1. Peter Sagan (Slovakia, Liquigas)
2. Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita, Lampre)
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spain, Caisse dâ€™Epargne)
4. Mathieu Ladagnous (France, FDJeux)
5. Jens Voigt (Germany, Saxo Bank)
Slovakia’s Peter Sagan (Liquigas) wins the 5th stage in Aix-en-Provence.
The youngest rider in the race already won in Aurillac.
The Slovak leads Le Mevel by 50 metres.
Sagan is alone in the front with 1.5 km to go.
The unstoppable Peter Sagan is at it again!
... and the Voeckler group are 1:30 behind.
and the peloton is still split in two parts.
... are Levi Leipheimer, Thomas Voeckler or Sandy Casar.
... and the pace is impressive. The second part of the peloton is 35 seconds adrift, led by four BBox riders.
The AG2R move split the peloton in two but all the favourites are in the first group.
AG2R team director Vincent Lavenu told France Television his teamâ€™s move had been planned: â€śWe saw this morning in briefing that this was a good place to form an echelon. The goal was to put Nicolas Roche or Christophe Riblon in a good position and to give the team confidence for the rest of the season."
Km 135 - Barredo, Calzati and Gustov have been caught.
Km 133 - The gap is now down to 15 seconds. The AG2R move splits the pack again.
Very active all day, AG2R are now leading the peloton at full speed. The gap goes down to 25 seconds.
Km 132 - Barredo, Calzati and Gustov now lead the peloton by 33 seconds.
Km 128 - Taaramae has decided to wait for the main bunch. Three men in the lead.
The average speed in the third hour of the stage was 42.7 kph. The overall average speed was 42.5 kph.
Results on the Cote de St Canadet (3rd cat, km 127):
1. Taaramae 4 pts
2. Calzati 2 pts
1. Gustov 1 pt
Km 124 - Caisse d’Epargne are leading the chase. The peloton are 48 seconds behind.
The four escapees, Barredo, Calzati, Taaramae and Gustov are tackling the last climb, the Cote de St Canadet (km 125).
Km 122 - The four riders in the chase stopped their effort and are back in the peloton. Four men in the lead.
Barredo, Calzati, Gustov and Taaramae in the lead
Basamontes, Horrach, Rolland and Seeldrayers 42 seconds behind
The peloton 1:07 behind.
Basamontes, Rolland, Horrach and Seeldrayers are 45 seconds adrift.
Km 117 â€“ Gustov, Barredo, Calzati and Taaramae now lead the peloton by 1:15.
Km 113 - Taaramae and Barredo have made it back on Calzati and Gustov. Four men in the lead. Luis Basamontes (Caisse d’Epargne), Pierre Rolland (BBox), Joan Horrach (Katusha) and Kevin Seeldrayers (Quick Step) are chasing, 35 seconds behind. The peloton trails the leaders by one minute.
Behind Taaramae, Pierre Rolland (BBox) and Luis Pasamontes (Caisse d’Epargne) are also chasing.
Estonia’s Reine Taaramae (Cofidis) is chasing behind the leading trio, from which Barredo has just been dropped.
Results of the intermediate sprint in Rognes (km 110.5)
1. Gustov 3 pts, 3 secs
2. Calzati 2 pts, 2 secs
3. Barredo 1 pt, 1 sec.
The race is in Rognes, which hosted the start of a Paris-Nice stage finishing at the top of the Mont Faron in 2005. Italyâ€™s Gilberto Simoni won that stage on the mountain overlooking Toulon.
Km 105 - Calzati has been joined by Volodymir Gustov (Cervelo) and Carlos Barredo (Quick Step). They lead the peloton by 25 seconds.
Km 104 - Sylvain Calzati (Team Sky) is now alone in the front followed by a group of 10 riders.
Km 101 - Several little groups have taken shape in the peloton. Lonardo Duque has been joined by 10 other riders, including Thomas Voeckler. Another little group of four is placed between the leading bunch and the peloton.
