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62nd Paris Nice Stage 6 Roundup
By Podofdonny
Date: 3/12/2004
62nd Paris Nice Stage 6 Roundup

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Stage 6 Roundup

Denis Menchov honours Spain, Jörg Jaksche still in yellow, Rebellin stage hunting, tomorrow...

Denis Menchov. Courtesy Illes Balears - Banesto
Jörg Jaksche (CSC) remains on course for victory in the race to the sun. On the 6th stage with three first cat mountain climbs over 172,5km between Rasteau and Gap in the Dauphiné-Alps, he defended the yellow jersey he has worn since the first stage.

On a day shadowed by the bombings in Madrid, which saw the riders observe a minute's silence at the start and the Spanish riders and teams wearing black ribbons, it was perhaps fitting that the victory went Denis Menchov (Illes Balears - Banesto). The best young rider in last year's Tour de France won an exciting 4 man sprint between Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel), Floyd Landis (US Postal) (who suffered a mechanical in the last few metres) and Dave Bruylandts.

"My first thoughts are to the victims of the bomb attacks in Madrid. I dedicate my victory to them. I live in Spain and I like the country very much. I was deeply moved to hear of the terrible events,” said Menchov.

The Illes Balears Banesto team, joining other Spanish teams that have done the same, issued this statement today:

Team Illes Balears – Banesto joins in the unanimous condemnation of the terrorist bomb attacks in Madrid, expressing its heartfelt condolences and solidarity with the victims, their relatives and friends, and all its best wishes of recovering for the hundreds of wounded.

Menchov continued: "It was not easy today, I had to make a great effort on what was a difficult stage. I wanted to win a stage after I missed the break on Monday and lost the chance for a good overall position. In the closing stages there were many attacks but I kept calm and trusted that I could win the sprint”.

Meanwhile, the combined efforts of Kim Kirchen and Frack Vandenbroucke on the final climb of the Col de Manse finally hurt the CSC team, leaving Jörg Jaksche for once on his own. He responded magnificently to the attacks, and kept a lid on things –

“We showed that we still have one of the best teams when it comes to climbing. Jörg did what he could to increase his lead on Rebellin. Today we did a good job in a stage difficult to control, but we have reason to be satisfied with so many of our riders among the best. The overall victory is still within reach,” said Bjarne Riis.

Jörg Jaksche is well aware that there are two more difficult days ahead.

"It's not over even if I think that today was the most difficult stage. My main concern is Sunday's stage, the last day. Vandenbroucke is getting stronger and stronger and I would have liked to have a bit more of a lead on Rebellin."

Davide Rebellin remains in second place, although he lost 4 seconds on the day.

“The last two mountains were hard. I tried on a couple of times to attack but never really got away. On the last climb we had to neutralize the good attack by Frank Vandenbroucke. I am happy with how the race is going in spite of the bad weather – there are still two days to go. I am still hoping for a stage victory."

Bobby Julich and Jens Voigt continue the CSC domination of the top five while Franck Vandenbroucke looked very impressive today. Former team mate Bartoli made the following observations -

"I think that Frank is in great form but not yet at one hundred percent, I am certain that he will get better, his riding in the Paris Nice is excellent preparation for the Classics. It will be good if he can regain his form of previous years; cycling needs a rider of his class, and duels between talented racers."

Meanwhile George Hincapie, not on anyone's list of favourites before the race, remains in fifth place after a good day for the US Postal Service.

Tomorrow's penultimate stage is another day of climbing while the peloton moves toward the sea. There are seven categorized climbs - four cat 3's, two cat 1's and a final cat 2 less than 20 km before the run in to Cannes.

The next two days will be very interesting….

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