Paris Nice 2004
Stage 7: Digne les Bains to Cannes 185,5 km
Good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of Stage 7 of the Paris Nice Cycling race. Please remember to refresh the page by using the F5 button.
Today's penultimate stage is another day of climbing while
the peloton moves down 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.
So the “race to the sun”, in spite of wintry conditions and very little evidence of sunshine, has been hotting up. Jörg Jaksche still leads but he and his excellent CSC team will face another hard day in the saddle to defend the yellow jersey over the difficult parcours today. Team CSC still have 4 men in the top ten, Jörg Jaksche, Bobby Julich, Jens Voigt and Frank Schleck, however, the reserves of the team will be tested today and once again the team will have to rely on the great team spirit installed by Bjarne Riis if they want to be in yellow when they reach the sun.
Jörg Jaksche Courtesy CSC
Jörg Jaksche has a great dry sense of humour – “It was cold yesterday, did you suffer?” – “No, we are being sensible and heading towards the sun of the Méditerranée!” - “ You had no problems yesterday punctures or mechanicals?” – “No nothing happened, its getting boring.”
However joking Jörg Jaksche knows that he will be tested over the weekend.
"Sunday, and the three climbs over col d'Èze, looks to me the hardest stage of all the race. I did try to loose Rebellin yesterday, but he is still very strong, the race is definitely not over yet."
Equally determined is Davide Rebellin of the Gerolsteiner squad. “I couldn’t do much yesterday; Jaksche was too strong, but I am feeling better and better as the race goes on so who knows?”
Todays parcours, with the second cat climb of Col du Tanneron 20 kilometres from the finish, could well be the place that Rebellin makes his move.
In fifth place, and riding for a team that seems to be getting stronger as the race continues its south bound trail, is George Hincapie of the US Postal presented by Berry Floor team. New team mate José Azevedo is also going well in 10th spot.
Meanwhile Frank Vandenbroucke (Fassa Bortolo) is also looking at the final climb of the day to make his move -
"To attack on the earlier climb of the Col de Bourigaille would be suicidal. If I try something, it will be on the Tanneron, I am only looking for a stage win now, I am not fooling myself about overall chances, Jaksche is too strong."
For all the talk of Alex Zuelle and Tyler Hamilton, it is Oscar Pereiro who has made the running for the Phonak team. A great climber and useful man against the clock, the man from Pontevedra lies in 7th position overall and is still within reach of a podium place.
In 8th spot and leading the young rider competition Michael Rogers (Quickstep) continues to impress; the Quickstep team will be out to help their young Australian secure the white jersey and confirm his top ten place.
Courtesy Illes Balears-Banesto
Aitor Osa (Illes Balears – Banesto) leads the mountain jersey competition and if he has recovered from yesterday's long break may go out looking for the early break again to secure the mountain points and that competition.
Certainly yesterday's winner, 26 year old Denis Menchov, who now has five pro victories and turned professional with Banesto in 1999, having ridden for their junior team, was grateful for the work Osa did yesterday -
"I did not work all day long. While remaining in the peloton, I was able to reach the finish comparatively fresh. I was feeling in good shape and I knew the roads from last year's Tour de France, so I had a go. It was only when I crossed the line that I realized that I could win," said Menchov.
The Russian continues to progress. Winner of the Tour de l'Avenir in 2001, he showed his climbing abilities to win atop of Mont Ventoux in the 2002 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, and last year he was the best young rider in the Tour de France. The Illes Balears – Banesto team could well be a force in this year's Tour de France too.
CSC News – bad news for race leader Jörg Jaksche - team mates Blaudzun, Piil and Bartoli have all abandoned the race and Schleck is suffering with stomach problems. This will make it harder for Jaksche and will ensure that the drama will be very high today.
Meanwhile, after 70 kilometres of racing, three riders have attacked the peloton and have a lead of around 2 minutes - Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel) is the best placed man on the trio.
100 km of racing down - CSC reports that Schleck is feeling all right and is in the race. Bartoli was having some difficulty with leg muscles today which was the reason for him dropping out.
The leaders have just over three minutes lead.
