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67th Paris-Nice - HIS
France, March 8-15, 2009
Stage 7 - March 14: Manosque - Fayence, 191km
Complete live report
Live commentary by Bjorn Haake
Hello and welcome back to Cyclingnews' live coverage from what will be another exciting day in Paris-Nice. How do we know? Take a stage that is over 180 kilometres long and add nine mountain tops and you know you are in for a good day – if you are watching/reading the stage....
13:58 CET 121km/70km to go
14:00 CET Contador is happy in yellow - he eats - fittingly - a yellow banana and is all smiles doing so. Yesterday he said the day was tougher than he expected, but he did make the most of it...
The climbs today are:
14:03 CET The biggest news of the day is that Samuel Sánchez has abandoned the race. The Euskaltel-Euskadi rider was seventh overall, 2:14 back. We don't know the reasons yet why he had to leave the race.
14:04 CET It is another sunny day in France as the road is reflecting in Contador's shades. The bunch is going up right, over a wide road with switchbacks. The pace is brisk.
14:11 CET Results of the first climbs and intermediate sprints of the day:
14:13 CET One rider is lurking near the front and looking around to see what is going on. Don't be surprised if he attacks again today - if you are called Jens Voigt you have to live up to your name.
14:14 CET 129.5km/61.5km to go
14:16 CET Isasi quickly gets a good hundred metres. We assume he wants to get some training in, which is hard to do in the bunch. Or he could have joined the break - they will get their workout today. At the moment they go down at breakneck speed, into Bargemon
The result from the last climb:
14:19 CET 133km/58km to go
14:20 CET The descent into Bargemon is quite interesting, with the switch backs very tight on the steep hill. The peloton now has also made it into the village. The gap has actually increased to three minutes
14:22 CET The break takes quick pulls, not more than five to ten seconds. They switch in a counter-clock wise rotation. It looks very smooth.
14:24 CET 136km/55km to go
14:26 CET Jeremy Hunt (Cervélo TestTeam) is near the back. That's OK, he can relax. He will be needed in the fight for the green jersey, which virtually is back on Haussler' shoulders. He has now two points advantage over Lorenzetto.
14:26 CET The break is already on the next climb, the Col de Saint-Arnoux. There aren't many flats parts in-between.
14:28 CET Another Euskaltel rider goes off the front. We don't know if Isasi is back in the bunch, or if there is some kind of Saturday Euskaltel training ride scheduled. However, Astana doesn't think the oranginas need any more training and quickly pull the Euskaltel attack back.
14:28 CET 138km/53km to go
14:29 CET Maxime Bouet (Agritubel) lifts his hand, he wants some drink from his team car or maybe advice? The riders still pull through nice and smoothly, without an indication they will sprint for the points.
14:30 CET Horrach leads, but looks over his shoulder for some help. Less than 500m to the top.
14:31 CET 140km/51km to go
14:32 CET The peloton is in a mountainous and forested area today. It is quite pretty, but the bunch doesn't see much. They do, however, see the 500m to go to the top sign.
There is a bit of urgency in the peloton, as Hunt and a Cervélo TestTeam teammate hang off the back a bit.
14:36 CET 144km/47km to go
14:37 CET Isasi still seems to be out training, apparently some 50 secs behind the break. He wishes Saturday would be motorpace training day, but today he will have to do it by himself.
We have heard the reasons from the Euskaltel team why Sammy Sánchez has abandoned. He suffered from a hit to his knee in stage 2, and yesterday's efforts in the queen stage have made things worse, so he decided to play it safe.
14:40 CET The break reaches Seillans. Bad place for Haussler, who flats
14:40 CET He rolls along and keeps checking for his team car. It is nowhere to be seen...
There it is, finally. The mechanic quickly replaces the back wheel and pushes Haussler off. He doesn't panic, as he he should get back easily.
14:43 CET Augé rolls over the sprint line ahead of Kreuziger
14:44 CET 150.5km/40.5km to go
14:44 CET Riblon was the third guy over the line, just ahead of Pichot.
14:46 CET Velits attacks the front group in the beautiful town of Fayence. It is on top of a hill, with old houses and stone walls
14:46 CET Velits passes the flamme rouge. Hopefully he knows that there are some 39 more km before this flag counts as a flamme rouge, indicating the last kilometre of the race.
14:47 CET 152km/39km to go
14:47 CET The break is about 16 secs back
Velits passes a house still in construction. That wouldn't count as an old house...
