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Paris Nice Prologue: Report and Results
 
By Podofdonny
Date: 3/9/2003
Paris Nice Prologue: Report and Results
 

Copyright A.S.O. 2003

Prologue, 4.8km TT

Preview - Very similar to last year’s Prologue (500m longer and around Issy-les-Moulineaux again) there is a small, sharp incline of 80m from the first km, but it shouldn’t cause the specialist time trialists any problems. Laszlo Bodrogi, having injured his pubic bone in the Tour of Qatar, will be absent so expect riders such as Nico Mattan, Didier Rous and Jens Voigt to challenge. Surprises could come from Gerolsteiner’s Sebastien Lang, who took the Tour of Rhodes Prologue, and young Jean Delatour specialist Yuriy Kritsov. The Belgian press is widely tipping Frank Vandenbroucke to continue his dramatic comeback with a victory today too. The course demands perfection – the bike handling and cornering must be excellent. If one mistake is made, the winning opportunity may go out of the window.

Good afternoon - we thought we were bringing you live coverage of the Paris-Nice prologue time trial, but instead we give you a stage report, outlook and full results.

Stage Report
by Locutus

Today's Prologue time trial was too short to really give us a clear-cut indication as to who the dominant riders will be over the next week. When the riders hit the mountains, many of those who had strong showings today will surely fade, their form still too shallow to sustain the pressures of an HC race with a deep and talented field. Also, despite the HC rating and the prestige of the race, many in the field are simply here to test their form and get some quality race miles in their legs before they reach their primary objectives later in the season. Some are here to gear up for the Spring Classics, some are here to ramp up to the Grand Tours, and some are here to go all out in an effort to convince the organizer (Amaury Sports Organization) that they deserve one of the last remaining bids to this year's Tour de France. And then there are probably several for whom this wonderful race is a major goal in and of itself. Given all of these things, it is therefore difficult to draw too many strong conclusions from today's extremely tight and hotly contested Prologue.

One thing that we can say about those who showed well is that they definitely have some snap in their legs. As Podofdonny noted in his race preview here, the course was very technical and had a sharp, intense climb in the middle. This was enough to allow those who are coming into form and feeling good to really make a good result. The early time to beat was set by Credit Agricole's Thor "Thunder God" Hushovd, who blazed to a time of 5' 55". After Hushovd, a host of riders began to come in within a second or two on either side of the Norwegian's mark, which at the end of the day was only good for 11th place. Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole), Philippe Gaumont (Cofidis), Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) Mikel Pradera (ONCE), Sandy Casar (FDJeux.com), and Laurent Brochard all blistered in just ahead of Hushovd's time, but none of them really separated themselves from the field. Then came perhaps the biggest surprise of the day from the tough American, Tyler "Superball" Hamilton, who scorched in at 5' 49" to take a good 3" out of Gaumont's then-best time of 5' 52". Hamilton, who usually excels in longer time-trials and grueling mountain stages, had clearly come into his first race of the year ready to rumble. However, there was one more rider with an ace up his sleeve: the "Belgian Blur" Nico Mattan (Cofidis), who absolutely smoked the course to win the stage and the leader's jersey with at time of 5' 47".

Mattan is a strong time trialist and a great classics rider, so his showing today bodes very well for his spring campaign. Last year he finished 4th in the prologue 4" behind winner Laszlo Bodrogi; however, he faded in the mountains and finished the race in 44th, 16' 11" behind overall winner Alexandre Vinokourov (Telekom). Mattan is a strong rider, but with even more climbs in this year's edition of Paris-Nice it seems unlikely that he'll challenge for overall victory.

Stuart O'Grady is the best-placed man to take the leader's jersey from Mattan in tomorrow's stage. O'Grady, who has already won a few races this year, is the best placed of the sprinters: he finished the day in 4th at 5", well within striking distance of the leader. Tomorrow's stage is the only one that really favors the sprinters, so look for O'Grady to battle it out with fellow Aussie Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com, 12th at 9") as they try to take the leader's jersey before the mountains rise up to put the hurt on them.

With Mattan, Cooke, and O'Grady all long shots for overall victory, Hamilton emerged from today as a hot favorite for victory in Nice. Last year, Hamilton's early season was marred by illness so that he only had a few days of racing in his legs before he showed up for the Giro. Then he proceeded to crash himself silly, breaking a bone in his upper arm and beating the rest of his body black and blue en route to his 2nd place finish in the Giro. The ability of "superball" Hamilton to bounce back up from the pavement and fly up the road won him some serious respect and a host of new fans. If he can keep himself upright, he could win Paris-Nice and send a message to the other Giro hopefuls: if he could win 2nd in the Giro with a broken arm and little racing, what kind of damage is he capable of when he is healthy and fully prepared?

