63rd Paris-Nice - ProTour
France, March 6-13, 2005
Main Page Results
& report Stage
Prologue - Sunday, March 6: Issy-les-Moulineaux, 4km
Complete live report
Welcome to Cyclingnews for our live coverage of the 63rd Paris-Nice,
which unlike many other races with "Paris" in their names, actually does start
somewhere near the French capital. Issy-les-Moulineaux is a medium sized town
(pop. 63,000) on the outskirts of Paris and is a strong centre for communications
and internet technology. It is also the siège of the Amaury Sport Organisation
(ASO), the organisers of Paris-Nice and numerous other big races, including
the Tour de France.
Paris-Nice and ASO are also playing host to the start of the UCI's new ProTour,
which is at the core of president Hein Verbruggen's cycling reform, something
that he hopes will improve the standard of professional cycling as it progresses
through the 21st century. The irony is that ASO and the UCI have been at loggerheads
with each other since the ProTour was first announced. But at the moment, ASO
has been forced to back down from its anti-ProTour stance in order to honour
its agreements with the teams, most of which are in favour of the ProTour.
Today's Paris-Nice/ProTour opener is a 4 km prologue time trial around Issy-les-Moulineaux,
and it's by no means a simple one. Starting at the Hotel de Ville, it climbs
sharply at the start before leveling out at the 2 km mark. Then it's a steady
descent back to the finish, just past the Halle des Sports. It's tough and technical,
and we should see the GC riders come to the fore today, even though it's only
Today's race also marks the return of Lance Armstrong to Europe after winning
his 6th Tour de France mid-last year. Armstrong, riding for the new Discovery
Channel team, has been given the honour of wearing the first ProTour leader's
jersey, which looks remarkably similar to his team kit. Armstrong is a supporter
of the ProTour and said at last night's reception, "The ProTour will enable
cycling to present a more unified front and that will elevate cycling on a global
We'll see how Armstrong goes today. He hasn't raced Paris-Nice since 1999, when
he finished 61st at 48 minutes down. But later on that year, he went on to win
the Tour de France, for the first of six times...
The weather today is decidedly chilly, even though the sun is out. It's zero
degrees (or under) and there's a fairly brisk and very cold north wind blowing,
which will assist the riders near the start and be in their faces on the way
home. Fortunately the roads are quite dry and there was never any doubt that
the race would go ahead, unlike some parts of Belgium and The Netherlands this
weekend, where there was no professional racing at all.
Currently, Vladimir Gussev (CSC) has the fastest time in the prologue with 5'18.
In second place at two seconds is his teammate David Zabriskie, while Davide
Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) sits in third at 5 seconds.
Rik Verbrugghe (Quick.Step), winner of the GP Lugano last week, has set off.
He is followed by Paolo Savoldelli (Discovery), wearing full long knicks.
Mario Aerts (Lotto) comes home with a 5'27, the same as his teammate Johan Vansummeren.
Savoldelli hammers up the climb, clunking through the gears as it gets steeper.
Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero (Phonak) is on his way down to the finish now.
Savoldelli passes the 1 km mark and gets on his aero bars. It's still uphill,
but not quite as steep now. There are spectators all along the course, although
not in droves. Plenty of snow patches on the footpaths too!
Next off is Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC), who looks keen.
Perdiguero is not good enough to beat Gussev and finishes in 5'34, 31st so far.
Savoldelli is now on the descent, just as Verbrugghe comes into finish. The
Belgian finishes in a nice time of 5'25.96 for 8th best.
Sav takes a corner fairly gingerly, then punches out of it for the last 500m.
His time is a reasonable one - 5'26 for 9th.
Ag2r's Iñigo Chaurreau is next off the ramp, looking slightly chilled.
Roy "I'm Belgian, dammit!" Sentjens finishes in 5'30, just inside the top 30.
Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) is now on his way.
Here comes Arvesen, with an excellent 5'22 - giving him third place and CSC
the top three at the moment.
Beat Zberg (Gerolsteiner) finds the finishing straight a bit too long and ends
up with 5'28.
Wow, look at this! Alberto Contador, one of Liberty's main men, comes storming
home in 5'19. Almost good enough to knock Gussev off.
Chaurreau finishes in a fairly sluggish 5'37, which puts him in 52nd. Laurent
Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom) sets off.
Gorka Gonzalez (Euskaltel) is next off. He looks very nervous.
The top five so far:
1 Vladimir Gussev (Rus) CSC 5.18
2 Alberto Contador (Spa) Liberty 0.01
3 David Zabriskie (USA) CSC 0.02
4 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) CSC 0.04
5 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.05
Cofidis sprinter Jimmy Casper sets off at a fairly relaxed pace. This sort of
stage is not really his cup of tea.
Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo) makes a nervous start. He's a past winner of Paris-Nice
(2001). He hammers up the first part of the climb out of the saddle.