14:51 CET Velits pushes hard on those pedals, grabbing the bar on the top of the brake levers and leaning his upper body over his top bar. He has around 20 secs still.
14:53 CET 154km/37km to go
Velits is heading up the Col de Bourigaille, a category one climb
14:56 CET 156km/35km to go
A group of about 12-14 riders is slightly ahead, led by Pereiro.
14:58 CET Moreau is there as well as Evans and Chavanel. Moncoutié, Van den Broeck are also there
14:59 CET Eight riders ahead of the peloton now. Contador, Schleck and Voigt. Pereiro and LL Sánchez
15:00 CET They are still a minute behind Velits. The eight catch Flecha
15:00 CET Chavanel is also still there
15:00 CET Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux) is also in the group.
15:01 CET Evans is working in the group behind, trying to get back
15:02 CET Colom and Seeldraeyers are also there in the group of nine. Velits is still ahead
15:03 CET 159km/32km to go
15:03 CET Colom attacks!!
The Katusha rider goes right when Kreuziger and Kroon are caught.
15:04 CET Contador/Colom is 34 secs behind Velits and 20 secs ahead of Evans. Quite a flurry if activity here
Kroon is back in the Evans group.
15:05 CET 159km/32km to go
15:05 CET Colom attacks again!
15:06 CET He is quite a aggressive, but his compatriot Contador immediately joins him
15:06 CET Vande Velde has taken over some work from Evans in the chase group
15:07 CET 161km/30km to go
15:08 CET Schleck is dropped, as Velits hangs on to Contador.
15:08 CET Colom goes AGAIN!!
The attack of Colom didn't put LL Sánchez and Contador in trouble, but Velits.
So we have a group of three, with Contador, LL Sánchez and Colom leading the race, with 28km to go.
15:11 CET Contador checks out Sánchez's bike from behind. What does he think of his gearing?
Chavanel is together with Garcia Lopez and Kreuziger, slightly ahead of the Evans group
15:12 CET Schleck has dropped Velits, but his teammate Voigt is there to help!
15:13 CET Just after Schleck goes over the top, Voigt joins the Luxemburger and immediately takes a pull.
15:14 CET Sánchez was first over the top, ahead of Contador and Colom. But is now in the descent when Sánchez attacks!
15:14 CET 166km/25km to go
Schleck and Voigt share the work well on the descent, well they are teammates after all.
15:17 CET The descent is narrow - good thing that the roads are dry!
The riders have hit the bottom of the descent.
15:18 CET Chavanel has done a very good descent, he has caught up with the Saxo Bank pair.
15:19 CET 171km/20km to go
15:20 CET Ohh, that looks hairy. The turns are tight, Voigt gets dragged out in left-hand bend all the way to the stone wall.
15:21 CET The second trio is 13 secs behind the first three now. This is sort of a three-man team time trial with two teams. One Spanish team and one German-Luxembourg-French mixed team...
15:22 CET Nope, Colom doesn't believe in time trialing - he attacks once again.
15:22 CET 173km/18km to go
As they join, Colom - who else - goes again!
Sánchez tries to close the gap and this time Contador attacks.
15:25 CET Sánchez attacks! That is quite amazing, they don't hold anything back
15:26 CET Contador digs deep to close the gap. The others hang on to the yellow jersey, they have a gap of 50m to LL Sánchez
15:26 CET 175km/16km to go
The riders go through a forest - well the left side of the road is half clear cut
15:29 CET 178km/13km to go
Sánchez looks back over his right shoulder as he hugs the left curb. His lead increases!!!!
He has no friends either. He looks to Chava for help, but the Frenchman doesn't pull through.
15:32 CET 181km/10km to go
Contador has caught up with Chava, and passed him to lead on the descent.
15:34 CET Finally Chavanel pulls and so does Schleck.
15:35 CET 45 seconds now for LL Sánchez!!! He may get yellow after all, unless Contador can get the others to work as well, which for the moment he has managed to accomplished
15:36 CET LL Sánchez can also get a 10-sec time bonus over the line!!!
15:36 CET 186km/5km to go
15:37 CET Chavanel should now get a better idea of the tactics. He drops back to the team car and gets some instructions from his DS (directeur sportif)
15:38 CET Colom goes once again!!!
15:38 CET 187.5km/3.5km to go
Good move by Saxo - Contador has to go after Colom and Voigt, but gets tired. Schleck and Chava attack Contador and DROP him!!!
