Good afternoon and welcome to live coverage of Stage 6 of Paris Nice! Your commentators today: Anita van Crey, Bart Hazen of cyclingfx.nl and podofdonny.
Stage 6 - 12 March: La Crau - Cannes, 184 km
Click for larger image.
Joining the race in progress, we have eight men out in front: Kemps, Schmitz, Posthuma, Ziegler, Lotz, Sanchez, Ludewig, Dessel. Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano and Jaan Kirsipuu have quit the race.
The discussion today is about helmets: Yesterday Erik Dekker yelled to Axel not to drop his helmet when he was moving up on the Faron after his puncture. But Axel didn't listen to him. I know how it became a habit NOT to listen to Dekker sr. (since he blabbers a lot), but in this case Axel had better listen, eh?
Yes, the rule is changed as of January 1st. The riders must wear a helmet in all kind of races, also in races with climbs of the hors category, also when the finish is on a col. But they can drop the helmets when the race is a mountain time-trial.
CSC leads the peloton, Saunier Duval is moving up to the front and a Discovery Channel attacks from the bunch. It's not Crazy Stijn because it isn't Tirreno.
15.13 CET We are at about 55 kilometers to go, and the gap to the leaders is around 4 minutes.
The pace of CSC seems to be too high for some of the "back of the packers." Voigt in second position of the hunters' bunch. Saunier Duval attacks the CSC Team.
1 km to the top of the first category Bourrigaille. Tom Danielson attacks from the peloton and it looks like Saunier has found some attacking company in Discovery Channel. Sylvain Chavanel is dropped.
Tirreno-Adriatico news: Hamburger in front with Flores.
Back in France, on the way to Cannes, 3.25" the gap to the eight leaders.
Axel Merckx on the phone regarding the helmet situation: "I regret what happened yesterday. I do always wear a helmet. Today I trained, Toulon to Antibes WITH a helmet on. The organisors truly lived up to the regulations. I do not know who is responsable for this mistake. Sure a rider must know the regulations."
Merckx went on to say, "My name was amongst them pre-selected for Milan-Sanremo. I do not think I am not racing that race. I was ill just before this Paris-Nice, and twice earlier this season as well."
Over in Italy, the latest on Tirreno: Bettini, Caucchioli and Hamburger in front with a small gap on the bunch.
Back in France, Salvatore "the Michelin kid" Commesso attacks from the bunch - gap 3.52.
Tirreno: Bettini, Caucchioli and that food one, Hamburger, with 16 sec. on a chasing group with Rabo still in the lead. 30 km to go.
15.37 CET Back to Paris Nice - Commesso is caught. Ludewig attacks. The gap is now 4.17.
Good to see the non-blue-ers have joined forces - bad thing though, our eyes got used to the all blue uniformity...Ludewig downhills, arms relaxed on the bars.
Tirreno: 25 km to go for Bettini and Caucchioli. First peloton is 30 seconds back, 2nd peloton at more than 7.00 back.
Back to France. Ludewig, with a gap to the other 7 escapees, slides thru the curves on this descent.
T-Bone Boonen, looking for yet another win perhaps, showing his face with the heart-marked helmet, for his beloved Lore, in the front lines of the bunch. Ludewig begins the ascent of the 2nd category Tanneron.
15.51 CET 25 km to go - the chasers working well together in the sunshine and wind. CSC complete in the front of the peloton. Let's see what Julich's contenders will do on the Tanneron.
Across a scenic bridge, sunshine, long shadows. Now the bunch begins the climb too.
Voigt working very hard to keep the race together. Julich has one helper left and that's Voigt. 3.55" the gap of the bunch to Ludewig. Reynes punctures, Quim Rodriquez attacks. The 7 chasers now split up - they are 32 seconds behind Ludewig.
Julich in his wheel so is Voeckler. Voigt takes over - still in control. Vino in the front lines of the bunch as well. Piepoli trying to get rid of the competition for Zaballa and Gomez, while Posthuma is setting the pace and Dessel in last position of the septet. Piepoli now accelerates in the bunch.
Gilbert and Hulsmans still trying to stay clear of the peloton's claws but will get caught in very very soon future. Ludewig having a bad moment, Posthuma on his second legs, so he closes in. Posthuma putting in a brave effort to bridge the gap at the front - almost 2 leaders.
