Top five placings:
1. Xavier Tondo (Spain, Cervelo)
2. Alejandro Valverde (Spain, Caisse d’Epargne)
3. Peter Sagan (Slovakia, Liquigas)
4. Samuel Sanchez (Spain, Euskaltel)
5. Joaqsuin Rodriguez (Spain, Latusha)
Xavier Tondo Volpini (Cervelo) wins the 220-kms 6th stage of Paris-Nice.
One kilometre before the line and the peloton have given up the chase. Tondo is about to win the 6th stage.
The chasing group has been caught by the peloton, who is 15 seconds behind Tondo.
Tondo leads the seven by 14 seconds and the peloton by 25 seconds with two kilometres to go.
A group of seven riders, including Voeckler, Riblon, Chavanel, Fofonov, Peraud, Intxauti and Coppel are chasing behind Tondo.
Voeckler attacks at the front of the bunch. Tondo is in sight.
Damiano Cunego has been caught with seven kilometres to go.
Damiano Cunego’s lead over the peloton is now down to ten seconds.
... for Tondo, who now leads Cunego by 25 seconds and the main pack by 40 seconds.
Millar, held by a puncture, made it pack into the main peloton.
With 13 kms to go, the lead of front man Tondo is only 45 seconds now.
David Millar (Garmin) punctured in the descent.
Mathieu Perget (Caisse d’Epargne) leads the peloton in the descent.
... for leading man Xavier Tondo, who leads Cunego by 15 seconds and the peloton by 1:10.
...and Cunego is 15 seconds behind front man Xavier Tondo Volpini. Gautier has been caught by the peloton, who are still 1:20 behind.
Xavier Tondo (Cervelo) is alone in the lead, chased by Damiano Cunego (Lampre), 15 seconds behind, and Cyril Gautier (BBox). The peloton follows, 1:30 behind.
Results on the Col de Vence (1st cat, km 187.5)
1. Tondo 10 points
2. Cunego 8 pts 18 secs behind
3. Gautier 6 pts 45 secs behind
4. Intxauti 4 pts 1:30 behind
5. Samuel Sanchez 3 pts
6. Contador 2 pts
7. Valverde 1 pt all same time
Xavier Tondo Volpini (Cervelo) is 1 km from the Col de Vence. Cunego is 12 seconds behind and Gautier 30 seconds adrift.
Km 185 - Tondo has gone on his own. Cunego chases and drops Gautier.
Km 183 â€“ Tondo, Cunego and Gautier in the lead
25 seconds behind â€“Kolobnev and Chavanel
30 seconds behind â€“ Perget and Fofonov
45 seconds â€“ nine riders
1:25 â€“ the peloton
Chavanel and Kolobnev are chasing behind the three escapees. The peloton is 1:20 behind on the climb.
With 39 kms to go, Xavier Tondo (Cervelo) has attacked, followed by Cyril Gautier (BBox) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre).
Machado has done his job. He now loses ground as does Romain Sicard. Only 16 riders left in the break.
Arnaud Gerard (FD Jeux) has given up.
Machado has been the most active rider in the leading group all day and he keeps leading the way on the Col de Mende.
The three riders dropped by the leading group are Tony Martin, Amael Moinard and Simon Geschke. Steve Cummings was also dropped at first but he managed his way back to the front.
The average speed in the 4th hour of the stage was 41.1 kph. The overall speed is 44.4 kph.
Four riders, incuding polka-dot jersey holder Moinard, have been dropped from the leading group at the beginning of the Col de Mende.
Christophe Le Mevel, Anthony Geslin (both FD Jeux), Dario Cioni (Sky) and Christian Vandevelde (Garmin) crashed heavily (km 174).
The Col de Vence is a classic in Paris-Nice but the race had not tackled the 9-kms climb for eight years. In 1987, Stephen Roche lost the race when in punctured on it. He earned ample consolation that year when he won the Tour, the Giro and the world championship.
The 21 riders in the front - Chavanel (Quick Step), Moinard (Cofidis), Leipheimer and Machado (RadioShack), Cunego (Lampre), Tony Martin and Monfort (Columbia), Casar and Cherel (FDJeux), Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma Lotto), Gautier (Bbox), Champion (AG2R), Kolobnev and Vorganov (Katusha), Perget (Caisse dâ€™Epargne), Sorensen (Saxo Bank), Fofonov (Astana), Tondo (Omega Pharma Lotto), Sicard (Euskaltel), Cummings (Sky) and Geschke (Skil Shimano) - lead the peloton by 1:50 as they cross the line for the first time in Tourrettes-sur-Loup (km 172).
