63rd Paris-Nice - ProTour
France, March 6-13, 2005
Results & report
Stage 7 - Sunday, March 13: Nice - Nice, 135km
Commentary by Jeff Jones, with additional reporting from Hedwig Kröner and
Complete live report
Live coverage starts: 13:30 CET
Estimated finish time: 15:00 CET
Welcome once again to Cyclingnews for our live coverage of the 63rd Paris-Nice,
which finishes today with a rather scenic 135 km stage around Nice. It's not
quite as tough as the last few years which featured multiple ascents of the
Col d'Eze, but with three Cat. 1 and one Cat. 2 climb, it's by no means an easy
On the menu today are four climbs: Côte de Duranus (Cat. 2, km 25.5), Col de
la Porte (Cat. 1, km 52), La Turbie (Cat. 1, km 89.5), Col d'Eze (Cat. 1, km
119) and two intermediate sprints at Levens (km 15.5) and Nice (km 107).
The race lead remains with Bobby Julich (CSC), who is very confident about keeping
it, as he knows the climbs around here like the back of his hand, and he has
a very strong team to support him. Saunier Duval's Constantino Zaballa and Illes
Balears' Alejandro Valverde are both within 20 seconds on GC, but they'll have
their work cut out to pull that back.
13:44 CET 50km/85km to go
Today's stage started in beautiful sunny weather in Nice, with not much wind
blowing. It didn't take long for the first break to be established as seven
men took off in the first 10 km: Charly Wegelius (Liquigas-Bianchi), Oscar Pereiro
(Phonak), Alberto Contador (Liberty Seguros), Volodymir Gustov (Fassa Bortolo),
Egoi Martinez (Euskaltel), Rik Verbrugghe (Quick.Step) and David Moncoutié (Cofidis).
At km 35, they had 3'25 and Contador was the virtual race leader.
CSC has been chasing, and has the break pegged at under two minutes at the foot
of the Cat. 1 Col de la Porte. There is also one Phonak rider riding, which
is a little odd given that Pereiro is in the break. At the foot of the climb,
the seven men have 1'30 on Joaquim Rodriguez (Saunier Duval), 1'45 on Mario
Aerts (Lotto), 1'50 on Cyclingnews diarist Tom Danielson (Discovery), and 1'55
on the peloton.
A crash took out Ian McLeod (Française Des Jeux), who is on his way to hospital
for x-rays to his hip. Luciano Pagliarini (Liquigas) has also abandoned.
Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears) nearly missed the start today. At the depart
fictif we saw him as the last rider with a bit of a gap to make up to the
bunch. He did make it though.
We spoke to Jens Voigt (CSC), who has his eye on the sprinters jersey, currently
being worn by Tom Boonen, who has 9 points advantage over the German. "It's
always good to get some bonus points, make some money," said Voigt. "You never
know, maybe I can get the jersey so there'll be two of us on the podium. And
finishing second behind Boonen is not too bad in view of Milan-San Remo."
Moncoutié's presence in the break has all but confirmed his grip on the mountains
jersey. It was under threat from Joerg Ludewig (Domina), who came within 3 points
of taking it yesterday. "I'm only three points behind Moncoutié for the mountains
jersey. I hope to have good legs today to catch him," said Ludewig at the start.
But it doesn't look likely now.
Unfortunately, the German was suffering from gastroenteritis before yesterday's
stage. "I didn't want to risk drinking a lot of carbohydrated water. That's
why I got cramps." But he added, "I'd rather die in front than inherit nothing
13:52 CET 54km/81km to go
Moncoutié takes the points on top of the Col de la Porte, and he is unbeatable
for the mountains competition now. The seven leaders had 1'12 to Mario Aerts
(Lotto) at the top, and 1'45 to the peloton. Rodriguez and Danielson went back
to the bunch.
A little bit later on (and we hope before the stage finishes!), we'll be joined
by CSC director Scott Sunderland, who will be able to provide a little more
insight into what the team is doing.
14:02 CET 60km/75km to go
Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r) is on his own, chasing Aerts and the break of seven,
which is still together on the descent of the Col de la Porte.
Astarloza only has about 20 seconds on the peloton, which is being towed by
Dave Zabriskie and the CSC team. They only have to worry about two more climbs
Astarloza has been caught by the peloton.
14:07 CET 74km/61km to go
It's now Kurt-Asle Arvesen leading the peloton, and it looks as though CSC is
upping the pace a bit. In front, Contador only needs 2'25 to take the leader's
jersey. The gap between the break is still 1'55.
