Top three placings in the stage:
1. William Bonnet (Fra, Bbox)
2. Peter Sagan (Svk, Liquigas)
3. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Esp, Caisse d’Epargne)
Among the riders to crash in the last strtech were Jimmy Casper, Grega Bole and Daniel Martin.
William Bonnet outsprints the bunch for the stage win.
Four riders on the tarmac.
Last kilometre and Saur Sojasun still lead.
Two kilometres left and Jimmy Casper and Andre Greipel are close together gearing up for the final sprint.
Saur Sojasun and Team HTC Columbia lead the way with three kilometres left.
Gautier was caught with 4 kms to go.
Gautier refuses to give up even though the Saur Sojaun and Liquigas trains are forming to prepare a final sprint.
Gautier now leads the peloton by 15 seconds with less than 10 kms to go.
Result in the 3rd category Cote de Nieul (km 190):
1. Cyril Gautier (BBox) 4 pts
2. Laurent Mangel (Saur Sojasun) 2 pts
3 Nikolas Maes (Quick Step) 1 pt
Cyril Gautier (BBOx) surged on the last climb and reached the top on his own.
Like yesterday in the finale, Caisse d’Epargne seized the reins. The pace is increasing as the front of the peloton ride past the 15-kms from the finish mark.
Km 183 - Mangel has been caught as well. The peloton regroups.
Jens Mouris (Vacansoleil) has been caught in turn. Mangel is alone in the lead.
The Astana team-mates of Alberto Contador have decided to race in the front of the bunch, perhaps to avoid bad surprises like yesterday.
At the 20-kms martk, Laurent Mangel is alone in the front with a five-second lead over Mouris and 15 seconds over the main pack.
Mauro Finetto (Liquigas) and Koen De Kort (Skil Shimano) have been caught.
22 kms to go and the gap has now been cut down to 15 seconds.
The lead of Mangel, De Kort, Mouris and Finetto remains stable at around 30 seconds. Rabobank, HTC Columbia, Astana and Liquigas riders lead the peloton.
Km 169 - The four escapees retain a 45 seconds lead.
Result of the second intermediate sprint in Roussac (km 164):
1. Mangel 3 pts, 3 secs
2. Mouris 2 pts, 2 secs
3. De Kort 1 pt, 1 sec
Astana are taking their turn in front of the peloton and help reduce the gap which is now down to 45 seconds (km 161).
Km 158 - The gap cut down to one minute.
Thanks to the four points won on the last climb, Laurent Mangel is certain to take the polka-dot jersey away from Lars Boom at the finish.
Results at the top of the Cote de Maison Neuve (3rd cat, km 156):
1. Mangel 4 pts
2. De Kort 2 pts
3. Mouris 1 pt
Mangel, Finetto, Mouris and De Kort tackle the second climb, the Cote de Maison Neuve (3rd cat, km 154) with a 1:15 lead over the bunch.
Km 148 - The four now see their lead cut down to 1:35.
Team HTC Columbia, possibly working for their sprinter Andre Greipel, just joined forces with the Rabos to chase behind the break. The gap is now down to 2:30 (km 140).
The average speed in the third hour of the stage was 44.9 kph for an overall average speed of 46.9 kph.
Lars Boom’s team-mates lead the chase as the gap with the four escapees is stable at 3:10 after 134 kms.
Saur Sojasun team director Stephane Heulot told www.letour.fr that Laurent Mangel’s move was planned for his rider to go for the mountain jersey: "It was our goal to go for the polka-dot since Laurent was well-placed at the start. We though about relaxing at some stage as the peloton were playing hide and seek with the escapees but decided to hold until the second climb at least to secure the jersey because the wind is favourable."
Bbox team director Didier Rous told www.letour.fr that Pierre Rolland, involved in a crash yesterday, was feeling much better.
â€śWe feared a fracture to one or several ribs but Pierre only suffers from pain in the back and chest and our doctor and physiotherapist did not find anything broken. The pain is bearable and he feels much better today.â€ť
About todayâ€™s stage, Rous said the Bbox would try to take part in moves as they develop or concentrate on the last stretch for William Bonnet and Alexandre Pichot to defend their chances in case of a mass sprint.
Km 119 - The gap goes up again and reaches 3:20.
The lead of the four escapees has now gone down under three minutes at 2:40 (km 107).
The lead of the four escapees is 3:15.
In the feeding zone (km 95.5), the lead of the four escapees - Mangel, Mouris, De Kort and Finetto - is 3:30 over the peloton.
The last time Paris-Nice came to Limoges in 2007, the white jersey holder was already Roman Kreuziger.
The average speed in the second hour of the stage was 48.6 kph. The overall average speed is 47.9 kph.
Results of the first intermediate sprint in Le Blanc (km 92.5):
1. Mouris 3 points, 3 seconds bonus
2. Mangel 2 pts, 2 secs
3. Finetto 1 pt, 1 sec.
Peloton 3:15 behind.
Km 85 - The gap has gone down to 3:10.
The only previous Paris-Nice stage to finish in Limoges took place in 2007 and ended on an Italian treble: Franco Pellizotti won ahead of Daniele Bennati and Luca Paolini. Pellizotti also took the leader’s jersey that day.
Km 70 - The peloton, led by Lars Boom’s Rabobank, trails the four escapees by 3:50.
This is what Koen De Kort wrote on his Twitter profile after yesterday stage: â€śVery upset I missed the first echelon, just managed to somehow get boxed in. Legs were definitely good... Ah well, tomorrow another day.â€ť
Km 60 - The latest gap between the four escapees and the peloton is up again to 4:15.