Now we have two men in the lead - a German and a Cloggy. Saunier attack again! 20 km to go, and 7 dangerous downhill km. Contador attacks, Dessel for AG2R still chasing the two leaders.
500 metres to the summit for the duo. Posthuma has taken over the command.
In Italy, the Tirreno race has 14 km to go, Bettini and Caucchioli in the lead. 30 sec. the gap and started just at the last climb.
Ludewig and Posthuma seem to be working well together now the Dutchman is over the top first. Posthuma is well-trained in the Löwik-Tegeltoko team of Han Vaanhold. Boonen has had to let the pack go...
Voigt has regained control of the peloton for Julich. But Saunier, in the form of Gomez, attacks again. Voigt working his butt off for Julich. The yellow shadows though do have other plans for this stage...
Kirchen now attacks, Voigt quite magnificent so far. The peloton at 500 metres to the summit now. Voigt is not going "dead" because he is bringing the bunch back again. Kirchen is breaking up the peloton by his attack. Posthuma leaves Ludewig a bit - and over the top of the mountain the peloton descends.
In Tirreno, it's gruppo compatto - the two are caught. Fassa and Rabo setting the pace. Ten km to go.
Back to France, Voigt leads the descent for the peloton - he looks back to check where Julich is - don't worry Jens, he's still there.
Posthuma overcooked the corner and nearly made a very fast descent...but manages to stay on his bike. He loses a bit of time. Ludewig has closed the gap.
More haste, less speed for Posthuma, though he's been out in front all day. Ludewig has to close about 50 metres on Posthuma but the Dutchman wants to be alone. 13 km to go.
Tirreno: Freire tries to attack with Nuyens and a couple of others but Fassa doesn't let them go.
Ludewig still not in his wheel...could this be the first win for the Netherlands in 2005? Posthuma thundering along through the town, Kirchen leading the peloton on the descent. The bunch at 2.48". Posthuma has 10 km to go.
In Tirreno with 11 km to go, another counter: Paolo Tiralongo (Ceramiche), Giampaolo Caruso (Liberty Seguros), and Danilo Di Luca (Luiquigas) chalk up a 10" advantage...
16.16 CET Back in France, Posthuma, whose descending skills are legendary, now has 15'' on Ludewig. T-Bone back in the bunch. Posthuma powering on, he has a tail wind and is making the most of it. 8km to go.
The peloton now firmly in the control of CSC who have regrouped. Julich has 3 helpers - Schleck, Voigt and Gusev, I think. CSC is discussing the plans for tomorrow rather than to try and close the impossible-to-close gap.
Tirreno: Now 4 leaders, guess who the 4th one is?...yep, it's the Belgium crazy boy Stijn Devolder. In Tirreno, 5 km to go.
Back to France. Still trying to pull back Posthuma, but the Dutch rider is looking very smooth. Ludewig looking tired but determined. In both races, France and Italy, 5 km to go.
CSC still controlling the peloton very nicely, thank you - they, and Voigt in particular, managed to stave off the Saunier Duval attacks on the final climb. Nice view of the seaside...35" Posthuma's gap to Ludewig.
Long promenade, crashing waves from the sea, Posthuma powering on - he almost looks too big for his bike...
In Tirreno 3 km, all complete with Rabo is setting the pace. Petacchi with problems if I'm right. Yes - PETACCHI CAUGHT OUT: Two of his teammates have to reel him back in to the lead group.
Both races - 1 km to go!!!
France - Posthuma looks back...he is alone and will win. He has his hands for his eyes for a moment, as if he can't believe he is going to win. Arms aloft the flying Dutchman takes it. Posthuma wins in Cannes! He is welcomed home by soigneur Bjorn.
Meanwhile Ludewig comes in - he is a minute back.
In Tirreno Adriatico it's Freire again. Hondo 2nd and Guidi 3rd.
The peloton now on the seafront. CSC have done a great job today - the peloton around 50 men. Waves keep on rolling on the shore as the bunch rolls in. Quickstep now pickup the pace for the peloton - almost 4 minutes since Joost finished.