14:08 CET 75km/60km to go
The leaders are at the bottom of the descent now, with the Cat. 1 climb of La
Turbie to come. It's Zabriskie back on the front, followed by Arvesen.
Mario Aerts (yes he was there) is at 55 seconds. The bunch at 1'50.
14:11 CET 79km/56km to go
The leading seven: Charly Wegelius (Liquigas-Bianchi), Oscar Pereiro (Phonak),
Alberto Contador (Liberty Seguros), Volodymir Gustov (Fassas Bortolo), Egoi
Martinez (Euskaltel), Rik Verbrugghe (Quick.Step) and David Moncoutié (Cofidis).
Mario Aerts (Lotto) has done well to get within a minute. But the peloton is
now at 1'40 and closing. Julich looks extremely comfortable.
14:12 CET 80km/55km to go
La Turbie is 7.6 km at 4.8%. Then it's just the Col d'Eze, which is 7.8 km at
CSC has really stepped on the gas, even though it's only Zabriskie and Arvesen
14:14 CET 82km/53km to go
We also spoke to yesterday's winner Joost Posthuma (Rabobank), who was extremely
happy with his win yesterday. "I really wanted to get a ProTour point!" he said.
Unfortunately, stage wins in ProTour races are worth almost nothing (1 point
in normal ProTour races, 3 points in Grand Tours) compared to the overall GC
Aerts is within 45 seconds of the seven leaders - he's doing well!
But Aerts is not good enough to hold off the peloton...He is caught at the foot
of La Turbie. Now we're back to seven leaders. Zabriskie is burying himself
at the front.
14:18 CET 83km/52km to go
The peloton is really doing some damage to this break, and has it under 1'00
on La Turbie. Oscar Pereiro takes the lead, then Rik Verbrugghe. It's 40 seconds.
The average speed after two hours: 36.9 km/h. The second hour was ridden at
14:20 CET 84km/51km to go
The two Saunier riders, Rodriguez and Gomez, get to the front of the peloton
and lift the pace. Gomez gets a small gap, but CSC won't let him go. The break
is losing ground rapidly now.
14:21 CET 84km/51km to go
Rodriguez lifts the pace again, and again CSC come up beside him. Then Gomez
attacks. He's a good climber. They only have to worry about Zaballa though.
Gomez has a bit of a gap now and is hammering in pursuit of the break. He was
good on Mont Faron, so maybe he'll provide a springboard for Zaballa to go on
the next climb...if he can.
Gomez is within 20 seconds of the break, which has lifted its tempo courtesy
of Oscar Pereiro Sio (Phonak). The peloton is another 10 seconds behind Gomez.
14:26 CET 48km/87km to go
Voigt and Schleck are now left at the front to help Julich in the peloton. Three
Sauniers, plus Jaksche, are lurking behind.
Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo) is a fair way back in the peloton.
Pereiro has not left his position at the front of the break. But Gomez has lost
his lead, and is slowly coming back to the bunch. The break is back to about
Pereiro keeps driving the break, while behind it's Rodriguez stirring up the
peloton with Voigt, Schleck and Julich marking him. The gap to the break is
just 10 seconds.
The tempo eases in the peloton as Schleck takes over the pace making. Aitor
Osa (Illes Balears) attacks!
Andrey Kashechkin goes after Osa, who is now on the back of the break.
14:31 CET 89.5km/45.5km to go
Moncoutié takes over in the break, with the peloton now very close. He'll want
some more points for his mountains jersey. Why? Because he can.
14:33 CET 90km/45km to go
Moncoutié drives it all the way to the top, with Verbrugghe taking second, then
Pereiro, Martinez, Wegelius, Contador. Gustov has dropped off the break and
is replaced by Osa.
Voeckler is nearly off the back of the peloton, but is digging deep over the
top of the climb.
CSC director Scott Sunderland joins us now. Hello Scott!
Scott: Hello people. Just finished a late lunch and ready to get into
some commentating now. As the weather finally is improving, I took the opportunity
to go out for a ride with a few mates for a couple of hours this morning.
14:35 CET 92km/43km to go
The break is now 15 seconds in front of the peloton, which had almost caught
it at the top of the Turbie. Seven men (six of the originals + Osa) are in it.
CSC has an extra rider on the front of the peloton now.
14:37 CET 93km/42km to go
It's Nicki Sorensen on the front for CSC as the break starts to disintegrate
a little. They're on the descent at the moment.
14:38 CET 94km/41km to go
Pereiro drives the break on the descent, trying to keep that slender advantage
over the peloton. Then Egoi Martinez takes over, but not very hard.