The whole of the Caisse d’Epargne team are leading the chase as the race progresses towards Mende.
The maximum lead of the escapees was 2:10 at kilometre 150.
Results on the Cote de Chateauneuf (2nd cat, km 156.5)
1. Moinard 7 points
2. Cunego 5
3. Machado 3
4. Casar 2
5. Leipheimer 1
The bunch two minutes behind
Results on the Cote de Plascassier (3rd cat, km 147)
1. Moinard 4 points
2. Chavanel 2
3. Cunego 1
Results on the Cote de Tignet (3rd cat, km 131.5)
1. Moinard 4 points
2. Machado 2
3. Van den Broeck 1
The average speed in the third hour of the stage was 43.9 kph for an overall speed of 45.5 kph.
Grasse hosted a Paris-Nice stage in 1952 and the winner was Louison Bobet, who won four stages in that edition and the final classification for the one and only time.
Km 132 - The gap goes up again and now reached 1:50.
Quick Step team cief Rik Verbrugghe told France Television Sylvain Chavanelâ€™s goal was to ride a good stage: â€śWeâ€™ll see whatâ€™s possible on this stage but Sylvainâ€™s goal was not the GC but just to ride a good stage and thatâ€™s what heâ€™s doing. There are lots of teams chasing, not just Astana, because Sylvain is not too far overall and they donâ€™t leave a big gap.â€ť
Thanks to the six seconds he collected on the two sprints of the day, Sylvain Chavanel moves up provisionally to 13th overall.
Results of the sprint in Fayence (km 114)
1. Chavanel 4 points
2. Seeldrayers 2
3. Casar 1
The race is in Fayence, where Alberto Contador bonked spectacularly last year, losing 2:53 in a stage won by Luis-Leon Sanchez.
The race reaches is halfway to the finish line in Tourrettes-sur-Loup. The latest gap between the 22 escapees and the bunch is 1:20.
Km 104 - Liquigas and Astana lead the chase behind the 22 riders in the front. The latest gap is 1:30.
Results on the Cote du Mont Meaulx (3rd cat, km 101)
1. Moinard 4 points
2. Leipheimer 2
3. Gautier 1
The peloton 1:20 behind.
Brice Feillu and Sebastien Turgot have been caught by the peloton as the race tackles the Cote du Mont-Meaulx (km 100).
The 22 riders in the front lead Brice Feillu and Sebastien Turgot by one minute. The peloton is 20 seconds further back.
Results on the Cote des Tuilieres (2nd cat, km 85.5)
1. Moinard 7 points
2. Chavanel 5
3. Perget 3
4. Monfort 2
5. Gautier 1
The peloton 1:40 behind.
Sebastien Turgot (BBox) has been dropped by the leading group and cuaght by Brice Feillu.
Brice Feillu (Vacancsoleil) is chasing between the 23 on the Cote des Tuilieres.
The 23 - Chavanel and Seeldrayers (Quick Step), Moinard (Cofidis), Leipheimer and Machado (RadioShack), Cunego (Lampre), Tony Martin and Monfort (Columbia), Casar and Cherel (FDJeux), Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma Lotto), Turgot and Gautier (Bbox), Champion (AG2R), Kolobnev and Vorganov (Katusha), Perget (Caisse dâ€™Epargne), Sorensen (Saxo Bank), Fofonov (Astana), Xavier Tondo (Omega Pharma Lotto), Sicard (Euskaltel), Cummings (Sky) and Geschke (Skil Shimano) - tackle the Cote des Tuilieres (2nd cat, km 85).
Draguignan hosted eight Paris-Nice finishes between 1965 and 1978. It is also a classic finish for the Tour du Haut Var. Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (Caisse dâ€™Epargne) won the only Tour de France stage to finish in town in 2000.
Km 81 - The latest gap is 1:05.
Results of the sprint in Flayosc (km 74)
1. Chavanel 3 points, 3 secs
2. Machado 2 pt, 2 secs
3. Tondo 1 pt, 1 sec.
Km 71 - The latest gap between the 23 escapees and the pack is 1:35.
Km 68 - The lead of the 23 escapees goes up to 1:50. The Astana, Caisse d’Epargne and Garmin teams are leading the chase.
Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel) has given up.
Km 62 - The 23 riders lead the bunch by 1:35. Sylvain Chavanel, 14th overall, 1:27 behind, is the virtual race leader.