Erik Dekker (Rabobank), Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel), David Moncoutie (Cofidis), still lead the race with 70 km to go. They have around 3.30 on the peloton. None of the trio are any danger to the leaders with Landaluze being the best placed man, over 7 minutes behind race leader Jörg Jaksche.
The escapees are now on the slopes of the Col de la Sentinille cat 1; this could be the place where the contenders first start to put the pressure on race leader Jörg Jaksche. His team weakened by illness, the other teams know that they must try to isolate Jaksche at the earliest opportunity.
Fassa now at the front of the peloton, being closely followed by the CSC boys as they hammer down the descent.
The weather dry and slightly warmer today as the peloton strings its way down the wooded mountain side.
Erik Dekker (Rabobank), Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel) and David Moncoutie (Cofidis) still in the lead with a gap around the 1.30 mark.
Two Postal men are just behind the quartet of CSC riders at the front of the long string of riders.
Meanwhile, Moncoutie leads the three escapees who are working well together at the front, while Voigt again does a turn at the front of the chasing peloton.
Marc Lotz (Rabobank), who had a good victory earlier this season, is chasing back to try to rejoin what is left of the peloton.
Landis looking very cool near the front of the peloton as the chase starts to hot up.
Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel) now leading the escapees - as they stream through a picturesque village.
Still CSC on the front of the race, and it looks like they will soon catch the escapees.
42 km to go - the peloton speeds through Fayence, still CSC at the front, while T-Mobile also start to send riders up to the front of the peloton.
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) has abandoned the race.
On the long flat valley floor, the three leaders still have a lead of 1'40 over the peloton.
35 km to go - still Erik Dekker (Rabobank), Inigo Landaluze (Euskaltel) and David Moncoutie (Cofidis) lead the race and are just coming to the intermediate sprint. Dekker, Moncoutie and Landaluze go through the sprint in that order.
Liberty Seguros are now leading the peloton, though the chase of the pace has slowed slightly; now they have the three leaders virtually in their sight.
The gap still is 40 seconds to defend. Now the Fassa boys start to work too - and we have 34 kilometres to go.
Franco Pellizoti tumbled of his bike yesterday, hurt the right side of his body pretty bad but was able to start this afternoon for the pre-last race.
All the usual suspects near the front as the peloton winds it way around a beautiful lake.
The start today was later than it was in days before, because in the closing weekend of Paris-Nice, French television jumps in and reschedules...
Landaluze - Euskaltel
The peloton speeds over a long stone bridge, over the lake, as the riders head towards the sun. The three in the lead know the others are closing in and decide to let go and wait for the bunch.
The Col du Tanneron looms and the race, all back together, will now shortly split up again when the attacks start. CSC lead the peloton as the road goes skywards - Rebellin moves to the front.
3 CSC men lead race leader JJ - they are trying to keep the pace high to stop early attacks. It's another fighting effort by the CSC to keep their man in yellow.
Rebellin has Zberg and Totschnig there in the front to help him. Gerolsteiner now have three men waiting like vultures behind the CSC leaders...
A RAGT man attacks - it is Le Boulanger.
It is a brave effort but he is pulled back by the CSC train at the front.
Didier Rous is dropped. Gonzales, Moncoutie, Vierhouten, Rous all have to let the pack go on the climb.
Now Allan Davis is dropped.
Fabian Cancellara finds the pace too hot too, and Mario Aerts is not able to follow either.
Bruylandts attacks, T-Mobile at the front. The man from Chocolade Jacques is not a threat to the lead in the overall and makes him one who is allowed to leave.
A great climber, Bruylandts is in good form and will fancy his chances on this sort of climb.
A CSC man closes the gap.
Also dropped on the climb was the maillot à pois, Aitor Osa, yesterday's efforts obviously taking their toll. Alex Vinoukorov attacks.
Bruylandts is there as well again. Alex Vinoukorov has blown the race apart, more attacks from the peloton. Looks like Levi Leipheimer or Bram de Groot from Rabobank also going.
Samuel Sanchez from Euskaltel and Dimitri Fofonov also join the ones in the lead. Zuelle is there also.