Kemps 3rd, Dessel 4th at 1.43", Ziegler 5th, Schmitz 6th, Lotz 7th. Boonen 8th, Voigt 9th. Julich safely home in white and yellow.
In Tirreno, Grillo 4th, Petacchi 5th, Hincapie 6th.
In the GP Internacional, Stage 3, it's a win by Aitor Perez of the Spanish Continental team Spiuk. Good going!
Paris Nice Brief Results - Unofficial:
4. Dessel 1.43"
The rest of the group now comes in over 6 minutes back. 24 year old (since last Tuesday) Posthuma has gotten himself a nice birthday present.
Julich says - "My team rode perfectly. It is 8 years since I have had a leader's jersey, and it went as well as I could hope. I am based in Nice, France - so I am looking forward to tomorrow."
Moncoutie of Cofidis still has the red spots of the mountains jersey.
One stage to go - tomorrow it's on to Nice. We hope you will join us right here. Full results of today's race to come. Thanks for reading!
1 Posthuma Joost Ned Rab 4h 41' 24"
2 Ludewig Jorg Ger Dom 01' 11"
3 Kemps Aaron Aus Lsw 01' 43"
4 Dessel Cyril Fra A2r 01' 43"
5 Ziegler Thomas Ger Gst 03' 11"
6 Schmitz Bram Ned Tmo m.t.
7 Lotz Marc Ned Qst m.t.
8 Boonen Tom Bel Qst 04' 02"
9 Voigt Jens Ger Csc m.t."
10 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Dsc m.t."
