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Paris Nice Stage 1
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 3/6/2006
Paris Nice Stage 1
 

Paris Nice

Stage 1  Villemandeur > Saint-Amand-Montrond - 193 km
Tom Boonen Quickstep's uber sprinter won at Saint Amand Montrond after a perfect lead out that saw him power by Alan Davis (Liberty Seguros) with Francisco Ventoso (Saunier Duval/Prodir) capturing the last available podium step. A ten second time bonus moves Boonen to the top of the leader board.

Boonen now slips into the yellow and white race leaders jersey with CSC's Bobby Julich at :07 and Andrey Kashechkin in third on G.C.. Stéphane Augé (Cofidis) leads the climbers category with points he picked up in an ill fated break of over 115 kms with Christophe Laurent (Agritubel) that was pulled back 6 kms from the finish.

The race was off on a cold and overcast day, for the first ten kms the peloton tooled along grouped together perhaps trying to stay warm. At about 13 kms David Zabriskie someone who is no stranger to riding in cold weather living in Utah decided to stretch his legs within 7 kms the Z-Man had a lead nearing 5 minutes.  As Zabriskies lead neared 8 minutes Boonen's mates at Quickstep decided to snap the whip on a peloton that looked more concerned with staying warm than chasing the lone CSC rider. It wasn't long before Caisse D’Epargne-Illes Balears and Gerolsteiner joined in the chase and the gap started to come down quickly.  After an hour solo,  flying the CSC colours at the head of affairs around 50km mark Z-Man relaxed and let bunch sweep him up.

Next to take a flyer were the French Duo Stéphane Augé (Cofidis) and Christophe Laurent (Agritubel) who forsook the warmth of the group at the 60 km point in the race and quickly built a gap of a minute, over a not so enthusiastic group were content to let them ride away from the warmth of numbers. Eventually, the gap would grow to ten minutes as the Peloton made few sincere attempts to chase.

An hour in the wind Laurent took the intermediate sprint with break mate Auge second as they increased their gap to ten minutes with 85 kms to go, just past the half way point of the race. Lampre and Quickstep moved to the front of the peloton and the gap was reduced in the next few kms  by a minute.

With 37 km to go the escapees had lost half of their hard earned gain, as the chase started in earnest. Thirty minutes later the  gap was reduced to three minutes as the peloton passed through Bruere Allchamps with just under 25 kms to the finish. The rain soaked the riders as Auge and Laurent drove the break on soggy streets aiming to keep their distance on the approach to  Saint Amand Montrond before the sprinters teams could haul them back.

The stage has a history of favoring the sprinters it was no secret that Tom Boonen wanted the race leadership at the end of todays stage stage after his performance in the prologue on Sunday. With time bonuses at stage end Boonen and his team knew that victory today would seal the jersey.

Auge and Laurent entered the finishing 19.4 circuit with 2 minutes in hand. Laurent attacked his fellow escapee but Auge will have nothing of it and hauled Laurent back; but not before the Agritubel rider got the final intermediate sprint points and cash award. Auge responded catching the points at third category La Vieille Cote climb on his way to take the climbers jersey.

With less than 13kms to go Auge and Laurent struggled to keep their gap as it shrunk to under two minutes as the sprinters teams began the chase in earnest. Advantage was to the break with the soggy cobbles in the finishing circuit the peloton would have to run a cautious chase as the many headed wheeled beast rolls through Saint Amand in search of their prey.

Advantage or not, Auge and Laurents tired legs could not keep the gap and with 10km to go the break lost another minute in their race to the line, after 115 kms the pair were pulled back by the six km marker.

Sprinters teams Davitamon/Lotto and Quickstep trains drove the bus to the finish for Tom Steels and Tom Boonen but it was Boonen at the line flying past Aussie Allen Davis (Liberty Seguros) who attacked on the left... with Spain’s Francisco Ventoso (Saunier Duval) in third.