Of the other GC contenders who came out looking strong today, Dario Frigo (Fassa Bortolo) was the best as he came across in 6th at 6". Frenchman Laurent Brochard (AG2r) landed in 9th at 7", defending champ Vinokourov was 10th at 8", Swiss hero Oscar Caminzind was 12th at 9", and the always-dangerous Davide Rebellin ended up only 9" back in 14th. With so many mountains, these time gaps will probably matter little later in the race. However, the strong start today should give each of these riders a little motivation for the days to come.

There were a number of climbers who showed very little today, but who will likely play a big role in the mountain stages. David Moncoutie (Cofidis, 37th at 15"), Gilberto Simoni (Saeco, 61st at 20"), and Richard Virenque (QuickStep, 100th at 27") will likely make some noise when the road tilts upwards.With such a talented field and such a difficult course, the road ahead should hold a lot of surprises. Be sure to tune in for our live coverage the rest of the way, beginning with Stage 1 first thing tomorrow.

Prologue Results and GC Standings

  1. 056 MATTAN Nico BEL COF 05' 47"
  2. 141 HAMILTON Tyler USA CSC 00' 02"
  3. 054 GAUMONT Philippe FRA COF 00' 05"
  4. 121 O'GRADY Stuart AUS C.A 00' 05"
  5. 062 CANCELLARA Fabian SUI FAS 00' 05"
  6. 061 FRIGO Dario ITA FAS 00' 06"
  7. 105 PRADERA Mikel ESP ONE 00' 06"
  8. 011 CASAR Sandy FRA FDJ 00' 07"
  9. 151 BROCHARD Laurent FRA A2R 00' 07"
  10. 001 VINOKOUROV Alexandre KAZ TEL 00' 08"
  11. 124 HUSHOVD Thor NOR C.A 00' 08"
  12. 111 CAMENZIND Oscar SUI PHO 00' 09"
  13. 074 MAGNIEN Emmanuel FRA BLB 00' 09"
  14. 091 REBELLIN Davide ITA GST 00' 09"
  15. 012 COOKE Baden AUS FDJ 00' 09"
  16. 193 BERNABEU David ESP MIL 00' 10"
  17. 028 VANDENBROUCKE Franck BEL QSD 00' 10"
  18. 064 KIRCHEN Kim LUX FAS 00' 11"
  19. 191 MOLLER Claus Michael DEN MIL 00' 11"
  20. 075 PINEAU Jérôme FRA BLB 00' 12"
  21. 017 WIGGINS Bradley GBR FDJ 00' 12"
  22. 042 ASTARLOA Igor ESP SAE 00' 12"
  23. 101 JAKSCHE Jorg GER ONE 00' 12"
  24. 003 HIEKMANN Torsten GER TEL 00' 12"
  25. 128 VOIGT Jens GER C.A 00' 12"
  26. 165 LEFEVRE Laurent FRA DEL 00' 13"
  27. 005 JULICH Bobby USA TEL 00' 13"
  28. 181 ARVESEN Kurt-Asle NOR FAK 00' 13"
  29. 145 JALABERT Nicolas FRA CSC 00' 14"
  30. 077 ROUS Didier FRA BLB 00' 14"
  31. 037 ZABALLA Constantino ESP KEL 00' 14"
  32. 071 CHAVANEL Sylvain FRA BLB 00' 14"
  33. 066 PETACCHI Alessandro ITA FAS 00' 14"
  34. 058 VASSEUR Cédric FRA COF 00' 15"
  35. 168 SEIGNEUR Eddy FRA DEL 00' 15"
  36. 108 ZARRABEITIA Mikel ESP ONE 00' 15"
  37. 051 MONCOUTIE David FRA COF 00' 15"
  38. 147 SASTRE Carlos ESP CSC 00' 15"
  39. 031 GALVEZ Isaac ESP KEL 00' 15"