Yesterday's winner Denis Menchov is present as well in the lead. The gap though, is small. So Sanchez, Vinoukorov, Zuelle, Liepheimer and Bruylandts have a small gap.
20 km to go - and Vandenbroucke attacks! Kim Kirchen sets the pace higher.
Kirchen and VDB try again to dislodge JJ and the CSC dominance. Rebellin is still there. Hamilton is not able to follow the pace of the pack. Same goes for numerous others.
1 k. to go to the summit. Hincapie has been dropped as Sanchez puts on the pressure at the front of the race.
Now VDB attacks - he has got the gap!
VDB over the top first - he has 200 metres on what is left of the chasers.
The peloton will try to regroup on the descent as VDB forces the pace.
It's fast, it's technical - it's dangerous!
Race leader Jörg Jaksche still leads the chasers.
17 k to go to the finish line. Sanchez is leading the descent just ahead of VDB; behind the peloton of about 20 riders about 10 seconds behind.
VDB aims for the classics this season, Flanders and Liege-Bastogne-Liege. VDB is a great descender - that Sanchez can drop him on the climb is very impressive.
Sanchez is descending like a mad man - he is catching the motor bikes and support vehicles!
He has opened a fair gap on VDB who is also taking chances on the down hill - frightening stuff!
Bruylandts comes off on the corner - he is ok - he never liked the speed of the descent.
Davide Rebellin lives up to his role as Jörg Jaksche's shadow. He has had his bikes moved from Italia via special transport (by his brother/masseur and his sister in law). The man at the border was a big fan of Rebellin and would love to have had a momento of Davide, but was told the only things they had with them were the bikes - and Davide for sure would not have liked it when they where given to a douanier...
Sanchez leads - VDB chasing behind him. He will catch the Euskaltel rider.
Jaksche has Voigt and Basso there to help him.
Through Pegomas they speed - CSC have regained control of the chase group.
10 km to go - Sanchez ahead of VDB, the yellow jersey group about 18 seconds back.
Downtown Cannes is very windy. The yellow jersey group has around 15 riders - Rebellin is there as is Zuelle Pereiro, Vinokourov, Rogers. VDB is caught, leaving just Sanchez at the front. Sanchez has 30 seconds.
There are 13 riders in the chase group as Sanchez tries to hold the chasers off.
It is Kirchen (Fassa) leading the yellow jersey group - he has had a great race so far.
Vino attacks again. Group Hincapie is closing in on group Jasksche.
Vino looks very strong and controlled as the Sanchez reaches the sea front.
The peloton is starting to regroup and several riders are getting back on. Vino closes in to 17 seconds to Sanchez, will he be able to catch the Spaniard?
Sanchez leads, Vino behind, the Postal boys have managed to rejoin the peloton. Vino is catching Sanchez metre by metre as they blast along the sea front.
Vino is now in the lead - he blasts straight by Sanchez.
I am sure Vino's biggest fan, Dutch Madelon van Maastricht, who also manages his website http://www.vinokourovnet.tk/ will be going out of her mind when Alexandre wins another stage...
Vino is putting in a heroic performance in memory of his friend Kivilev - behind him there are several attacks from the peloton.
Vino says all the time his friend Andrei Kivilev will ride with him all the time, as long as he races.
Poor Sanchez is exhausted - he will be caught by the peloton.
VINO VIDI VICI!!!!!! Vino takes the stage!
Kirchen second, and it looks like Voigt pipped Rebellin to take third.
Looks like Hincapie recovered well to take 5th spot.
So another epic performance by Vinokourov; Jörg Jaksche will keep the yellow jersey.
Vino says, "I really wanted to do something today in Kivilev's memory - I know these roads well and felt strong so I decided to have a go. I am a good friend of Jaksche and am pleased to see him doing so well and will be happy for him if he wins the race."
Jorg Jaksche receives his yellow jersey, there is no change on the General Classification - he still has 14 seconds on Davide Rebellin.
So a great performance from the depleted CSC squad.
Thanks for joining us today, and be sure to return tomorrow for live coverage of the final stage of the race to the sun.