Leon van Bon (Lotto) drives it home in a time of 5'24.93, which puts him in
Casper is on his way back down the hill, not really putting pedal to the metal,
so to speak. He finishes with a sprint in a decent enough time of 5'34.
Frigo is not much quicker than Casper, finishing in 5'33. Doesn't look like
it's going to be his Paris-Nice this year.
Nicki Sorensen (CSC) is next off. He has been going strongly this year.
Ronny Scholz (Gerolsteiner), riding what looks to be a Walser TT bike, is next
off the ramp. He is followed by young Aussie Aaron Kemps (Liberty), who looks
very pumped up.
Mikel Astarloza (Ag2r) is next off, after performing suitable facial warming
up actions on the start ramp. He nearly overcooks it on the first bend.
Patrick Calcagni (Liquigas) gets set now. He is easy to spot, in his green/celeste/blue
Jörg Ludewig (Domina Vacanze) in the bright orange/red colours, is next off.
Sorensen finishes in a nice time of 5'22, for fifth. Four CSCs in the top five!
Salvatore Commesso (Lampre) sets off and does himself an injury as his gear/pedal
slips. He gets going again, albeit a bit more delicately.
Astarloza comes in with a time of 5'23.89, for eighth place. Not bad at all.
Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom) is now off. He told
Cyclingnews that he would love to finish in the top 10 or 15 in Paris-Nice.
Pineau is riding well as he crests the top of the first part of the climb, now
on the aero bars.
Commesso is in with a somewhat painful 5'37.
Pineau has got the big gear going now on the downhill part of the course.
Pineau takes the U-turn halfway down the descent, and is in the final kilometre.
Pineau takes the last sharp right hander, then an easy one into the straight.
His time is 5'26.16, for 14th so far.
Victor Peña, in his new Phonak colours, is now on his way.
Cadel Evans (Lotto) starts off well with a time of 5'23.75, which will put him
Yaroslav Popovych (Discovery) is next off. He is flying up the first climb,
obviously serious about this race.
Jimmy Engoulvent (Cofidis) drives it home in 5'23.80, for 8th fastest.
Oscar Sevilla, now in T-Mobile magenta, is next off.
Juan Antonio Flecha (Fassa Bortolo) finishes off with 5'24, just outside the
Carlos Sastre, another one of the CSC armada, is next to go.
Georg Totschnig (Gerolsteiner) sets off for his ride. Sastre is at the top of
the first part of the climb.
Popovych comes home in a decent time of 5'26.97, just outside the top 20.
JP Nazon (Ag2r), who was in doubt due to sickness, is now on his way. Meanwhile,
Oscar Sevilla is inside the final kilometre, looking good.
Franco Pellizotti, one of the great white hopes for Liquigas, is on his way
and tackling the first climb. It's not easy.
Sevilla chucks it in a big gear for the finish and ends up with 5'45, one of
the slowest times to date.
Pellizotti is out of the saddle for a long way. Now he's at the top, pedaling
in the 53x15 it looks like.
Here comes Sastre, finishing in 5'34, which is probably the slowest of his team.
Darius Baranowski (Liberty) will be five seconds slower than Gussev in 5'23.53,
which puts him in 7th.
Pellizotti is in the final kilometre, giving it full gas now but clearly struggling
a bit with the wind and the cold. He finishes in 5'25.68, just in the top 20
Didier Rous (Bouygues Telecom) leaves the ramp.
Rous is suffering a bit on the climb, but is now over the top and on his way
Axel Merckx (Davitamon-Lotto) is now on the ramp. Let's see what he can do.
He gets a big cheer as he leaves with a determined look on his face.
Thomas Lövkvist (Francaise des Jeux) is in now with a good time of 5'23.67,
which will put him in eighth. Still Gussev, Contador and Zabriskie have the
top three times.
Didier Rous finishes in the low 5'23s, 6th best. Kim Kirchen (Fassa) is now
on his way, dressed in full length gear. Most riders are bare legged today,
despite the zero degree temperatures.
Oscar Pereiro (Phonak) looks cold and nervous on the start ramp. Really cold
in fact. He's on his way.
Constantino Zaballa (Saunier) finishes in 5'25.40, for 19th.
Tom Boonen (Quick.Step) doesn't mind the cold too much, but will probably find
today's course a bit too tough. We'll see.
Merckx finishes in 5'31. Boonen sprints for the first part of the climb, as
everyone else has been doing. He's in a big gear as he reaches the first kilometre.
The ambitious Thomas Dekker (Rabobank) has now started. He would love a top
10 today. He's in a big gear up the first climb, staying in the saddle.
One of the favourites, Jens Voigt (CSC) is now about to leave. He looks very
focused as he burst out of the start ramp.
Oscar Pereiro finishes in 5'21 for the fourth best time.
Boonen is now in the final straight, and comes home in 5'29 for 45th place.