  40. 057 RUTKIEWICZ Marek POL COF 00' 15"
  41. 023 CANADA David ESP QSD 00' 16"
  42. 073 BOUYER Franck FRA BLB 00' 16"
  43. 115 PEREIRO SIO Oscar ESP PHO 00' 16"
  44. 094 LANG Sebastian GER GST 00' 16"
  45. 081 VAN HEESWIJK Max NED USP 00' 16"
  46. 063 GUSTOV Volodomir UKR FAS 00' 16"
  47. 114 MOOS Alexandre SUI PHO 00' 17"
  48. 161 HALGAND Patrice FRA DEL 00' 17"
  49. 117 SALMON Benoit FRA PHO 00' 17"
  50. 156 ORIOL Christophe FRA A2R 00' 17"
  51. 086 PADRNOS Pavel CZE USP 00' 18"
  52. 033 PARRA Ivan COL KEL 00' 18"
  53. 103 CASTRESANA Angel ESP ONE 00' 18"
  54. 194 CARDOSO Pedro POR MIL 00' 19"
  55. 068 VELO Marco ITA FAS 00' 19"
  56. 153 BOTCHAROV Alexandre RUS A2R 00' 19"
  57. 171 ETXEBARRIA Unai VEN EUS 00' 19"
  58. 072 BENETEAU Walter FRA BLB 00' 19"
  59. 163 JOLY Sébastien FRA DEL 00' 20"
  60. 106 RODRIGUEZ Joaquim ESP ONE 00' 20"
  61. 041 SIMONI Gilberto ITA SAE 00' 20"
  62. 123 FRAGNIERE Cédric SUI C.A 00' 20"
  63. 195 JEKER Fabian SUI MIL 00' 20"
  64. 198 SOUSA BARBOSA Rui Miguel POR MIL 00' 20"
  65. 055 KIVILEV Andrei KAZ COF 00' 20"
  66. 032 LATASA David ESP KEL 00' 21"
  67. 076 RENIER Franck FRA BLB 00' 21"
  68. 097 SCHOLZ Ronny GER GST 00' 22"
  69. 176 MARTINEZ Jos Alberto ESP EUS 00' 22"
  70. 118 USOV Alexandre BLR PHO 00' 22"
  71. 014 PICHON Mickael FRA FDJ 00' 22"
  72. 015 ROBIN Jean-Cyril FRA FDJ 00' 22"
  73. 143 ERIKSEN Thomas DEN CSC 00' 23"
  74. 152 ASTARLOZA Mikel ESP A2R 00' 23"
  75. 112 GOUGOT Fabrice FRA PHO 00' 23"
  76. 183 HOJ Frank DEN FAK 00' 23"
  77. 048 SABALIAUSKAS Marius LTU SAE 00' 23"
  78. 027 VAN DE WOUWER Kurt BEL QSD 00' 23"
  79. 132 BRANDT Christophe BEL LOT 00' 24"
  80. 164 KRIVTSOV Yuriy UKR DEL 00' 24"
  81. 107 SERRANO Marcos ESP ONE 00' 24"
  82. 013 MENGIN Christophe FRA FDJ 00' 25"
  83. 022 BOONEN Tom BEL QSD 00' 25"
  84. 158 TURPIN Ludovic FRA A2R 00' 25"
  85. 104 GIL PEREZ Koldo ESP ONE 00' 25"
  86. 184 JOERGENSEN René DEN FAK 00' 25"
  87. 044 CELESTINO Mirko ITA SAE 00' 26"
  88. 016 VOGONDY Nicolas FRA FDJ 00' 26"
  89. 113 MARTINEZ Miguel FRA PHO 00' 26"
  90. 102 ARROYO David ESP ONE 00' 26"
  91. 157 PORTAL Nicolas FRA A2R 00' 26"
  92. 135 MOERENHOUT Koos NED LOT 00' 26"
  93. 007 NARDELLO Daniele ITA TEL 00' 26"
  94. 166 MARTIN Ludovic FRA DEL 00' 26"
  95. 052 BESSY Frédéric FRA COF 00' 27"
  96. 067 TRENTI Guido USA FAS 00' 27"
  97. 116 PEREZ Santiago ESP PHO 00' 27"
  98. 196 LAVARHINAS Rui POR MIL 00' 27"
  99. 035 RODRIGUEZ Alexis ESP KEL 00' 27"
  100. 021 VIRENQUE Richard FRA QSD 00' 27"
  101. 186 RIEBENBAUER Werner AUT FAK 00' 27"
  102. 053 CLAIN Médéric FRA COF 00' 27"
  103. 125 JENNER Christopher NZL C.A 00' 28"
