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Stage 7 Roundup
Alexandre Vinokourov honours Kivilev again! Jörg Jaksche on target for third German win …..
Bobby J and JJ. Courtesy CSC
Alexandre Vinokourov, of the T-Mobile team, once again produced a ride of sheer class to claim his second victory on the Paris-Nice stage race after winning the seventh and penultimate stage. Once again the victory was dedicated to his friend Kivilev who tragically died in last years race.
Living in nearby Monaco, Alexandre Vinokourov had targeted this stage “ On Friday I rode steadily so I could recuperate, I wanted to do well in this stage. The team worked well and I had good legs. Along the sea front it was hard going. But I now the roads well, I often trained here in December. When I attacked, I was not sure whether I could catch up with Sanchez. I thought, I would just have a go. The head wind was better for me, I think. When I caught up Sanchez, I countered immediately."”
Jörg Jaksche (CSC) despite his team being ravaged by sickness remains on course for victory in the race to the sun. On the 7th stage, which included 7 climbs, the CSC team had lost three riders in the morning, Michael Blaudzun, Jakob Piil and Michele Bartoli.
However not only did Jorg Jaksche retain the race leader's yellow jersey, the CSC team (and in particular Voigt and Julich ) worked so well together that Davide Rebellin of the Gerolsteiner team lost a further second on the General Classification.
“I was a little bit worried today when we lost three guys in the morning,” said Team CSC sport director Kim Andersen. “But the team is riding so strong now. We saw today (Jens) Voigt riding so strong; that helps everyone.”
Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel), not only gave a great display of climbing on the final climb of the Col du Tanneron 20 kilometres from the finish, but his descent was so fast he dropped everyone. It was certainly thrilling to watch “Sanchez take his chances” but tactically surely he would have been better to work with Frank Vandenbroucke, two men working together may have held out until the end.
Davide Rebellin remains in second place on the overall , “I did not feel bad, but I was not strong enough today to try anything. I have been impressed by the strength of the other top men in this race ", the Gerolsteiner captain said.
The race has certainly started to take its toll on the peloton , Cyril Dessel (FRA), Matthew White (AUS), Tom Boonen (BEL), Raivis
Belohvosciks (Let), Jakob Piil (DAN), Michele Bartoli (ITA), Christophe
Edaleine (FRA), Thomas Ziegler (ALL), Anthony Geslin (FRA), Thomas Voeckler
(FRA), Richard Virenque (FRA), Tadej Valjavec (SLO), Jérôme Pineau (FRA),
Ellis Rastelli (ITA), Geert Verheyen (BEL) and Yuriy Krivtsov (UKR) all abandoned yesterday
Provided CSC can hold off the final attacks Jörg Jaksche should join Rolf Wolfshohl (1968) and Andreas Kloden (2000) as the third German winner of the event –
"He deserves overall victory, if he wins," said Vinokourov, a former team-mate of Jaksche's.
"He's made a lot of progress, and his team have been excellent throughout the race”