11 Fofonov Dmitriy Kaz Cof m.t."
12 Ekimov Viatceslav Rus Dsc m.t."
13 Zaballa Constantino Esp Sdv m.t."
14 Dekker Erik Ned Rab m.t."
15 Vinokourov Alexandre Kaz Tmo m.t."
16 Boven Jan Ned Rab m.t."
17 Pellizotti Franco Ita Liq m.t."
18 Julich Bobby Usa Csc m.t."
19 Valverde Alejandro Esp Iba m.t."
20 Sanchez Luis Esp Lsw m.t."
21 Hulsmans Kevin Bel Qst m.t."
22 Valjavec Tadej Slo Pho m.t."
23 Portal Nicolas Fra A2r m.t."
24 Brandt Christophe Bel Dvl m.t."
25 Evans Cadel Aus Dvl m.t."
26 Rebellin Davide Ita Gst m.t."
27 Lövkvist Thomas Swe Fdj m.t."
28 Baranowski Dariusz Pol Lsw m.t."
29 Botcharov Alexandre Rus C.a m.t."
30 Tankink Bram Ned Qst m.t."
31 Vila Errandonea Patxi Xabie Esp Lam m.t."
32 Schleck Frank Lux Csc m.t."
33 Jaksche Jorg Ger Lsw m.t."
34 Contador Alberto Esp Lsw m.t."
35 Voeckler Thomas Fra Btl m.t."
36 Fernandez Bingen Esp Cof m.t."
37 Gustov Volodymir Ukr Fas m.t."
38 Cioni Dario Ita Liq m.t."
39 Camano Iker Esp Eus m.t."
40 Ramirez Javier Esp Lsw m.t."
41 Beltran Manuel Esp Dsc m.t."
42 Yus Unai Esp Btl m.t."
43 Kashechkin Andrey Kaz C.a m.t."
44 Aerts Mario Bel Dvl m.t."
45 Osa Aitor Esp Iba m.t."
46 Goubert Stephane Fra A2r m.t."
47 Turpin Ludovic Fra A2r m.t."
48 De Weert Kevin Bel Qst m.t."
49 Danielson Tom Usa Dsc m.t."
50 Verdugo Gorka Esp Eus m.t."
51 Azevedo José Por Dsc m.t."
52 Rubiera José Luis Esp Dsc m.t."
53 Sanchez Fabien Fra Fdj m.t."
54 Landis Floyd Usa Pho m.t."
55 Mattan Nico Bel Dvl m.t."
56 Martinez Egoi Esp Eus m.t."
57 Flecha Juan Antonio Esp Fas m.t."
58 Rodriguez Joaquim Esp Sdv m.t."
59 Pereiro Sio Oscar Esp Pho m.t."
60 Petrov Evgeni Rus Lam m.t."
61 Kirchen Kim Lux Fas m.t."
62 Sorensen Nicki Den Csc m.t."
63 Frigo Dario Ita Fas m.t."
64 Savoldelli Paolo Ita Dsc m.t."
65 Gomez Jose Angel Esp Sdv m.t."
66 Piepoli Leonardo Ita Sdv m.t."
67 Cancellara Fabian Sui Fas 06' 06"
68 Trentin Guido Ita Qst m.t.
69 Chaurreau Inigo Esp A2r m.t.
70 Reynes Vicente Esp Iba m.t.
71 Pena Aketza Esp Eus m.t.
72 Bessy Frédéric Fra Cof m.t.
73 Poilvet Benoit Fra C.a m.t.
74 Rous Didier Fra Btl m.t.
75 Astarloza Mikel Esp A2r m.t.
76 Ballan Alessandro Ita Lam m.t.
77 Serpellini Marco Ita Gst m.t.
78 Cortinovis Alessandro Ita Dom m.t.
79 Moos Alexandre Sui Pho m.t.
80 Ghisalberti Sergio Ita Dom m.t.
81 Iglinskiy Maxim Kaz Dom m.t.
82 De Kort Koen Ned Lsw m.t.
83 Sentjens Roy Ned Rab m.t.
84 Wegelius Charles Gbr Liq m.t.
85 Moncoutie David Fra Cof m.t.
86 Pineau Jérôme Fra Btl m.t.
87 Bichot Freddy Fra Fdj m.t.
88 Verbrugghe Rik Bel Qst m.t.
89 Sprick Matthieu Fra Btl m.t.
90 Hayman Mathew Aus Rab m.t.
91 Gilbert Philippe Bel Fdj m.t.
92 Niermann Grischa Ger Rab m.t.
93 Calcagni Patrick Sui Liq m.t.
94 Sevilla Oscar Esp Tmo m.t.
95 Dekker Thomas Ned Rab m.t.
96 Jalabert Nicolas Fra Pho m.t.
97 Chavanel Sylvain Fra Cof m.t.
98 Bodrogi Laszlo Hun C.a m.t.
99 Rodriguez Fred Usa Dvl m.t.
100 Commesso Salvatore Ita Lam m.t.
101 Celestino Mirko Ita Dom m.t.
102 Jurco Matej Svk Dom 08' 15"
103 Anton Igor Esp Eus 08' 26"
