Davide Rebellin at last won Paris-Nice, a race which seemed to elude him in recent years, since he had to be content with podium places in 2003, 2004 and 2007.
But it was a close call for the experienced Italian, who only beat compatriot Rinaldo Nocentini by three seconds, the slimmest gap ever in the history of the Race to the Sun.
Rebellin, who had lost the race on the last day in 2007, perfectly controlled the 115-kms final stage, won on the Promenade des Anglais by Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez, already winner of a stage on la Croisette in Cannes last year.
As it regularly expressed during the negotiations held with the AIGCP in regards to the participation in the Paris-Nice race, A.S.O. understands and shares the concerns of the riders and teams, who, under threat from the UCI, would like to ask the TAS to cancel the interdiction of participation in the race, announced by the UCI.
However, the request from the IPCT to the TAS, stemming from the dispute between the UCI and the teams relative to " UCI PRO TOUR license" with which A.SO. has no ties to whatsoever, A.S.O. can not be associated with this legal action.
A.S.O. thus reaffirms to the riders and teams the absolute legality of the Paris-Nice race, which is placed under the aegis of the French Cycling Federation according to French law.
A.S.O. also notes with satisfaction the change in attitude of the UCI President regarding the participation regulations for the Tour de France and would like to believe that he is equally ready to recognise the "historic" stature of the Paris-Nice event.
Consequently, it leaves reason to believe the UCI will finally accept the mediation offered by the French Secretary of State for Sport, Mr. Bernard Laporte. This complete and precise long-term project could in effect bring an end to this conflict that has damaged the sport of cycling for too long of a time.
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A few days before the start of Paris-Nice, A.S.O. wishes to make a point after the controversies and the recent threats launched by the UCI.
A.S.O. again maintains the legality of Paris-Nice, organised under the control of the French Cycling Federation (FFC) and in harmony with the French law. A.S.O. wishes to underline that it has the support of the Ministry for Sports and of the French Agency against Doping (AFLD) for the organisation of this race. The AIGCP has just on its side confirmed the will of the 20 teams invited to take part in this event and has given its agreement on the convention negociated yesterday in a constructive spirit.
A.S.O. has asked for several weeks two simple things:
Facing this situation, the UCI launches threats that are totally out of proportion towards the riders and the teams (fines, suspensions, exclusions…). A.S.O. insists on reminding that in no manner it wishes to challenge the authority of the UCI, but that it simply wants to insure the status of a major and undisputed event like it should be by the entire cycling World, including the UCI. A.S.O. deplores that the UCI, through its threats, harms the preparation to Paris-Nice, worries the sponsors and the riders and therefore contributes in the deterioration of cycling’s image.
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Despite the hostile positions taken by the UCI President, Paris-Nice will take place as planned from the 9th to the 16th of March and will be organised according to the technical rules of the French Cycling Federation, in application of the French law.
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The race to the sun has become throughout the years a real institution of World cycling. For 75 years now, it serves as a key moment for cycling amateurs who can start considering what the season will look like. The course of the 2008 edition, unveiled this morning by the organisers offers a first innovation with the start in Amilly in the heart of the faithful Montargis and Loing banks area. The layout will then follow the highway to southern France with visits of cities that have marked the history of the event like Nevers, Saint-Etienne or Sisteron. Other than the historical touch, a dense and difficult program has been planned for the first big meeting of the cycling year. The climb up to the resort of Mont Serein that is situated on the ’unexplored’ race side of the Mont Ventoux could prove to be decisive on the way to overall victory. Unless the hierarchy is decided after the climb up the Col de la Croix de Chaubouret, shortly before the finish at Saint-Etienne... Will the leaders of the race have the capacity to maintain the suspense all the way to the twisty roads that go up to the Col du Tanneron or the Col d’Eze during the final weekend? Only time will tell... the race is on!
Sunday 9th of March
Prologue: Amilly - Amilly (4.6 km)
Monday 10th of March
Stage 1: Amilly - Nevers (184.5 km)
Tuesday 11th of March
Stage 2: Nevers - Belleville (201 km)
Wednesday 12th of March
Stage 3: Fleurie - Saint-Etienne (164.5 km)
Thursday 13th of March
Stage 4: Montélimar - Station du Mont Serein / Mont Ventoux (176 km)
Friday 14th of March
Stage 5: Althen-des-Paluds - Sisteron (172.5 km)
Saturday 15th of March
Stage 6: Sisteron - Cannes (203.5 km)
Sunday 16th of March
Stage 7: Nice - Nice (122.5 km)
Kilométrage total : 1230 km
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The organisers have selected 20 teams to take part in the 66th edition of Paris-Nice that will be held from the 9th to the 16th of March. After a prologue on the streets of Amilly, the riders will battle it out on seven stages before the final finish on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.
High Road (THR)
Team Milram (MRM)
Silence - Lotto (SIL)
Team CSC (CSC)
Caisse d’Epargne (GCE)
Euskatel - Euskadi (EUS)
Saunier Duval - Scott (SDV)
Slipstream Chipotle (TSL)
Bouygues Telecom (BTL)
Credit Agricole (C.A)
Cofidis crédit par téléphone (COF)
Française Des Jeux (FDJ)
AG2R - La Mondiale (ALM)
A.S.O. has decided not to invite Astana on the events that it organises in 2008, based on the damage caused by this team during the 2007 Tour de France and to cycling in general, both in 2006 and 2007.
The Astana team has indeed betrayed, last year, the confidence of the organisers that had invited them based, already, on their faith of a renewal announced by its leaders.
However, as the team has once again changed, A.S.O. will remain careful at the efforts that Astana will set up to live a 2008 season without affairs or suspicion, and could then reconsider a possible candidacy for its future events.
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The elite cycling professional pack will meet on the 9th of March 2008 at Amilly for the start of stage 1 of Paris-Nice. After several passages in the commons of the Montargis and Rives du Loing areas, like Montargis (Paris-Nice 2004, Tour de France 2005), Villemandeur (Paris-Nice 2006) and Chalette-sur-Loing (Tour de l’Avenir 2001), the organisers have responded positively to the invitation of an area that distinguishes itself by its enthusiasm and the way it welcomes cycling events.
With this 4,6 km time-trial at Amilly, the riders will battle it out during the prologue of the “race to the sun” on Sunday the 9th of March 2008. The pack with a therefore established hierarchy will then leave Amilly on Monday the 10th of March for stage 1 heading towards Nice where the final finish will take place on Sunday the 16th of March.
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