Km 97 - Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) attacked.
Thanks to his win in the sprint in Lourmarin, Thomas Voeckler (BBox) moves up to 10th overall ahead of Reine Taaramae (Cofidis).
Results of the first intermediate sprint in Lourmarin (km 94.5)
1. Thomas Voeckler (BBox) 3 points, 3 seconds
2. Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse dâ€™Epargne) 2 points, 2 secs
3. David Millar (Garmin) 1 point, 1 sec.
Km 88 - Pierrick Fedrigo has just been caught by the peloton.
Amael Moinard (Cofidis) strenghtened his potential polka-dot jersey on the last climb. He is now on 21 points.
The peloton, led by Sylvain Chavanel, is quickly moving back on Fedrigo on the descent.
The average speed in the second hour of the race was 45.1 kph. The overall average speed is 42.1 kph.
Results on the Cote de Bonnieux (km 84.5):
1. Fedrigo 4
2. Moinard 2
3. Leonardo Duque (Cofidis) 1
The peloton 28 seconds behind Fedrigo.
Km 83 - Fedrigo leads the peloton by 30 seconds in the Cote de Bonnieux.
Km 77.5 - Fedrigo now leads the bunch by 25 seconds.
By taking one point in the last climb, Amael Moinard (Cofidis) now leads the mountains classification on 19 points.
Results at the top of the Cote de Lacoste (Km 75):
1. Fedrigo 4 points
2. Riblon 2
3. Moinard 1
Km 74 - Riblon is the latest AG2R rider to give it a go. He is now chasing behind Fedrigo.
The group including Mangel and Martin keep losing time. They are now 3:10 behind the peloton.
Alberto Contador in person led the peloton back on the Sanchez group. Fedrigo is alone in the front, with an 18 seconds lead.
A group is chasing behind Fedrigo, which includes Luis-Leon Sanchez, the title-holder.
Km 72 - Pierrick Fedrigo (Bbox) went in turn on the junction.
Km 71.5 - The peloton regroups.
Km 69 - Seven riders, including Maxime Bouet are now in front with a 16 seconds lead on the peloton.
Km 67 - Bouet has been caught by seven riders.
Remi Pauriol is on home ground today. The Cofidis rider was born in Aix-en-Provence in 1982.
Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas) had been struggling in the last couple of days. He decided to call it a day.
The group featuring polka-dot jersey holder Laurent Mangel and Tony Martin is now 2:30 adrift.
Km 59 - The AG2R have obviously decided to play a major part in the stage. After Champion, Maxime Bouet is now on the move. He leads the bunch by 10 seconds.
Km 55 â€“ Champion is reined in by the peloton.
Km 50 - Champion’s lead goes up to 15 seconds. The group including Mangel and Tony Martin lies one minute behind the peloton.
Km 47 - Champion still leads the peloton by 10 seconds.
The group of some 30 riders including polka-dot jersey holder Laurent Mangel (Saur Sojasun) and Tony Martin (Columbia) is 50 seconds behind the main pack.
The average speed in the first hour of the stage was 39.1 kph.
Amael Moinard (Cofidis) is now level on points with Laurent Mangel (Saur Sojasun) in the best climber’s classification.
Results at the top of the Col de Murs (2nd cat, km 40)
1. Dimitri Champion (AG2R) 7 pts
2. Amael Moinard (Cofidis) 5 pts
3. Xavier Tondo (Cervelo) 3
4. Chris Horner (Radio Shack) 2 pts
5. David Lopez Garcia (Caisse dâ€™Epargne) 1 pt
Germany’s Tony Martin (Team HTC Columbia) also features in the group who have lost touch with the leading pack.
Led by Alberto Contador’s Astana team-mates, the peloton is closing in on Dimitri Champion.