Sorensen has hurting as he leads the bunch of about 50-60 riders. Peloton is
Pereiro is flying on the descent, leading all the way. He's very close to the
14:40 CET 96km/39km to go
The motorbike tries to get a bit of a lead over Pereiro. Spare a thought for
the cameramen, who typically stand up with the cameras on their shoulder on
these descents - hairpins and all! Their backs must be completely shot to pieces
by the time they're 50.
14:42 CET 97km/38km to go
Pereiro is really motoring, and has increased the gap to 20 seconds over the
peloton. Still three CSC riders plus Julich in front.
Scott: Everything looks to be very much in control. It's good to have
that break in the front to keep things in the peloton a bit calmer. Kurt Asle
Arvesen and David Zabriskie are doing work in the front. Frank Schleck and Jens
Voigt look particularly strong today. Nicky Sorensen has come back to the front
of the peloton now too.
Egoi Martinez is on the front of the break again, still not doing much. It seems
to be up to Pereiro to do all the work.
14:44 CET 100km/35km to go
The gap has grown to half a minute. No panic in the peloton, and no risks. Vinokourov
moves up, as does Landis. Voigt and Schleck have a bit of a discussion.
Pereiro has assumed the position again in front. Osa is sitting in last wheel.
Scott: This race was the first objective for the team this year; it being
the first ro-Tour race and also because the team won it last year. When I sat
down last year to talk about the team's program, Bjarne Riis immediately said
that this race was the first real goal for the team. It definitely has been
a bonus for us to be successful already in Qatar and the Tour du Med.
It has been a fantastic race for the team so far; Jens took the first Pro Tour
victory by winning the first stage. Touch wood now that Bobby will be on the
podium later today as the first winner of a Pro Tour stage race. The team has
worked very hard for this. We did the training camp in January before the season
started, and then another 12 day camp after the Tour du Med.
14:46 CET 102km/33km to go
Pereiro has stretched the break out as he nears the foot of the descent. They're
in the streets of Nice now. Wegelius takes over in front.
14:48 CET 102.5km/32.5km to go
It's 35 seconds back to the peloton, where Sorensen hasn't moved from first
Pereiro is doing his best to get away, but can't quite break the elastic on
14:49 CET 103km/32km to go
The rest of the break slowly comes back to Pereiro, who refuses to give up.
They're on the flats in Nice, with the peloton at 40 seconds.
14:50 CET 106km/29km to go
Verbrugghe takes a turn in front as the break makes its way along the waterfront
in Nice. That water looks good! 1 km until the second sprint.
14:52 CET 107km/28km to go
They're now racing along the Promenade des Anglais, where a fair sized crowd
is out to see the finish. Contador leads with one lap to go, Pereiro gets second
in the sprint, followed by Wegelius. Martinez, Verbrugghe, Osa and Moncoutié
are all there too.
Scott: The front group isn't working together that well. The attacking
is leaving gaps and they aren't making sure that they'll keep in the front this
way. They should be working together better to make the escape work.
If Simoni has the legs like the other day on Mont Faron, he can easily close
this 40 sec gap on the Col d'Eze.
The gap is 49 seconds to the peloton at the line. Interesting position - remember
how close the bunch was at the top of the last climb.
Kevin Hulsmans (Quick.Step) crashed early in the stage too, and has abandoned.
Fortunately, he hasn't broken anything and will be in action for Tom Boonen
at next week's Milan San Remo.
Scott: The weather is very different to what we saw a few days ago; when
the riders were still riding through the snow covered landscape. Yesterday we
already saw the palm trees waving along the promenade in Cannes; and today the
temperature is up too. This definitely is the race to the sun.
14:56 CET 110km/25km to go
The leaders navigate a narrow section en route to the Col d'Eze. They're working
a bit better now, and they'll need every second to hold off the peloton's attacks.
14:58 CET 112km/23km to go
Sorensen guides the bunch through the narrow section, pegging the gap to about
We spoke to Cadel Evans (Lotto) at the start today, and the Australian who was
second on Mont Faron was happy with his race. "It's a pretty good start to the
year. I wanted to test myself on Mont Faron and that's been ok. I'll try to
keep my placing on GC but basically at Paris-Nice I wanted to see how it was
going and it's been good so far. My goal was top 10.
"Today will be harder. Today it's going to be on."
Scott: The front group crosses the peloton as they each ride on one side
of the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. This is one of the beautiful spots along
the Cote D'Azur, with very expensive hotels offering great views on the Mediterranean
Contador takes the lead and goes hard at the foot of the Col d'Eze. Moncoutié
and Osa follow. The rest are gapped.