Voigt is motoring along the top of the climb. It's still uphill here, but he's
flying in a big gear.
Voigt's disc wheel is making an ominous sound as it is thrashed to death by
his enormous legs.
Here comes Thomas Dekker with an excellent time - 5'21.92 for fifth.
Voigt is now at full gas on the descent, taking a very tight roundabout just
before a corner into the final kilometre.
Voigt motors up the finishing straight, round the final right hander with an
awesome time of 5'15.41. New best time!
Gibo Simoni (Lampre) is now off, but this type of short course is probably not
his forte. The climb should help him a bit.
Simoni suffers a bit on the first climb as Brad Wiggins (Credit Agricole) sets
off for his ride. Wiggins is a 4 km specialist, but does he like hills? We'll
see soon enough.
Another favourite, Philippe Gilbert (Francaise des Jeux) is ready to roll. He's
been in excellent form this year with two wins.
Some readers have asked what sort of clothing are the riders wearing. Most are
in shorts, with long sleeved skinsuits and fill length gloves and shoe covers.
A few riders are opting for the full length long skinsuit.
Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) sets off to a huge cheer. He is another man
in decent shape.
Gilbert doesn't have any gloves. He is serious!
Gilbert has got a good rhythm going as his team director screams at him in hoarse
French. Better than coarse French.
Gilbert is now on the way down. Gibo Simoni finishes in a time of 5'36.05, which
will put him in 85th.
Nico Mattan (Lotto), another prologue specialist, is next off. He's won the
prologue in Paris-Nice a few times.
Another favourite, Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears) sets off. Time trialling
is his weakness, but he can do everything else.
Gilbert finishes in 5'22.33 for 8th.
Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) is next off, sporting a large silver chain around
Voeckler has had a good ride to finish in 5'22.35. 9th.
We're well into the favourites now. Fabian Cancellara, in his Swiss TT Champ's
skinsuit, is on his way. He won the prologue of the Tour de France last year.
Floyd Landis (Phonak) is now on his way.
Valverde is at the top of the first bit of the climb.
World TT Champ Mick Rogers (Quick.Step) is next to go after Landis. He's in
his rainbow skinsuit, naturally.
Mattan finishes in a very nice time of 5'19.50 for third.
Aha, here's the Boss. Lance Armstrong (Discovery) sets off in full longs, wearing
the Discovery Channel kit. Or is that the ProTour jersey? Hard to tell...
Valverde is home in 5'26.72 for 34th.
Next off is Erik Dekker (Rabobank) who has been a bit sick this year.
Chavanel finishes in an excellent 5'19.12, for third.
Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile) is now on his way. He's a past winner of Paris-Nice
(twice) and won three stages last year.
Cancellara does a 5'17.80 for second best.
Bobby Julich (CSC) is next off the ramp. Can he beat Voigt? Hmm...
Armstrong is into his rhythm as he tackles the second half of the course. He
doesn't look to be going flat out, but we'll see at the end.
Vino is pedaling an enormous gear.
Vino is very aero as he gets to the top of the climb.
Marcel Strauss (Gerolsteiner) is the second last rider off.
Rogers ends in 5'21.89 for 9th.
Vino looks extremely smooth as Jörg Jaksche (Liberty), last year's winner, is
on his way. Can he repeat? Liberty wants to win this race.
Armstrong is pretty slow, as expected. He finishes in 5'42 for 135th.
Dekker is somewhat faster. Nice time of 5'18.07 for third!
Vino is into the final 500m now. Still looking smooth and strong as he pedals
a biggish gear. He takes the final corner and sprints home in 5'22.91 for 16th.
Jaksche is the last rider on the course, and is on the downhill now. He's not
really flying though.
Julich ends in 5'22.95 for 17th.
Most (all?) riders are on TT bikes today, by the way.
Jaksche flies into the final kilometre, and has put a bit of time into Strauss.
The Gerolsteiner rider finishes in 5'38 (114th), then Jaksche comes up behind
him in 5'23.40 for 20th. He's disappointed.
Jens Voigt (CSC) wins the prologue! Second, Fabian Cancellara (Fassa), followed
by a very impressive Erik Dekker (Rabobank).
That's it from today's very chilly prologue in Issy-les-Moulineaux. More live
action from 14:30 tomorrow form the first stage between Etampes to Chabris.
1 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC 5.15
2 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Fassa Bortolo 0.02
3 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank 0.03
4 Vladimir Gussev (Rus) CSC
5 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis 0.04
6 Nico Mattan (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto
7 Alberto Contador (Spa) Liberty Seguros
8 David Zabriskie (USA) CSC 0.05
9 Oscar Pereiro (Spa) Phonak 0.06
10 Michael Rogers (Aus) Quick.Step
11 Thomas Dekker (Ned) Rabobank
12 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) CSC 0.07
13 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Francaise des Jeux
14 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
Back to top