99th Paris-Tours - ProT
France, October 9, 2005
Start List Results
Commentary by Hedwig Kröner
Live coverage starts: 15:00 CEST
Estimated finish: 17:00 CEST
Welcome to Cyclingnews' Live
coverage from the second-to-last ProTour race this season, the autumn classic
Paris-Tours. It's a sunny 21° out there in Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines in Northern
France, where 192 riders started this morning at 11.00.
the start, the UCI doping commissaires controlled the blood of 39 participants
from the teams Française de Jeux, AG2R Prévoyance, Landbouwkrediet-Colnago,
MrBookmaker.com and RAGT Semences, and all of them were declared fit to start.
There were many attacks in the first
part of the race, but none of them got a significant lead of more than 20 seconds
or so until Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) and José Ivan Gutierrez (Illes Balears)
jumped away before the third intermediate sprint in Brou (km 84). The relentless
high pace of the bunch then eased down and the two riders had one minute over
the bunch only six kilometres later.
Meanwhile, Stéphane Berges
(Agritubel) had countered the move and joined the two leaders at kilometre 91.
Their advance increased rapidly as the bunch had stopped any initiative to chase
them altogether, giving the break a maximum lead of almost nine minutes at km
Thor Hushovd's Crédit Agricole teammates, as well as Robbie
McEwen's mates from Davitamon-Lotto were the ones to control the pace of the
peloton from then on, bringing the gap down to 4.30 fifty kilometres later.
Antton Luengo (Euskaltel) and Samuele
Marzoli (Lampre) abandoned earlier in the race, as well as Thomas Bruun (CSC),
Sebastian Lang (Gerolsteiner) and Daniele Nardello (T-Mobile), who climber into
their team cars half an hour ago.
15:19 CEST 184,5km/68.5km to go
The three front
men just passed the sprint in Montreuil-en-Touraine, with Gutierrez scoring
the points. The sprint points were introduced a couple of years ago to animate
the race, which has a tendency to finish in bunch sprints.
lead still amounts to 4 minutes as Davitamon's Aart Vierhouten is doing the
work for McEwen. ProTour jersey wearer Danilo di Luca is at the back of the
bunch, getting water bottles for Bäckstedt...
It's really a very beautiful day
today, the riders not needing to wear arm or leg warmers at all. It's Indian
summer in Europe alright, with the forest shining in all colours from green
to yellow and flashing red.
The lead has come down to 2.45 with more
than 60 kilometres to go. Better not catch them too soon!
15:27 CEST 193km/59.5km to go
Posthuma is leading
his two companions to the next sprint in Vilvent. The bunch is following at
2 minutes' distance.
Gutierrez is taking a sip out of
his bidon as spectators cheer them on. Bergès doesn't seem to take his turn
anymore - he's cooked.
They pass a bridge over the Loire river at
the foot of the beautiful Amboise castle. Places with history here in Northern
France... Crédit Agricole is heading the bunch for Hushovd and Kirsipuu.
Joost Posthuma got a little gap to
the front but his two companions caught him again. If he's got the legs, now
should be the time to go as the peloton is less than 2 minutes behind.
MrBookmaker.com, who will be called Unibet.com, are leading the bunch now over
the Côte de la Pagode du Chanteloup.
15:39 CEST 200km/52.5km to go
Quick.Step is also
represented at the front of the bunch, which is only 1.23 minutes behind the
leaders now. Posthuma doesn't look like he still believes in this break, and
Gutierrez hands him a water bottle that he got from the neutral car, smiling
- they know they don't stand a chance.
Di Luca is again riding next to his
team car, talking to his DS. Now he stops at the roadside, stretching his leg.
That's it for the winner of the ProTour - a 200 kilometre training ride is enough.
15:44 CEST 204km/48.5km to go
The break rolls
through St-Martin-le-Beau, with the pack on its wheels at 40 seconds. The finale
of the race sure promises to be interesting...
Two Davitamon riders are back at
the front of the peloton, as Bergès has stopped his effort, dropping back already.
The bunch is riding very fast, over 50 km/h constantly, and will catch the remaining
two in a moment.
Posthuma and Gutierrez get swallowed
by the bunch this every moment. Now it's all about holding on to that pace!
15:54 CEST 212.5km/40km to go
The bunch is stretched
out now, partly because the road is narrow, partly because everybody wants to
be in front.
"I hope that with a good cooperation with the other
sprinter's teams it will come down to a bunch sprint," Robbie McEwen told reporters
this morning at the start. It looks like this is happening, because even MrBookmaker.com
joins in to hold a high pace.
Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2r) crashed earlier
on, and has his knicks ripped. The wound doesn't look to bad though, and he's
getting bottles from his team car now.