Stage 7 Results
1 Vinokourov Alexandre Mob 4h 39' 02"
2 Kirchen Kim Fas 00' 18"
3 Voigt Jens Csc m.t.
4 Zberg Beat Gst m.t.
5 Rebellin Davide Gst m.t.
6 Hincapie George Usp m.t.
7 Fofonov Dmitriy Cof m.t.
8 Pereiro Sio Oscar Pho m.t.
9 Gilbert Philippe Fdj m.t.
10 Chavanel Sylvain Blb m.t.
11 Sinkewitz Patrik Qsd m.t.
12 Gonzalez Gorka Eus m.t.
13 Brochard Laurent A2r m.t.
14 Galparsoro Dionisio Eus m.t.
15 Schleck Frank Csc m.t.
16 Serrano Marcos Lst m.t.
17 Leipheimer Levi Rab m.t.
18 Moller Claus Michael Alb m.t.
19 Bruylandts Dave Cho m.t.
20 Vandenbroucke Frank Fas m.t.
21 Hamilton Tyler Pho m.t.
22 Kashechkin Andrey C.a m.t.
23 Julich Bobby Csc m.t.
24 Contador Alberto Lst m.t.
25 Jaksche Jorg Csc m.t.
26 Scholz Ronny Gst m.t.
27 Menchov Denis Ibb m.t.
28 Landis Floyd Usp m.t.
29 Karpets Vladimir Ibb m.t.
30 Rogers Michael Qsd m.t.
31 Hiekmann Torsten Mob m.t.
32 Azevedo José Usp m.t.
33 Noval Gonzalez Benjamin Usp m.t.
34 Zuelle Alex Pho m.t.
35 Basso Ivan Csc m.t.
36 Sanchez Samuel Eus m.t.
37 Horrillo Pedro Qsd 02' 00"
38 Tankink Bram Qsd m.t.
39 Miholjevic Vladimir Alb m.t.
40 Casar Sandy Fdj m.t.
41 Merckx Axel Lot m.t.
42 Totschnig Georg Gst m.t.
43 Wegmann Fabian Gst m.t.
44 Poilvet Benoit C.a m.t.
45 Ramirez Javier Lst m.t.
46 Verbrugghe Rik Lot m.t.
47 Baranowski Dariusz Lst m.t.
48 Ekimov Vjatceslav Usp m.t.
49 Van De Walle Jurgen Cho m.t.
50 Landaluze Inigo Eus m.t.
51 Rinero Christophe Rag 06' 31"
52 Schnider Daniel Pho m.t.
53 Le Boulanger Yoann Rag m.t.
54 Aerts Mario Mob m.t.
55 Löwik Gerben Cho m.t.
56 Brard Florent Cho m.t.
57 Piatek Zbigniew Cho m.t.
58 Vasseur Cédric Cof m.t.
59 Scanlon Mark A2r m.t.
60 Nozal Isidro Lst m.t.
61 Larsson Gustav Fas m.t.
62 Caucchioli Pietro Alb m.t.
63 Kessler Matthias Mob m.t.
64 Pellizotti Franco Alb m.t.
65 De Weert Kevin Rab 08' 22"
66 Cretskens Wilfried Qsd 08' 22"
67 Halgand Patrice C.a m.t.
68 Moos Alexandre Pho m.t.
69 Vierhouten Aart Lot m.t.
70 Cancellara Fabian Fas m.t.
71 Rous Didier Blb m.t.
72 Moncoutie David Cof m.t.
73 Da Cruz Carlos Fdj m.t.
74 Joachim Benoit Usp m.t.
75 Lotz Marc Rab 08' 53"
76 Werner Christian Mob m.t."
77 Lövkvist Thomas Fdj m.t."
78 Dumoulin Samuel A2r m.t."
79 Beneteau Walter Blb m.t."
80 Cioni Dario Fas m.t."
81 Le Mevel Christophe C.a m.t."
82 Davis Allan Lst m.t."
83 Sanchez Luis Lst m.t."
84 De Groot Bram Rab 12' 40"
85 Zandio Xabier Ibb 15' 07"
86 Osa Aitor Ibb m.t.
87 Renier Franck Blb m.t.