Sorensen leads the bunch up at 41 seconds as Erik Dekker attacks first!
15:00 CET 113km/22km to go
Dekker doesn't last long, but Sorensen is now gone. Vinokourov attacks!! Big
The break is disintegrating. Pereiro is caught.
15:01 CET 114km/21km to go
Contador is now solo, having dropped Moncoutié and Osa. Vinokourov is coming
though - he's no threat to GC, so CSC can let him go. He definitely wants to
win this stage again though!
Scott: I can see that the other classement teams are bringing their riders
to the front; ready to tackle the Col d'Eze. Brandt came through on the inside
and almost took out the whole CSC team!! I think they're getting nervous...
front group is splitting up. The peloton is still being lead by Nicki on the
col d'Eze. Dekker is launching an attack. The guys in front don't have much
more to hope for now...
Frank and Jens got to earn their money now; the attacks are on. They're keeping
their cool and riding a high tempo. They'll let Vino out there to swim a bit.
Valverde attacks next! But Voigt is right on his wheel.
Wegelius is caught.
The peloton is down to about 20 men, led by Jens Voigt. All the GC riders are
Contador is on his own, driving up the Col d'Eze.
Scott: Jens will keep a nice high tempo with Bobby comfortably in his
wheel and cover all the attacks; like he's just chasing Valverde now.
15:06 CET 115km/20km to go
Vino has made it up to Osa and Moncoutié, who are 13 seconds behind Contador.
The peloton is at 0'35. Looks like Martinez and Verbrugghe have been caught.
Valverde attacks again, hard. But Voigt and Julich are right on him. Voigt counters,
again just because he can. Vino, Moncoutié and Osa are caught. Just Contador
in front now.
Scott: Jens is looking bloody strong, just throwing a glance over his
shoulder now and again, to see how things are going. Think Bobby would be feeling
very safe having Jens looking after him like that.
Contador looks good too according to me.
15:07 CET 116km/19km to go
Julich, the man in the hot seat, looks great. He's in second wheel behind Voigt.
The 20 man peloton is now 45 seconds behind Contador, who is looking good for
the stage win...
Scott: Valverde is giving everything but Jens counters and goes straight
over him. Now that's psychological war-fare! Jens takes Vino back too. Julich
still very comfortable in Voigt's wheel.
Voigt has eased up a little bit, as Frank Schleck comes up to help out. Dekker
is last wheel in the peloton, along with Kirchen. They both have very similar
national champion's jerseys.
15:11 CET 117km/18km to go
It's now Osa and Valverde on the front of the peloton again, as Voigt and Schleck
consult hurriedly with each other. Jens talks on the batphone to his team.
But it's still Alberto Contador (Liberty) who is looking superb as he climbs
the Col d'Eze.
A Lampre rider attacks next, then one of the Discoverys goes over him and drops
Contador has a nice view over Nice now, as Valverde gets on the drops and tries
to shake Voigt. No chance.
Moncoutié is dropped.
15:12 CET 118km/17km to go
Evans is in about 6th wheel behind Pellizotti, Zaballa, Julich and Voigt.
15:13 CET 118km/17km to go
Scott: Bobby's O-Symmetric chain rings have caught the eye of the camera
man. Those chainwheels avoid the dead spot in the pedal stroke. Bobby's been
a fan of these since winning a stage in the tour of Pays Basque last year, where
he first used them.
Jens and Frank are still there looking after Bobby. Valverde must be thinking,
I can't go away by myself so we'll go for a bunch sprint and try my luck in
Contador still has 45 seconds as he nears the top of the Col d'Eze. Pellizotti
has about 5 seconds lead over the Voigt-led train, which has just about got
Bobby Julich over the top of the final obstacle.
15:14 CET 119km/16km to go
Contador crests the summit, suffering a little in the final 500m.
Pellizotti has 10 seconds now.
Scott: Kim Andersen and Bjarne Riis will be keeping an eye on that TV
they've got in the car! It's cool to have those as you can follow the whole
race closely and notice who's looking strong and who's not.
Pellizotti is coming back to the peloton again. It's Jaksche who's doing the
damage. Interesting, as he's got Contador in front.
Evans attacks right at the top with Valverde on his wheel. They get Pellizotti.
Dekker and Dekker are dropped at the top, as is Rubiera.
15:17 CET 121km/14km to go
The Evans attack goes nowhere, especially with Valverde there. Too dangerous.
Contador has 35 seconds of his lead.
Pellizotti took second on the climb, then Jaksche. Contador was first, of course.