Stage 1 Results:
1 111 BOONEN Tom QSI BEL
2 043 DAVIS Allan LSW AUS 00' 00"
3 068 VENTOSO Francisco SDV ESP 00' 00"

4 166 RIGOTTO Elia MRM ITA 00' 00"
5 141 NAPOLITANO Danilo LAM ITA 00' 00"
6 035 STEEGMANS Gert DVL BEL 00' 00"
7 097 REYNES Vicente CEI ESP 00' 00"
8 182 JEGOU Lilian FDJ FRA 00' 00"
9 073 GUYSEV Vladimir DSC RUS 00' 00"
10 205 DEKKERS Hans AGR NED 00' 00"
11 074 HAMMOND Roger DSC GBR 00' 00"
12 087 RENSHAW Mark C.A AUS 00' 00"
13 134 COLLI Daniele LIQ ITA 00' 00"
14 084 ENGOULVENT Jimmy C.A FRA 00' 00"
15 128 ZIEGLER Thomas TMO GER 00' 00"
16 013 ELMIGER Martin PHO SUI 00' 00"
17 058 ZBERG Marcus GST SUI 00' 00"
18 207 MARTINEZ José Alberto AGR ESP 00' 00"
19 057 SCHUMACHER Stefan GST GER 00' 00"
20 175 HERNANDEZ Aitor EUS ESP 00' 00"
21 177 SANCHEZ Samuel EUS ESP 00' 00"
22 162 CADAMURO Simone MRM ITA 00' 00"
23 041 KASHECHKIN Andrey LSW KAZ 00' 00"
24 156 PINEAU Jérôme BTL FRA 00' 00"
25 071 POPOVYCH Yaroslav DSC UKR 00' 00"

G.C.
1 111 BOONEN Tom QSI BEL
2 001 JULICH Bobby CSC USA 00' 07"
3 041 KASHECHKIN Andrey LSW KAZ 00' 08"

4 186 MC GEE Bradley FDJ AUS 00' 09"
5 042 CONTADOR Alberto LSW ESP 00' 10"
6 177 SANCHEZ Samuel EUS ESP 00' 10"
7 108 WIGGINS Bradley COF GBR 00' 12"
8 188 VAUGRENARD Benoît FDJ FRA 00' 12"
9 035 STEEGMANS Gert DVL BEL 00' 14"
10 107 VERBRUGGHE Rik COF BEL 00' 14"
11 011 LANDIS Floyd PHO USA 00' 15"
12 181 CASAR Sandy FDJ FRA 00' 15"
13 137 MUGERLI Matej LIQ SLO 00' 15"
14 156 PINEAU Jérôme BTL FRA 00' 16"
15 091 COLOM Antonio CEI ESP 00' 16"
16 073 GUYSEV Vladimir DSC RUS 00' 16"
17 005 SCHLECK Frank CSC LUX 00' 16"
18 157 ROUS Didier BTL FRA 00' 17"
19 028 POSTHUMA Joost RAB NED 00' 17"
20 006 VANDEVELDE Christian CSC USA 00' 18"
21 193 ASTARLOZA Mikel A2R ESP 00' 18"
22 017 MOERENHOUT Koos PHO NED 00' 18"
23 072 AZEVEDO José DSC POR 00' 18"
24 015 JALABERT Nicolas PHO FRA 00' 18"
25 195 DUMOULIN Samuel A2R FRA 00' 20"

Points
1 111 BOONEN Tom QSI BEL 41
2 035 STEEGMANS Gert DVL BEL 27
3 001 JULICH Bobby CSC USA 25

4 041 KASHECHKIN Andrey LSW KAZ 22
5 043 DAVIS Allan LSW AUS 22
6 186 MC GEE Bradley FDJ AUS 20
7 068 VENTOSO Francisco SDV ESP 20

Best Climber:
1 102 AUGE Stéphane COF FRA 4

2 206 LAURENT Christophe AGR FRA 2
3 057 SCHUMACHER Stefan GST GER 1

Best Young Rider:
1 042 CONTADOR Alberto LSW ESP

2 188 VAUGRENARD Benoît FDJ FRA 00' 02"
3 137 MUGERLI Matej LIQ SLO 00' 05"
4 073 GUYSEV Vladimir DSC RUS 00' 06"
5 028 POSTHUMA Joost RAB NED 00' 07"
6 068 VENTOSO Francisco SDV ESP 00' 10"

Team Standing:
1 FRANCAISE DES JEUX

2 TEAM CSC 00' 05"
3 LIBERTY SEGUROS - WÜRTH TEAM 00' 08"

 
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