88 Etxebarria Unai Eus m.t.
89 Salmon Benoit C.a m.t.
90 Zabriskie David Usp m.t.
91 Dekker Erik Rab m.t.
92 Pena Victor Hugo Usp 16' 48"
93 Reynes Vicente Ibb 18' 28"
94 Buffaz Mickaël Rag m.t.
95 Lequatre Geoffroy C.a m.t.
96 Sunderland Scott Alb m.t.
97 Wilson Matthew Fdj m.t.
98 Hulsmans Kevin Qsd m.t.
99 Auger Guillaume Rag 26' 57"
100 Serpellini Marco Gst m.t.
101 Seigneur Eddy Rag m.t.
102 Hayman Mathew Rab m.t.
103 Hunter Robert Rab m.t.
104 Cuesta Inigo Cof m.t.
105 Gonzalez Galdeano Alvaro Lst m.t.
106 Ongarato Alberto Fas m.t.
107 Radochla Steffen Ibb m.t.
108 De Clercq Hans Lot m.t.
109 Hushovd Thor C.a m.t.
110 Irizar Markel Eus m.t.
111 Mutschler Klaus Rag m.t.
112 Arrizabalaga Gorka Eus m.t.
113 Guesdon Frédéric Fdj m.t.
114 Lastras Pablo Ibb m.t.
115 Bouyer Franck Blb m.t.
116 Schreck Stephan Mob m.t.
117 Wiggins Bradley C.a m.t.
118 Millar David Cof m.t.
119 Berthou Eric Rag m.t.
120 Jalabert Nicolas Pho m.t.
121 Portal Nicolas A2r 27' 03"
Valjavec Tadej Pho Abandon
Dessel Cyril Pho Abandon
Voeckler Thomas Blb Abandon
Pineau Jérôme Blb Abandon
Geslin Anthony Blb Abandon
Rastelli Ellis Alb Abandon
Verheyen Geert Cho Abandon
Belohvosciks Raivis Cho Abandon
Ziegler Thomas Gst Abandon
Krivtsov Yuriy A2r Abandon
Virenque Richard Qsd Abandon
Boonen Tom Qsd Abandon
White Matthew Cof Abandon
Edaleine Christophe Cof Abandon
Piil Jakob Csc Abandon
Bartoli Michele Csc Abandon
Blaudzun Michaël Csc Non Partant
General Classification after Stage 7
1 Jaksche Jorg Csc 24h 22' 08"
2 Rebellin Davide Gst 00' 15"
3 Julich Bobby Csc 00' 43"
4 Voigt Jens Csc 00' 43"
5 Hincapie George Usp 00' 46"
6 Vandenbroucke Frank Fas 00' 57"
7 Pereiro Sio Oscar Pho 01' 01"
8 Rogers Michael Qsd 01' 09"
9 Schleck Frank Csc 01' 36"
10 Azevedo José Usp 01' 46"
11 Basso Ivan Csc 01' 53"
12 Noval Gonzalez Benjamin Usp 03' 00"
13 Zberg Beat Gst 04' 02"
14 Van De Walle Jurgen Cho 04' 19"
15 Chavanel Sylvain Blb 04' 35"
16 Hiekmann Torsten Mob 05' 51"
17 Landis Floyd Usp 05' 55"
18 Tankink Bram Qsd 06' 02"
19 Sanchez Samuel Eus 06' 08"
20 Gilbert Philippe Fdj 06' 08"
22 Kirchen Kim Fas 06' 25"
27 Leipheimer Levi Rab 07' 22"
28 Zuelle Alex Pho 07' 27"
39 Cancellara Fabian Fas 13' 48"
41 Ekimov Vjatceslav Usp 15' 11"
49 Nozal Isidro Lst 18' 41"
50 Merckx Axel Lot 19' 50"
94 Hushovd Thor C.a 44' 47"
107 Millar David Cof 54' 55"
Points Classification after Stage 7
1 Rebellin Davide Gst 88pts
2 Voigt Jens Csc 80pts