Polka-dot jersey holder Laurent Mangel (Saur Sojasun) belongs to a group of riders who have been dropeed in the Col de Murs.
Champion leads the main pack by 11 seconds.
In the 1998 Tour de France, Vicente Garcia Acosta (Caisse dâ€™Epargne), who is one of the oldest riders in this Paris-Nice at 37, was first at the top of the Col de Murs in the 13th stage between Frontignan and Carpentras. He went on to finish second in the stage.
French champion Dimitri Champion (AG2R) attacks.
Km 33 - Chavanel has been caught by the main pack.
Km 31 - Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), third overall last year and stage winner in Vichy, has just attacked in the Col de Murs.
The race is in the Col de Murs. In 2007, the climb featured on the course of the 5th stage between Sorgues and Manosque won by Yaroslav Popovych.
Sloveniaâ€™s Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) just called it quits.
BBox team manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau told www.letour.fr that Thomas Voecklerâ€™s 5th place yesterday in Mende was part of the Frenchmanâ€™s plans: â€śThomas had decided to peak in his form a little bit early this season and he had earmarked Paris-Nice. He wanted to be among the contenders. Heâ€™s a rider who knows himself perfectly which shows that experience is not an idle thought. With what he did yesterday, he knows he will be closely watched from now on,â€ť he said.
â€śYesterday’s finale was short, ideal for a rider of his kind, you didnâ€™t have to be a climber. His goal is now to progress in the GC but we did not set any target, there are too many good riders in the race. You can be sure he will seize any opportunity that shows up. There are three hard stages ahead of us and I trust his experience and intelligence.â€ť
Voeckler is now 11th overall.
Km 15 - Several riders have been dropped in the Cote de Mormoiron.
Dutchman Jens Mouris (Vacansoleil), noted in one of the breaks of this Paris-Nice, turns 30 today. www.letour.fr wishes him a happy birthday.
In Lâ€™Equipe, Alberto Contador said he was more worried about his rivals than about his own form in yesterdayâ€™s stage to Mende. â€śThe legs were about alright but I above all had doubts about my rivals form. More than a bad day for me, I was afraid one of them should be in a great day.â€ť
In local daily La Provence, Paris-Nice coordinator Francois Lemarchand said the first race finish in Aix-en-Provence might not be the last: â€śIn 2010, the Tour Mediterranean came to Aix, now itâ€™s us. One day or another, Aix will take position on the Tour. Paris-Nice is ideal to meet people, to create links with future partnersâ€ť.
The start was given at 13:02 to 165 riders. Serge Pauwels (Sky) did not start.
The temperatures are still low on the course but quite pleasant in the sun.
Thanks to his victory in Mende yesterday, Alberto Contador seized the yellow jersey, somehing he had not managed to do after his previous Mende win in 2007. Alejandro Valverde is now second, 24 seconds behind while third-placed Roman Kreuziger is the only non-Spaniard in the top five.
The Czech also holds the white jersey as the best placed under-25 rider, ahead of Liquigas team-mate Peter Sagan.
Slovakiaâ€™s Sagan retained the points classification green jersey on 64 points, level with Germanyâ€™s Jens Voigt, but Contador is close on 62 points.
Franceâ€™s Laurent Mangel held to his polka-dot jersey on 18 points, four more than compatriot Yann Huguet, but Contador is looming in third place and on 13 points.
Caisse dâ€™Epargne claimed back top spot in the teamâ€™s standings ahead of Liquigas.
Km 40 - Col de Murs (2nd cat)
Km 75.5 â€“ Cote de Lacoste (3ed cat)
Km 84.5 â€“ Cote de Bonnieux (3rd cat)
Km 127 â€“ Cote de St Canadet (3rd cat)
Km 94.5 â€“ Lourmarin
Km 110.5 - Rognes
Welcome on the 157-kms 5th stage of Paris-Nice between Pernes-les-Fontaines and Aix-en-Provence, both hosting a stage for the first time.