15:40 CET 188.5km/2.5km to go
15:41 CET 189km/2km to go
Contador is isolated and loses more time.
15:42 CET 190km/1km to go
Sánchez still looks good, holding the bar on the brake levers.
15:43 CET This must feel embarrassing for Contador, but he gets caught by the Evans group!
15:43 CET Caught? Not only that but dropped!!!!
15:44 CET A bad day in the office for the yellow jersey, probably a hunger knock
15:44 CET Contador tries to hang on to two Garmins...
15:45 CET LL arrives on the finish straight
15:45 CET He takes the stage victory, pointing both hands towards the sky
15:45 CET Voigt attacks, trying to set up a move for Schleck
15:45 CET There are still time bonuses...
15:46 CET Schleck doesn't get away and Colom takes the front. Schleck and Chava are behind, Voigt gets dropped
Colom takes second, ahead of Schleck and Chavanel
Contador loses 2.53!!!!
Contador stops after the finish and holds on to the barrier, not getting off his bike.
Well, what a day it was. Who would have thought that Contador could brought into trouble today, but Luis Leon Sánchez sure managed to do it!
16:03 CET Chavanel receives the green jersey. So Haussler's sprint win in sprint one didn't help after all (but Chavanel's second place in that sprint and his fourth place today sure helped)
Note that we will start tomorrow's live coverage earlier, around 13:00 CEST.
1 Luis Leon Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 4.43.34 2 Antonio Colom (Spa) Katusha 0.49 3 Frank Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank 4 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 5 Jens Voigt (Ger) Saxo Bank 0.56 6 David Moncoutié (Fra) Cofidis 1.31 7 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 8 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Silence Lotto 9 Christophe Morea (Fra) Agritubel 10 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis General classification after stage 7 1 Luis Leon Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 28.05.45 2 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 1.09 3 Frank Schleck (Lux) Saxo Bank 1.21 4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 1.50 5 Jens Voigt (Ger) Saxo Bank 1.59 6 Antonio Colom (Spa) Katusha 2.16 7 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step 2.29 8 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano 2.57 9 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Bbox Bouygues Telecom 3.37 10 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Française des Jeux 4.00
14:42 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: This is the day that will blow apart the peloton thanks to the two passages of the Montelupone climb. We are 80 kilometres from the finish. There is an escape, which went clear on the Passo di Cornell, has 4:00 on the main gruppo.
15:33 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: After three sprint stages, today is a day for climbers thanks to the Montelupone.
15:45 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: At the base of the first climb of Montelupone, -18.5km, Caisse d'Epargne leads for last year's winner Joaquím Rodríguez. The escape has just over two minutes.
15:49 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: Garmin looks good one day after its stage win with Farrar. The team is working today for Canadian Ryder Hesjedal.
15:56 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: Di Luca's LPR team has the gap down to 1:00 on the front five of Giuseppe Palumbo (Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo), Johann Tschopp (Bbox Bouygues Telecom), Giampaolo Cheula (Barloworld), Jérôme Coppel (Française des Jeux) and Marcin Sapa (Lampre-NGC).
16:03 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: A crash at 25 kilometres left splits the group. Matti Breschel (Saxo Bank) and Riccardo Chiarini (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) are involved, but Loyd Mondory (AG2R La Mondiale) appeared to be worst off.
16:07 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: Sapa loses contact from the other four escapees. The sprinters, like Cavendish and Petacchi, also lose contact as Montelupone nears.
16:15 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: Alessandro Petacchi (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) pulls for his teammate Di Luca. The 1.75km Montelupone nears, the four men have 15". Simoni has a 29 mounted in the back, 39 up front.
16:27 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: Montelupone: Simoni and Scarponi leads with Garzelli and Di Luca there too. (-15km)
16:31 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: Montelupone: Simoni, the two-time Giro d'Italia winner leads Di Luca and Garzelli over the top to start the final 13.9 kilometres.
16:39 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) anticipates the final climb with an attack at seven kilometres to go. He is chased and joined by Daniele Pietropolli (LPR Brakes-Farnese Vini) and Greg Van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto).
16:40 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: Simoni leads the peloton and catches the three men.
16:42 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: -2km and Hincapie leads for Thomas Lövkvist. The final climb starts.
16:48 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: Joaquím Rodríguez fires. He has a big gap.
16:51 CET Tirreno-Adriatico update: Joaquím Rodríguez wins over Rebellin.