All is looking good at the moment
for a bunch sprint: the peloton is together, stretched out, Davitamon is still
leading and there's a headwind blowing, "slowing" them down to 37 km/h.
Nicolas Vogondy (C.A.) takes over now.
16:06 CEST 220.5km/32km to go
But a little up
and down before the final almost three kilometres long Avenue de Grammont should
shake up the face of this race still. Especially since there is a little loop
to ride just before Tours, where the headwind will become a treacherous sidewind.
Kurt-Asle Arvesen (CSC) just had
a flat but is chasing back from his team car now. Still 30 km to go.
16:12 CEST 225.5km/27km to go
are giving it all in front of the bunch - that is impressive. The race is getting
faster and faster it seems, even if the road is a little dangerous with many
roundabouts and small hills...
Stijn Devolder (Discovery) now attacks
in one of these hills, with a Davitamon rider behind.
16:14 CEST 227.5km/25km to go
Several small groups
are a few hundred metres in front of the bunch, with Philippe Gilbert (FdJ)
and Devolder ahead.
T-Mobile has joined the chasing now,
with the two riders only 15 seconds away. But the two Belgians are riding hard,
believing in their chances with a little more than 20 clicks to go. Both have
big motors, that's for sure. And Gilbert will want to make up for his missed
16:20 CEST 232.5km/20km to go
Illes Balears has
also engaged in the chase, as the two riders have already more than 40 seconds
now. Very impressive move! The two rode together at the World's and brought
Boonen to his victory, so they must get on well!
Three Illes Balears riders are now
sacrificing themselves for Valverde, as the other teams hesitated. Gilbert and
Devolder take strong turns, hammering at 50 km/h with a slight backwind.
They've got a minute now.
16:27 CEST 237.5km/15km to go
the right turn in a curve before a roundabout, and had to chase back to Devolder.
That will cost them a few seconds, but not more.
The bunch is still
led by Illes Balears and Davitamon.
They're pacing through harvested
fields now on narrow roads, with a rider from Quick.Step in the wind fro Weylandt:
48 seconds yet to take back from the two Belgians.
The gap is coming down, but slowly.
Everybody is flat out to achieve their goal, grinding teeth.
takes his turn now, looking just a little bit weaker than Gilbert. Several riders
are getting dropped or barely holding on to the back of the bunch.
16:36 CEST 242.5km/10km to go
On the Côte de
l'Epan, Gilbert dropped Devolder a little while he was in front, but Devolder
came back to him.
This hill made the peloton explode into pieces.
A counter-attack is off with Matti Breschel (CSC) and Karsten Kroon (Rabobank).
16:39 CEST 247.5km/5km to go
crashed at the back of the bunch, with Scanlon (Ag2r) and a Bouygues rider.
With 5 k to go, the two leaders still
have 28 seconds. Devolder is cooked, and can't take any turn anymore.
Kroon and Breschel didn't make it.
16:42 CEST 248.5km/4km to go
counter-attacked, while Gilbert and Devolder talk. A small group has formed
16:43 CEST 249.5km/3km to go
Gilbert and Devolder
are almost at the avenue de Grammont now, still talking. They have 20 seconds
16:43 CEST 250.5km/2km to go
The two leaders
should make it, but should stop talking !!
Coming back is still possible for
the bunch, but it'll have to go 5 km/h faster - and Gilbert is in front under
the flamme rouge!
They're being caught though in the
last hundred metres.... so tight!!
And Zabel is there and wins this
thing!!! What a messy finish!
Bennati takes second, Davis third
with McEwen fourth.
With a fairly international arm movement,
Gilbert expressed his point of view to Devolder with 200 m to go, as Devolder
only sucked his wheel in the last kilometres. T-Mobile didn't work all day but
Zabel took his last victory for the German squad - and his third in Paris-Tours.
Zabel picked the right side to go on. McEwen went on the other side, and the
German came off Bennati's wheel with about 60m to go - beautiful.
With a view of the podium, where
Zabel and Bennati hug, we will be back for the last ProTour race, the Giro di
Lombardia. Until then, have a good one!
1 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile
2 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Lampre - Caffita
3 Allan Davis (Aus) Liberty Seguros-Würth Team
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
5 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
6 Aurélien Clerc (Swi) Phonak Hearing Systems
7 Julian Dean (NZl) Crédit Agricole
8 René Haselbacher (Aut) Gerolsteiner
9 Uros Murn (Slo) Phonak Hearing Systems
10 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Liquigas - Bianchi
1 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas-Bianchi 229 pts
2 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step 171
3 Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team 140
4 Lance Armstrong (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 139