerolsteiner), Bram Schmitz (T-Mobile), Marc Lotz (Quick.Step),
but no time gaps to them.
Ludewig is at 15 seconds. He's not coming back to the powerful Dutch rider.
16:12 CET 176km/8km to go
CSC is back on the front of the bunch, riding a steady tempo. No point in destroying
themselves today. Boonen is still in the bunch.
Posthuma is motoring along into Cannes, assisted by a tailwind. He has 8 km
left and Ludewig is dropping further behind. Bad luck, or bad timing by the
German, who looked very strong when he attacked.
16:15 CET 177.5km/6.5km to go
The race is between Posthuma and Ludewig. The Dutchman looks back and sees that
he has an unbeatable lead. 17 seconds.
16:16 CET 178.5km/5.5km to go
Schleck and Voigt are doing most of the work in front of the peloton. Quick.Step
is marshalling its men to help Boonen in the sprint.
Ludewig is suffering now...he was so close to Posthuma's back wheel at the bottom
of the descent.
16:17 CET 179.5km/4.5km to go
Joerg Ludewig is giving it everything, but he's going for second place. Posthuma
has the tongue out, driving along towards the coast line.
Ludewig is now at 35 seconds. It's over for him.
16:19 CET 181km/3km to go
Posthuma is now riding along the beach front, being encouraged by his team director.
"Nearly there!". He has a tailwind, which is nice for him.
Posthuma looks back yet again - there's no-one, except Ludewig about 500m behind.
16:20 CET 182.5km/1.5km to go
Posthuma is riding at over 60 km/h! It's a strong tailwind, but still - not
bad going after being in a break the whole day. He's nearly at the Flamme Rouge.
16:21 CET 183km/1km to go
Posthuma makes sure, looking back again as he motors along in his big gear.
The peloton is now at 3'45.
16:22 CET 184km/0km to go
Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) is the man of the day. He bridged up to Ludewig on
the Col du Tanneron and dropped him on the descent to win the sixth stage solo!
He celebrates from a long way out and is really happy. He cannot believe it!
Ludewig takes second at 1'10 - still a fine ride. Kemps (he was there!) takes
third in a two man sprint against Dessel. Then Ziegler leads out the sprint
for fifth, and gets it ahead of Schmitz and Lotz at 3'11. Finally, Boonen takes
the sprint for 8th ahead of Voigt, giving him a slight advantage over the German
in the points GC.
Bobby Julich keeps the yellow - no dangers today for the American, who will
go into tomorrow's tough stage with a 19 second gap over Constantino Zaballa
(Saunier Duval). Join us at 14:30 local time for live coverage of the final
stage of this year's Paris-Nice.
1 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank 4.41.24
2 Jorg Ludewig (Ger) Domina Vacanze 1.11
3 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Liberty Seguros-Würth 1.43
4 Cyril Dessel (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance
5 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) Gerolsteiner 3.11
6 Bram Schmitz (Ned) T-Mobile Team
7 Marc Lotz (Ned) Quick Step
8 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 4.02
9 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC
10 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
11 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone
General classification after stage 6
1 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 19.03.44
2 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.19
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 0.20
4 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 0.44
5 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros-Würth 0.45
6 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 0.55
7 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 0.58
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
9 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 1.12
10 Jose Angel Gomez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 1.20
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