  104. 078 VOECKLER Thomas FRA BLB 00' 28"
  105. 092 BOLTS Udo GER GST 00' 29"
  106. 034 RIERA Jordi ESP KEL 00' 29"
  107. 174 GONZALEZ Gorka ESP EUS 00' 29"
  108. 154 CHAURREAU Inigo ESP A2R 00' 29"
  109. 002 AERTS Mario BEL TEL 00' 29"
  110. 148 SCHLECK Frank LUX CSC 00' 29"
  111. 131 MERCKX Axel BEL LOT 00' 29"
  112. 095 ORDOWSKI Volker GER GST 00' 29"
  113. 127 POILVET Benoit FRA C.A 00' 30"
  114. 126 MORIN Anthony FRA C.A 00' 30"
  115. 144 HOFFMAN Tristan NED CSC 00' 30"
  116. 188 WINN Julian GBR FAK 00' 30"
  117. 162 GOUBERT Stephane FRA DEL 00' 30"
  118. 192 BARROSO Paulo POR MIL 00' 30"
  119. 136 VAN BON Leon NED LOT 00' 30"
  120. 083 JOACHIM Benoit LUX USP 00' 31"
  121. 146 KRISTENSEN Lennie DEN CSC 00' 31"
  122. 087 WHITE Matthew AUS USP 00' 31"
  123. 008 WERNER Christian GER TEL 00' 31"
  124. 096 SCHMIDT Torsten GER GST 00' 32"
  125. 172 DIAZ DE CERIO Ruben ESP EUS 00' 32"
  126. 046 LUDEWIG Jorg GER SAE 00' 32"
  127. 024 CLERC Aurélien SUI QSD 00' 33"
  128. 178 SILLONIZ Josu ESP EUS 00' 33"
  129. 138 VIERHOUTEN Aart NED LOT 00' 33"
  130. 006 KESSLER Matthias GER TEL 00' 33"
  131. 137 VAN DIJK Stefan NED LOT 00' 33"
  132. 197 MARTINS Lizuarte POR MIL 00' 33"
  133. 045 GALLETTI Alessio ITA SAE 00' 33"
  134. 082 CRUZ Antonio USA USP 00' 34"
  135. 155 FLICKINGER Andy FRA A2R 00' 34"
  136. 185 PETERSEN Jorgen Bo DEN FAK 00' 34"
  137. 133 D'HOLLANDER Glenn BEL LOT 00' 34"
  138. 175 LOPEZ DE MUNAIN Alberto ESP EUS 00' 35"
  139. 084 KLUCK Damon USA USP 00' 35"
  140. 036 USANO Julian ESP KEL 00' 35"
  141. 018 WILSON Matthew AUS FDJ 00' 36"
  142. 187 SKELDE Michael DEN FAK 00' 36"
  143. 025 CRETSKENS Wilfried BEL QSD 00' 36"
  144. 177 SANCHEZ Samuel ESP EUS 00' 38"
  145. 173 GERRIKAGOITIA Gorka ESP EUS 00' 38"
  146. 085 MIKHAILOV Guennadi RUS USP 00' 39"
  147. 065 LODA Nicola ITA FAS 00' 41"
  148. 134 MC EWEN Robbie AUS LOT 00' 43"
  149. 122 AUGE Stéphane FRA C.A 00' 44"
  150. 142 CALVENTE Manuel ESP CSC 00' 44"
  151. 098 WEIGOLD Steffen GER GST 00' 46"
  152. 043 BONOMI Giosuè ITA SAE 00' 48"
  153. 047 QUARANTA Ivan ITA SAE 00' 48"
  154. 182 BAK Lars DEN FAK 00' 53"
  155. 026 KASHECHKIN Andrey KAZ QSD 00' 55"
  156. 093 HASELBACHER Rene AUT GST 01' 07"
  157. 004 HONDO Danilo GER TEL 01' 31"
  158. 167 NAZON Jean-Patrick FRA DEL 01' 39"
  159. 182 BAK Lars DEN FAK 00' 53"
  160. 026 KASHECHKIN Andrey KAZ QSD 00' 55"
  161. 093 HASELBACHER Rene AUT GST 01' 07"
  162. 004 HONDO Danilo GER TEL 01' 31"
  163. 167 NAZON Jean-Patrick FRA DEL 01' 39"

Starting tomorrow, join podofdonny and Locutus right here for live coverage of Paris Nice!

 
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