3 Jaksche Jorg Csc 74pts
4 Vinokourov Alexandre Mob 55pts
5 Hincapie George Usp 55pts
6 Kirchen Kim Fas 55pts
7 Zberg Beat Gst 50pts
8 Pereiro Sio Oscar Pho 47pts
9 Vandenbroucke Frank Fas 41pts
10 Gilbert Philippe Fdj 32pts
11 Menchov Denis Ibb 31pts
12 Julich Bobby Csc 30pts
13 Sanchez Samuel Eus 29pts
14 Brochard Laurent A2r 26pts
15 Hushovd Thor C.a 26pts
16 Horrillo Pedro Qsd 25pts
17 Zuelle Alex Pho 23pts
18 Löwik Gerben Cho 23pts
19 Dekker Erik Rab 23pts
20 Vierhouten Aart Lot 23pts
Best Climber Classification after Stage 7
1 Osa Aitor Ibb 48pts
2 Dekker Erik Rab 30pts
3 Landaluze Inigo Eus 20pts
4 Moncoutie David Cof 19pts
5 Menchov Denis Ibb 17pts
6 Contador Alberto Lst 17pts
7 Sanchez Samuel Eus 11pts
8 Vandenbroucke Frank Fas 10pts
9 Baranowski Dariusz Lst 9pts
10 Jaksche Jorg Csc 9pts
11 Portal Nicolas A2r 8pts
12 Schleck Frank Csc 7pts
13 Landis Floyd Usp 6pts
14 Gonzalez Gorka Eus 6pts
15 Etxebarria Unai Eus 5pts
16 Cuesta Inigo Cof 4pts
17 Bruylandts Dave Cho 4pts
18 Rebellin Davide Gst 3pts
19 Kirchen Kim Fas 3pts
20 Kessler Matthias Mob 3pts
Best Young Rider after Stage 7
1 Rogers Michael Qsd 24h 23' 17"
2 Schleck Frank Csc 00' 27"
3 Noval Gonzalez Benjamin Usp 01' 51"
4 Chavanel Sylvain Blb 03' 26"
5 Hiekmann Torsten Mob 04' 42"
6 Gilbert Philippe Fdj 04' 59"
7 Karpets Vladimir Ibb 05' 58"
8 Contador Alberto Lst 06' 56"
9 Sinkewitz Patrik Qsd 09' 49"
10 Cancellara Fabian Fas 12' 39"
11 Kashechkin Andrey C.a 13' 59"
12 Casar Sandy Fdj 17' 28"
13 Davis Allan Lst 18' 42"
14 Werner Christian Mob 19' 09"
15 Wegmann Fabian Gst 24' 28"
16 Le Mevel Christophe C.a 25' 03"
17 Lövkvist Thomas Fdj 27' 50"
18 Kessler Matthias Mob 29' 05"
19 De Weert Kevin Rab 30' 11"
20 Larsson Gustav Fas 32' 30"
Teams Classification after Stage 7
1 Team CSC Csc 73h 08' 14"
2 US Postal - Berry Floor Usp 01' 20"
3 Quick Step - Davitamon Qsd 07' 05"
4 Phonak Hearing Systems Pho 09' 19"
5 Gerolsteiner Gst 13' 26"
6 Chocolade Jacques Wincor Cho 17' 27"
7 Fassa Bortolo Fas 17' 33"
8 Euskaltel - Euskadi Eus 17' 49"
9 Liberty Seguros Lst 23' 26"
10 Credit Agricole C.a 29' 45"
11 T-Mobile Team Mob 31' 05"
12 Illes Balears - B. Santander Ibb 36' 55"
13 Alessio - Bianchi Alb 37' 35"
14 Fdjeux.Com Fdj 41' 02"
15 Cofidis Credit Par Telephone Cof 46' 40"
16 Rabobank Rab 50' 11"
17 Lotto - Domo Lot 58' 32"
18 AG2R Prevoyance A2r 1h 01' 08"
19 Brioches La Boulangere Blb 1h 01' 59"
20 R.A.G.T. Semences - MG Rover Rag 1h 30' 00"