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63rd Paris-Nice - ProTour
France, March 6-13, 2005
Prologue - Sunday, March 6: Issy-les-Moulineaux, 4km
Voigt flies to historic Paris-Nice prologue victory
Lance Armstrong starts 2005 season on cold note
By Tim Maloney, European Editor in Issy-les-Moulineaux
It was perhaps fitting that today's Paris-Nice prologue started in front of a frozen food store in the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux, as glacial temperatures and a strong northwest wind put a major chill on the first-ever UCI ProTour race. As Discovery Channel's Triki Beltran shivered near the start house today, his "Mucho frio" blurted out between chattering teeth summed up the conditions perfectly. But the sun was shining and the snow that had paralyzed the French capital just 48 hours previously didn't make a repeat appearance Sunday in Issy.
Despite the less than clement conditions for cycling, Bjarne Riis's Team CSC found a way to heat things up with a purely powerful performance that positioned them to once again dominate Paris-Nice as they did last year. This year, Riis played the card of 33 year old German Jens Voigt (Team CSC), who took the first ProTour event, beating '04 Tour De France prologue winner Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) by 2 seconds and finishing 3 seconds ahead of hard-charging Rabobanker Erik Dekker, who completed today's first ProTour podium.
Riis knew that the clearly in-form Voigt would be his go to guy, as the German won the Tour de Med last month in the south of France and notched his fifth win of the '05 season today. CSC also placed two other riders in the top 10 (Gussev 4th and Zabriskie 8th), six riders in the top 17 overall and were on 1st team GC as they dominated today's short time test.
A delighted Voigt said post-race that, "I'm very proud and also very happy about this victory. Our team has had a great year so far, and it's great to be able to continue in this way. We have been working extremely hard during the winter, and it's paying off now. I've won a very prestigious leader's jersey here in Paris-Nice, and I really hope we're able to hold on to it for the rest of the race. We have a very strong line-up, and I know I'll get all the support I could possibly want from my teammates."
As in 2004, Riis has prepared his team well with three training camps so far this season and today all the work paid off big time for Bjarne. "We've had a fantastic start to this race, and I was very impressed that all our riders did well in the prologue," explained Riis after the race today. . "Jens is flying at the moment, and of course this heightens our expectations for a big result. We've been training so hard ahead of Paris-Nice, and now we have once again shown that we have done our homework. We have a lot to be proud of at the moment, and I 'd like to take this opportunity to thank the whole team and all our employees for their efforts, which make it possible for us to achieve results like this."
Two time Paris-Nice winner Alex Vinokourov (T-Mobile) was 17th in today's prologue, just 0'07 behind Voigt, while last year's race winner for CSC Jörg Jaksche (Liberty Seguros) was 0'08 behind in 20th. And Six time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, riding his first race of the 2005 season, finished well down in the standings, 0'26 behind Voigt in what he had called "purely a preparation race" prior to today. Armstrong rode in leg and arm warmers and full fingered gloves on the freezing day to what he later half-jokingly called "probably the worst time trial of my life", finishing 140th, 0'27 behind Voigt. Pedaling well on a low gear aboard his training TT bike, fitted with an SRM powermeter, Armstrong explained after the Paris-Nice prologue that, "I'm not disappointed; I felt pretty good today and my position on the bike was good."
The six time Tour winner, riding his first Paris-Nice since 1999, just returned to Europe on Friday and is now, "100 percent ready to go to work...everyone knows my objective this year (Tour de France) so for now (at Paris-Nice) I'm just here to get used the rhythm of racing and build my strength."
Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team's sports director Johan Bruyneel didn't mince words when he told Cyclingnews after the Paris-Nice prologue that, "Well the result wasn't great today but at the same time we came to Paris-Nice knowing that (Discovery Channel team) wouldn't be the determining factor in the race. Sure, it's a bit disappointing but the prologue really doesn't mean a lot. It's 4km and was very cold and frankly, no-one on the team was super motivated today with this weather. Maybe it's a good thing that once in a while this kind of thing happens and that people on the team see that they still have work to do. That said, we won't ride the rest of Paris-Nice like this; I want to see a more motivated team."
Floyd Landis (Phonak) had his first outing today in his new team colours and after a warm winter in Southern California, the lean Landis was not happy with the cold conditions. "This is ridiculous!" he joked as he warmed up with a cold wind whipping around the Phonak bus. Landis beat his ex-boss Armstrong and finished a respectable 0'14 behind Voigt in 58th place. Post-prologue, Landis told Cyclingnews that, "I'm looking forward to getting down south where the weather is warmer and there is some climbing. That's what I came here for!"
How it unfolded
Starting in front of Issy-les-Moulineaux city hall, the 4km prologue climbs steeply up the through the Paris suburb to the halfway point, then plunges back down to finish on the Boulevard Garibaldi in front of Bouin Stadium. CSC's Bjarne Riis sent one of his best riders, youngster Vladimir Gussev off early (19th rider out of 168 starters) and the rapid Russian set the best time standard of 5'18. Rider after rider tried to best the CSC man and some, like his teammate and top American on the day, US time trial champ Dave Zabriskie, got close but no cigar until his teammate Jensy Voigt blasted across the line 126 riders and two hours later.