Scott: Evans attacks with Valverde in his wheel. I don't see the reason
for that, as they're at the top of the climb.
The descent towards the finish line is a big wide road; so Contador will have
to work very hard on that!
15:19 CET 122km/13km to go
The gap is 27 seconds as Gomez and Pellizotti lead on the descent. Valverde
in third wheel. The bunch is about 15 strong.
15:20 CET 122km/13km to go
Vinokourov attacks now, but Voigt and Schleck are driving it behind him. He
doesn't get a big gap, but he still has it.
Contador is being careful on the descent.
Vino takes a nice line through the corners and keeps his gap. It's small.
Scott: The last climb of this Paris-Nice has been dealt with and it's
looking good for the CSC boys. There's only a group of about 15 riders left...
Vinokourov's trying again now; the first part of the descent is a bit dangerous
but very fast. The big straight road into the centre of Nice is screaming for
a nice bunch sprint.
15:22 CET 125km/10km to go
The main group has: Julich, Voigt, Evans, Pellizotti, Jaksche, Valverde, Zaballa,
Kirchen, Gomez and Popovych (and a couple of others) in it.
Vino is 25 seconds behind Contador, with the bunch at another 5 seconds.
Vino is really driving it on the descent, opening up a lead over the peloton.
Cana he get Contador though...
Ooohhhhh!!!!! Contador clips out of the pedal after his chain slips. That had
to hurt... Amazingly he doesn't come off. 17 seconds.
15:25 CET 127km/8km to go
That cost Contador a bit of time, but Vino is still not with him yet. He can
see the young Spaniard though. It's a very fast descent now.
Schleck is towing the bunch now with Julich also taking the lead for a bit.
They might want to get Voigt up for the win.
The Dekkers are back.
Vino has caught Contador!
15:27 CET 129km/6km to go
Vino and Contador are now leading with a 15 second gap to the Schleck led bunch.
Voigt's victory chances are slim, given that Valverde is also in the bunch.
The bunch is at 13 seconds.
Contador is not working. Vino is not happy.
Scott: Frank Schleck is pulling on the front now; for Jens that is now.
If Jens finishes in the first ten he'll take the points jersey.
Contador's foot came and of the pedal and he almost threw himself against the
wall. Bloody hell, that would give a serious adrenaline injection! Sure he'll
be washing his shorts tonight!
That points jersey will be a huge motivation for Jens today too. Him and Bobby
are good friends; room mates at the races and them both being on the podium
today would make the party complete.
Dekker is joining the back of the bunch. Valverde is getting ready.
15:30 CET 132km/3km to go
3 km to go and Vino/Contador have 16 seconds lead. But without Contador's help...it
Discovery has two men on the front now - Popovych and ?
15:30 CET 133km/2km to go
Scott: Vino and Contador have a small gap; it's going to be very close.
15:31 CET 134km/1km to go
The peloton is closing...10 seconds. Contador won't work. Three Discoverys chasing:
Beltran, Rubiera and Popovych. 1km to go.
Vino has led all the way to the finish. Contador is waiting, waiting... Vino
signals, but no. Contador knows he has to wait.
Dekker the Elder attacks the bunch!
15:33 CET 135km/0km to go
Vino continues to lead at a decent tempo, Contador is out of the saddle, then
at 300m to go they are caught. Contador should have done a turn earlier, but
there ya go.
And it's Valverde who wins the stage ahead of Pellizotti and Kirchen!! Julich
Scott: Valverde wasn't strong enough to do it in the climbs but he's
a very good all-round rider and showed his class in the sprint. Vino lost the
race by 30 metres by looking back too much.
Jens finished 6th today. He's got the points jersey! This has been a fantastic
week for team CSC. Bobby wins overall and Jens finishes a strong 4th, Frank
Schleck 7th! Normally the team's classification should be ours too. Bjarne has
had the guys working hard during the winter months, but they are reaping the
Valverde is another candidate for Milan-San Remo; this guy has got great abilities
on all fronts, a very strong climber but a good sprinter as well.
OK, that's all from us here at the Cyclingnews commentary box. Thank you to
Scott Sunderland for joining us today, and thanks to all our readers who have
followed the racing this week. It's been a great race, as it always is, and
a beautiful place to finish.
We'll be back for the classics!
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 3.28.28
2 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi
3 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo
4 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
5 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team
6 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC
7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth
8 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner
9 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank
10 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir
Final general classification
1 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 0.10
3 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.19
4 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 0.44
5 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros-Würth 0.45
6 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 0.49
7 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 0.58
8 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
9 Jose Angel Gomez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 1.20
10 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 1.21
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