Km 47 - The lead of Mauro Finetto (Liquigas), Jens Mouris (Vacansoleil), Laurent Mangel (Saur Sojasun) and Koen de Kort (Skil Shimano) is now 3:55. Their maximum lead so far was 4:15.
Laurent Mangel, 28, won the Tour of Brittany in 2004. Koen de Kort won Paris-Roubaix espoirs in 2004 and the GP Eddy Merckx the same year with Thomas Dekker. Jens Mouris, who will turn 30 on March 12, is a pursuit specialist who won silver medals at the world championships with the Dutch team. Mauro Finetto, 24, won two stages in the Tour of Turkey last year.
Laurent Mangel (Saur Sojasun) now leads the mountains classification with 5 points.
Results at the top of the Cote de St Aignan (3rd cat, Km 15)
1. Mangel 4 points
2. De Kort 2
3. Finetto 1
The peloton 2:36 behind.
Km 14 - The lead of the four escapees reached 1:45 at the foot of the Cote de St Aignan.
Dutchman Koen De Kort launched the first move. The Skil Shimano have been trying hard since the start of this Paris-Nice. In the first stage, De Kort’s team-mates Albert Timmer and Tom Veelers also took part in breakaways.
Km 8 - Gap up to 40 seconds.
Km 4 - The first break of the day involves four riders: Mauro Finetto (Liquigas), Jens Mouris (Vacansoleil), Laurent Mangel (Saur Sojasun) and Koen de Kort (Skil Shimano). First gap, 20 seconds.
Astana team manager Yvon Sanquer told www.letour.fr about Alberto Contador’s form this morning:
"I saw Alberto this morning at breakfast and he doesn’t feel too bad. It’s never good to crash but you can only tell how you feel once you’re on the bike. It’s a pity about yesterday as we were at the front all day and a brief lapse of attention cost us dearly, even if the Caisse d’Epargne played it well. Also Benjamin Noval was not at his best and he’s very useful with his experience in this type of situations. Of course, instructions have been given to be even more cautious today."
In l’Equipe, Caisse d’Epargne team director Yvon Ledanois said his team’s move yesterday in the first stage owed nothing to luck. The Frenchman came to check the course before the race and knew there was a chance to seize on this course: "I don’t like improvisation. It took me six hours by car, on my own, taking notes. On my own as I don’t want anybody else on board because you chat and miss things."
In local daily Le Populaire du Centre, BBox’s Sebastien Turgot says he hopes to shine on home ground: "It’s a stage dear to my heart. Limoges is my hometown. I know the finish pretty well, one my uncles lives nearby. If I’m in shape..."
Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui headlines on Contador’s bad day but carries a horoscope which should boost the Spaniard’s morale: "Don’t give up and keep fighting even if you feel tired. Form: energetic" !
The start was given at 11:54 to 172 riders. Simone Ponzi (Lampre) and Danilo Napolitano (Katusha) did not start.
Yellow jersey Lars Boom (Rabobank) increased his overall lead on Jens Voigt by two seconds by finishing third in each of the two intermediate sprints in the first stage. Both the Dutchman and the German were in the leading group of 17 escapees yesterday. Briton David Millar (Garmin Transitions) earned a place on the podium and is now third, 13 seconds behind. Title-holder Luis Leon Sanchez follows in fourth place, 14 seconds adrift.
The green jersey also belongs to Lars Boom but it will be worn by Voigt today. Both riders are on 36 points but Boom leads the standings thanks to his stage win in the prologue.
With no climb in the first stage, the king of the mountains classification did not budge. Lars Boom is again in top spot ahead of Alejandro Valverde, who will wear the polka-dot garment for a second day.
In the young rider standings, Boom is again the leader but the white jersey will be on the back of Czech Roman Kreuziger, who overtook team-mate Peter Sagan by joining the winning break in the finale towards Contres.
Caisse d’Epargne were rewarded for their glorious team-effort yesterday by taking the lead in the team standings.
Km 15 â€“ Cote de Saint-Aignan (3rd cat)
Km 156 â€“ Cote de Maison neuve (3rd)
Km 190 â€“ Cote de Nieul (3rd)
Km 92.5 â€“ Le Blanc
Km 164 â€“ Roussac
Levi Leipheimer tweet:
â€śStage 2 of Paris Stress. I mean Nice was war! Lots of crashes from fighting in the wind all day. I had a crash in the final 25km, seem to be ok.â€ť
Alberto Contador press release:
â€śIt was a question of tenths of a second,â€ť explained Contador. â€śI was going to the left in a relatively normal way when someone snagged me and jerked me to the left. Iâ€™ve totally broken the front wheel and gotten a good smack.â€ť
"It’s a pity to have gotten left back, mainly for my team, because we were at the front all day and we were paying attention every second.â€ť
"The truth is that Iâ€™m not worried about the 17 seconds that the front group took, but rather the consequences of the crash. It would have been better not to lose time, but the most important thing is seeing how I recover.â€ť
Chris Horner in his blog about his own crash:
"All of sudden everyone hit the brakes and I was flying up and over another rider and hitting the ground. The French rider next to me must of had the wind knocked out him as he was gasping for any air he could get in. (...) I got up quickly and remounted the bike, chasing back up to the field.
Just as I was getting back to the front â€“ BAM! - Levi was hitting the deck. The team waited for him to pace him back to field. He passed most the riders right away to get back to the front, but I got stuck in the middle of the group right as we hit another turn. Another crash hit, with just 15 miles to go to the finish. This time, I was only lucky in the fact that I didn’t crash, but with the front of the field going full gas, I was left in a group of 30 or so that had no intention of returning to the front today.
Welcome on the 201-kms second stage of Paris-Nice between Contres and Limoges. The start will be given at 11:40.