Voigt's superb 5'15.41", at an average speed of 45.71km/hr would clearly be hard to beat, but that didn't stop the last 23 riders from trying. Runner up Cancellara got the closest, 2.39 seconds behind Voigt, while a motivated Erik Dekker, third in last year's Paris-Nice, was three watch ticks behind the CSC man. Top French rider on the day was Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) in 4th, while two time Issy-les-Moulineaux prologue winner Nico Mattan of Davitamon-Lotto hurled himself across the finish line for 6th. Voigt held off World TT champ Mick Rogers (Quick Step) who ended up 10th, 0'06 behind. Jensy's his best friend and Team CSC roommate, American Bobby Julich, had a respectable ride for 17th, but Julich is also thinking ahead later this week to Saturday's tough, hilly Stage 6 of Paris-Nice across the hinterlands of the Haut-Var region near Cannes.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by AFP Photo
Images by Luc Claessen/cyclingnews.com/actiefotos.be
Images by Fotoreporter Sirotti
Images by Régis Garnier /www.velofotopro.fr.st
Images by Tim Maloney/cyclingnews.com
Images by Alain Quenderf
1 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 5.15 2 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo 0.02 3 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.03 4 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team CSC 5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 0.04 6 Nico Mattan (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth 8 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 0.05 9 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 0.06 10 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 11 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 12 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC 0.07 13 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française Des Jeux 14 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 15 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC 16 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 17 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 18 Didier Rous (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 0.08 19 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 20 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros-Würth 21 Dariusz Baranowski (Pol) Liberty Seguros-Würth 22 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Française Des Jeux 23 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto 24 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 25 Koen De Kort (Ned) Liberty Seguros-Würth 26 Mikel Astarloza (Spa) Ag2r Prevoyance 27 Vicente Reynes (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 0.09 28 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Fassa Bortolo 29 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) Française Des Jeux 30 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Davitamon-Lotto 31 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 0.10 32 Constantino Zaballa (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 33 Xabier Zandio (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 34 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 35 Igor Gonzalez Galdeano (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth 36 Rik Verbrugghe (Bel) Quick Step 37 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 0.11 38 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 39 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 40 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Fassa Bortolo 41 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 42 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole 43 Dario Cioni (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 44 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 45 Mario Aerts (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 0.12 46 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance 47 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 48 Frédéric Finot (Fra) Française Des Jeux 49 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Credit Agricole 50 Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile Team 51 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.13 52 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Davitamon-Lotto 53 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank 54 Luis Sanchez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth 55 Beat Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 56 Egoi Martinez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 57 Bram Tankink (Ned) Quick Step 0.14 58 Floyd Landis (USA) Phonak Hearing Systems 59 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Credit Agricole 60 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 61 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 62 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Credit Agricole 63 David Navas (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 64 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.15 65 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Phonak Hearing Systems 66 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 0.16 66 Ronny Scholz (Ger) Gerolsteiner 68 Evgeni Petrov (Rus) Lampre-Caffita 69 Axel Merckx (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 70 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 71 Robert Hunter (RSA) Phonak Hearing Systems 72 Marco Zanotti (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 0.17 73 Roy Sentjens (Ned) Rabobank 74 Bram Schmitz (Ned) T-Mobile Team 75 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 76 Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank 77 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Liberty Seguros-Würth 78 Antonio Tauler (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 79 Aitor Osa (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 80 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 0.18 81 Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Credit Agricole 82 Marc Lotz (Ned) Quick Step 83 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step 84 Dario Frigo (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 85 Iker Camano (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0.19 86 Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC 87 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 88 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 89 Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 90 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Domina Vacanze 91 Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Fassa Bortolo 92 Fabien Sanchez (Fra) Française Des Jeux 93 Luciano Pagliarini (Bra) Liquigas-Bianchi 94 Freddy Bichot (Fra) Française Des Jeux 95 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 0.20 96 Javier Ramirez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth 97 Matej Jurco (Svk) Domina Vacanze 98 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance 99 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance 0.21 100 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 101 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) T-Mobile Team 102 Luis Perez-Rodriguez (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 103 Victor Hugo Pena (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 104 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank 105 Stephane Goubert (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance 106 Torsten Hiekmann (Ger) T-Mobile Team 107 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick Step 108 Jose Angel Gomez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 