104 De Jongh Steven Ned Rab m.t.
105 Jeker Fabian Sui Sdv m.t.
106 Cuesta Inigo Esp Sdv m.t.
107 Loda Nicola Ita Liq 08' 47"
108 Gusev Vladimir Rus Csc m.t.
109 Vogondy Nicolas Fra C.a m.t.
110 Bossoni Paolo Ita Fas m.t.
111 Carlström Kjell Fin Liq m.t.
112 Flickinger Andy Fra A2r m.t.
113 Moletta Andrea Ita Gst 08' 50"
114 Pena Victor Hugo Col Pho 13' 44"
115 Ventoso Francisco Esp Sdv m.t.
116 Perez-Rodriguez Luis Esp Cof m.t.
117 Zberg Beat Sui Gst m.t.
118 Arvesen Kurt-Asle Nor Csc m.t.
119 Vaugrenard Benoît Fra Fdj m.t.
120 Fritsch Nicolas Fra Sdv m.t.
121 Ivanov Serguei Rus Tmo m.t.
122 Yakovlev Serguei Kaz Tmo m.t.
123 Lefevre Laurent Fra Btl m.t.
124 Sastre Carlos Esp Csc m.t.
125 Facci Mauro Ita Fas m.t.
126 Zabriskie David Usa Csc m.t.
127 Muravyev Dmitriy Kaz C.a 16' 33"
128 Nuritdinov Rafael Uzb Dom m.t.
129 Korff André Ger Tmo m.t.
130 Lopez Munain Alberto Esp Eus m.t.
131 Gonzalez Gorka Esp Eus m.t.
132 Mcleod Ian Rsa Fdj m.t.
133 Loosli David Sui Lam m.t.
134 Navas David Esp Iba m.t.
135 Pagliarini Luciano Bra Liq m.t.
136 Furlan Angelo Ita Dom m.t.
137 Becke Daniel Ger Iba m.t.
138 Simoni Gilberto Ita Lam m.t.
139 Righi Daniele Ita Lam m.t.
140 Finot Frédéric Fra Fdj m.t.
141 Casper Jimmy Fra Cof m.t.
142 Pollack Olaf Ger Tmo m.t.
Nazon Jean-Patrick Fra A2r Abandon
Kirsipuu Jaan Est C.a Abandon
Engoulvent Jimmy Fra Cof Abandon
Rogers Michael Aus Qst Abandon
Gonzalez Galdeano Igor Esp Lsw Abandon
Martin Perdiguero M.Angel Esp Pho Non Partant
General Classification after Stage 6
1 Julich Bobby Usa Csc 19h 03' 44"
2 Zaballa Constantino Esp Sdv 00' 19"
3 Valverde Alejandro Esp Iba 00' 20"
4 Voigt Jens Ger Csc 00' 44"
5 Jaksche Jorg Ger Lsw 00' 45"
6 Pellizotti Franco Ita Liq 00' 55"
7 Schleck Frank Lux Csc 00' 58"
8 Evans Cadel Aus Dvl 00' 58"
9 Flecha Juan Antonio Esp Fas 01' 12"
10 Gomez Jose Angel Esp Sdv 01' 20"
11 Rebellin Davide Ita Gst 01' 21"
12 Dekker Erik Ned Rab 01' 25"
13 Voeckler Thomas Fra Btl 01' 28"
14 Lövkvist Thomas Swe Fdj 01' 36"
15 Kirchen Kim Lux Fas 01' 48"
16 Baranowski Dariusz Pol Lsw 02' 07"
17 Rubiera José Luis Esp Dsc 02' 08"
18 Vila Errandonea Patxi Xabie Esp Lam 02' 09"
19 Aerts Mario Bel Dvl 02' 16"
20 Goubert Stephane Fra A2r 02' 20"
21 Vinokourov Alexandre Kaz Tmo 02' 22"
22 Contador Alberto Esp Lsw 02' 24"
23 Beltran Manuel Esp Dsc 02' 28"
24 Petrov Evgeni Rus Lam 02' 51"
25 Tankink Bram Ned Qst 03' 01"
41 Cancellara Fabian Sui Fas 04' 34"
42 Posthuma Joost Ned Rab 04' 50"
43 Chavanel Sylvain Fra Cof 04' 55"
44 Frigo Dario Ita Fas 04' 55"
45 Savoldelli Paolo Ita Dsc 04' 58"
46 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Dsc 05' 06"
47 Danielson Tom Usa Dsc 05' 24"
49 Dekker Thomas Ned Rab 05' 41
96 Sevilla Oscar Esp Tmo 20' 37"
97 Rodriguez Fred Usa Dvl 21' 05"
Points Classification after Stage 6
1 Boonen Tom Bel
2 Voigt Jens Ger Csc 79pts
3 Dekker Erik Ned Rab 69pts
4 Zaballa Constantino Esp Sdv 56pts
5 Reynes Vicente Esp Iba 53pts
6 Cancellara Fabian Sui Fas 50pts
7 Gusev Vladimir Rus Csc 49pts
8 Arvesen Kurt-Asle Nor Csc 45pts