109 Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 0.22 110 Patxi Xabie Vila Errandonea (Spa) Lampre-Caffita 111 Inigo Chaurreau (Spa) Ag2r Prevoyance 112 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank 113 Viatceslav Ekimov (Rus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 114 Mirko Celestino (Ita) Domina Vacanze 0.23 115 Marcel Strauss (Swi) Gerolsteiner 116 Sergio Ghisalberti (Ita) Domina Vacanze 117 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems 118 Unai Yus (Spa) Bouygues Telecom 119 Christophe Detilloux (Bel) Française Des Jeux 120 Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Fassa Bortolo 0.24 121 Gorka Verdugo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 122 Kjell Carlström (Fin) Liquigas-Bianchi 123 Charles Wegelius (GBr) Liquigas-Bianchi 124 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance 125 Cyril Dessel (Fra) Ag2r Prevoyance 126 Dmitriy Fofonov (Kaz) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 0.25 127 Daniele Righi (Ita) Lampre-Caffita 128 Inigo Cuesta (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 129 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank 130 Guido Trenti (USA) Quick Step 0.26 131 Mauro Facci (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 132 Nicolas Fritsch (Fra) Saunier Duval-Prodir 133 Aketza Pena (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 134 Daniel Becke (Ger) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 135 Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 136 Patrick Calcagni (Swi) Liquigas-Bianchi 137 Alessandro Cortinovis (Ita) Domina Vacanze 138 José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 139 Benoit Poilvet (Fra) Credit Agricole 140 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.27 141 Jorg Ludewig (Ger) Domina Vacanze 142 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Credit Agricole 143 David Loosli (Swi) Lampre-Caffita 0.28 144 Bingen Fernandez (Spa) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 145 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 146 Jonathan Gonzalez Rios (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 147 Manuel Beltran (Spa) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.29 148 André Korff (Ger) T-Mobile Team 149 José Azevedo (Por) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 0.30 150 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) T-Mobile Team 151 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Credit Agricole 152 Gorka Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 153 Alexandre Moos (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems 154 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Domina Vacanze 0.31 155 Georg Totschnig (Aut) Gerolsteiner 156 Andrea Moletta (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.32 157 Nicola Loda (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 158 Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 159 Ian Mcleod (RSA) Française Des Jeux 0.33 160 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 161 Fabian Jeker (Swi) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.34 162 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0.35 163 Gerrit Glomser (Aut) Lampre-Caffita 164 Alberto Lopez Munain (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 165 Rafael Nuritdinov (Uzb) Domina Vacanze 166 Marco Serpellini (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.37 167 Mikel Artetxe (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0.38 168 Serguei Yakovlev (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 0.42 Points 1 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC 25 pts 2 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo 22 3 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 20 4 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team CSC 18 5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit Par Telephone 16 6 Nico Mattan (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 15 7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth 14 8 David Zabriskie (USA) Team CSC 13 9 Oscar Pereiro Sio (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 12 10 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick Step 11 11 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 10 12 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC 9 13 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française Des Jeux 8 14 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 7 15 Nicki Sorensen (Den) Team CSC 6 16 Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) T-Mobile Team 5 17 Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC 4 18 Didier Rous (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 3 19 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 2 20 Jorg Jaksche (Ger) Liberty Seguros-Würth 1 Young rider 1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo 5.17 2 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team CSC 0.01 3 Alberto Contador (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth 0.02 4 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.04 5 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française Des Jeux 0.05 6 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Française Des Jeux 0.06 7 Koen De Kort (Ned) Liberty Seguros-Würth 8 Vicente Reynes (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 0.07 9 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) Française Des Jeux 10 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 0.09 11 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 12 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 13 Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 14 Johan Van Summeren (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto 0.10 15 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Credit Agricole 16 Joost Posthuma (Ned) Rabobank 0.11 17 Luis Sanchez (Spa) Liberty Seguros-Würth 18 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 0.12 19 Francisco Ventoso (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 20 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Credit Agricole 21 Thomas Ziegler (Ger) Gerolsteiner 0.13 22 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 0.14 23 Roy Sentjens (Ned) Rabobank 0.15 24 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Liberty Seguros-Würth 25 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Domina Vacanze 0.17 26 Fabien Sanchez (Fra) Française Des Jeux 27 Matej Jurco (Svk) Domina Vacanze 0.18 28 Torsten Hiekmann (Ger) T-Mobile Team 0.19 29 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Quick Step 30 Jose Angel Gomez (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir 31 Mauro Facci (Ita) Fassa Bortolo 0.24 32 Aketza Pena (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 33 Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 34 David Loosli (Swi) Lampre-Caffita 0.26 35 Jonathan Gonzalez Rios (Spa) Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 36 Ian Mcleod (RSA) Française Des Jeux 0.31 37 Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0.33 Teams 1 Team CSC 15.53 2 Liberty Seguros-Würth 0.12 3 Davitamon-Lotto 0.13 4 Rabobank 0.14 5 Fassa Bortolo 6 Francaise Des Jeux 0.16 7 Bouygues Telecom 0.18 8 Illes Balears-Caisse d'Epargne 0.22 9 Quick.Step 10 Cofidis Credit Par Telephone 11 Phonak Hearing Systems 0.27 12 Discovery Channel Team 13 Gerolsteiner 0.28 14 T-Mobile Team 15 Credit Agricole 0.29 16 Liquigas-Bianchi 0.30 17 Ag2R Prevoyance 0.32 18 Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.35 19 Lampre-Caffita 0.39 20 Euskaltel-Euskadi 0.48 21 Domina Vacanze 0.54