9 Valverde Alejandro Esp Iba 43pts
10 Julich Bobby Usa Csc 42pts
11 Trentin Guido Ita Qst 42pts
12 Kemps Aaron Aus Lsw 41pts
13 Gilbert Philippe Bel Fdj 38pts
14 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Dsc 37pts
15 Contador Alberto Esp Lsw 31pts
16 Chavanel Sylvain Fra Cof 28pts
17 Mattan Nico Bel Dvl 27pts
18 Jaksche Jorg Ger Lsw 26pts
19 Posthuma Joost Ned Rab 25pts
20 Simoni Gilberto Ita Lam 25pts
21 Ludewig Jorg Ger Dom 25pts
22 Fofonov Dmitriy Kaz Cof 25pts
23 Pellizotti Franco Ita Liq 24pts
24 Kirchen Kim Lux Fas 24pts
25 Rodriguez Fred Usa Dvl 23pts
Mountains Classification after Stage 6
1 Moncoutie David
Fra Cof 31pts
2 Ludewig Jorg Ger Dom 28pts
3 Dessel Cyril Fra A2r 27pts
4 Posthuma Joost Ned Rab 20pts
5 Fritsch Nicolas Fra Sdv 19pts
6 Serpellini Marco Ita Gst 16pts
7 Cuesta Inigo Esp Sdv 14pts
8 Jalabert Nicolas Fra Pho 12pts
9 Baranowski Dariusz Pol Lsw 12pts
10 Simoni Gilberto Ita Lam 10pts
11 Lotz Marc Ned Qst 10pts
12 Bessy Frédéric Fra Cof 8pts
13 Evans Cadel Aus Dvl 8pts
14 Schmitz Bram Ned Tmo 7pts
15 Kemps Aaron Aus Lsw 6pts
16 Julich Bobby Usa Csc 5pts
17 Hayman Mathew Aus Rab 5pts
18 Kirchen Kim Lux Fas 4pts
19 Casper Jimmy Fra Cof 4pts
20 Gomez Jose Angel Esp Sdv 4pts
21 Verdugo Gorka Esp Eus 4pts
22 Pellizotti Franco Ita Liq 3pts
23 Facci Mauro Ita Fas 3pts
24 Valverde Alejandro Esp Iba 3pts
25 Voigt Jens Ger Csc 3pts
Best Young Rider Classification after Stage 6
Alejandro Esp Iba 19h 04' 04"
2 Schleck Frank Lux Csc 00' 38"
3 Gomez Jose Angel Esp Sdv 01' 00"
4 Lövkvist Thomas Swe Fdj 01' 16"
5 Contador Alberto Esp Lsw 02' 04"
6 Kashechkin Andrey Kaz C.a 02' 50"
7 Gilbert Philippe Bel Fdj 03' 50"
8 Iglinskiy Maxim Kaz Dom 04' 12"
9 Cancellara Fabian Sui Fas 04' 14"
10 Posthuma Joost Ned Rab 04' 30"
11 Popovych Yaroslav Ukr Dsc 04' 46"
12 Dekker Thomas Ned Rab 05' 21"
13 Reynes Vicente Esp Iba 05' 33"
14 Sanchez Luis Esp Lsw 06' 20"
15 Gusev Vladimir Rus Csc 07' 04"
16 Kemps Aaron Aus Lsw 07' 52"
17 Boonen Tom Bel Qst 09' 11"
18 De Weert Kevin Bel Qst 11' 27"
19 Sentjens Roy Ned Rab 14' 06"
20 Pineau Jérôme Fra Btl 14' 33"
21 Anton Igor Esp Eus 16' 38"
22 Ziegler Thomas Ger Gst 17' 28"
23 Facci Mauro Ita Fas 20' 09"
24 Vaugrenard Benoît Fra Fdj 24' 17"
25 Ventoso Francisco Esp Sdv 26' 57"
Teams Classification after Stage 6
1 Team CSC Csc
57h 12' 41"
2 Liberty Seguros - Würth Team Lsw 00' 02"
3 Saunier Duval - Prodir Sdv 00' 17"
4 Rabobank Rab 02' 22"
5 Fassa Bortolo Fas 02' 50"
6 Davitamon - Lotto Dvl 03' 31"
7 Discovery Channel Team Dsc 04' 09"
8 Ag2r Prevoyance A2r 06' 18"
9 Cofidis Credit Par Telephone Cof 06' 48"
10 Liquigas - Bianchi Liq 07' 53"
11 Lampre - Caffita Lam 07' 58"
12 Bouygues Telecom Btl 08' 06"
13 Euskaltel - Euskadi Eus 09' 03"
14 Illes Balears - Caisse D'epargne Iba 09' 13"
15 Credit Agricole C.a 09' 15"
16 Phonak Hearing Systems Pho 10' 53"
17 Domina Vacanze Dom 12' 47"
18 Francaise Des Jeux Fdj 17' 31"
19 Gerolsteiner Gst 18' 37"
20 Quick Step Qst 19' 54"
21 T-Mobile Team Tmo 48' 44"