Composition of the leading group: Amael Moinard (Cofidis), Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Sebastien Turgot (Bbox), Cyril Gautier (Bbox), Dimitri Champion (AG2R), Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha), Mathieu Perget (Caisse dâ€™Epargne), Chris Sorensen (Saxo Bank), Dimitri Fofonov (Astana), Kevin Seeldrayers (Quick Step), Tony Martin (Columbia), Sandy Casar (FDJeux), Tiago Machado (RadioShack), Mikael Cherel (FDJeux), Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step), Maxime Monfort (Columbia), Xavier Tondo (Omega Pharma Lotto), Jurgen Van den Broeck (Omega Pharma Lotto), Romain Sicard (Euskaltel), Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Steve Cummings (Sky), Simon Geschke (Skil Shimano)
Km 53 - The 23 riders in the front lead the peloton by 1:20.
The leading group of 23 includes, along with Tony Martin and Amael Moinard, Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack), Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and Sandy Casar (FDJeux).
The lead of the 23 over the peloton, led by the Astana team-mates of Alberto Contador, is 22 seconds.
Km 40 - Tony Martin pursued his effort after the climb and belongs to a group of 23 riders which also includes polka-dot jersey holder Amael Moinard (Cofidis).
Results on the Cote de Barjols (3rd cat, km 38)
1. Tony Martin (Columbia) 4 points
2. Simon Geschke (Skil Shimano) 2
3. Damiano Cunego (Lampre) 1
The 13 were caught on the first climb. The peloton reacted as the group included Kevin Seeldrayers, 23rd overall, and France’s Thomas Voeckler, 27th.
Results on the Cote de Val Rose (3rd cat, km 38):
1. Yannick Talabardon (Saur Sojasun) 4 points
2. Daniele Righi (Lampre) 2
3. Craig Lewis (Columbia) 1
The peloton regrouped on the hill.
Km 27 - 13 riders have broken with the bunch. The first gap is 15 seconds.
Km 22 - The peloton is packed and rides at a high pace.
Km 13 - Despite several attempts, the peloton is still packed.
Tom Danielson (Garmin) is turning 32 today while Simon Geschke (Skil Shimano) is 24. Happy birthday to both of them.
The three have been caught immediately.
Km 6 - Franceâ€™s Sebastien Turgot (Bbox), Dimitri Champion (AG2R) and Yann Huguet (Skil Shimano) are the first riders to try their luck today.
Le Parisien-Aujourd’hui runs a story about Franceâ€™s Romain Sicard, under-23 world champion last year and his countryâ€™s great hope for the future: â€śIf you ask me whether he has potential, the answer is yes of course. He is an all-rounder, heâ€™s a future great but even if the French expect him to do well, itâ€™s impossible to say that he will win the Tour. In any case, he wonâ€™t do it this year and probably not next year.â€ť
In lâ€™Equipe, Liquigas team director Mario Scirea admits he is stunned by the performances of young Slovak Peter Sagan, winner of two stages on this Paris-Nice: â€śItâ€™s incredible for us too. We knew he was a good rider but we did not expect such a feat. At 25, he would have thought twice but heâ€™s 20 and he has nothing to lose. I have no idea what he can do in the future...â€ť
Local daily Nice-Matin reveals that Amael Moinard, Christophe Le Mevel or Reine Taaramae know the dayâ€™s course like the palm of their hand, living and training in the area. â€śIâ€™m doing all my testing here. I know the Col de Mende by heart. I climbed it a dozen times since the start of the season,â€ť Christophe Le Mevel told the newspaper.
The start was given at 12:16 to 158 riders.
Km 33.5 â€“ Cote de Val Rose (3rd cat)
Km 38 â€“ Cote de Barjols (3rd cat)
Km 85.5 - Cote des Tuilieres (2nd cat)
Km 101 â€“ Cote du Mont Meaulx (3rd cat)
Km 131.5 â€“ Cote de Tignet (3rd cat)
Km 147 â€“ Cote de Plascassier (3rd cat)
Km 156.5 â€“ Cote de Chateauneuf (2nd cat)
Km 187.5 â€“ Col de Vence (1st cat)
Km 74 â€“ Flayosc
Km 114.5 â€“ Fayence.
A third rider did not start today. Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack) suffers from a sore throat.
Alberto Contador (Astana) retained his yellow jersey with a 20 seconds lead over Alejandro Valverde (Caisse dâ€™Epargne), who collected four points by finishing third yesterday. Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) kept third place, 25 seconds behind, as well as the white jersey.
His team-mate Peter Sagan is a solid points leader on 89 points thanks to his two stage victories in this Paris-Nice. The Slovak leads Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) by nine points, with Contador third on 73.
The polka-dot jersey changed hands yesterday and is now the property of Amael Moinard (Cofidis). The Frenchman, on 21 points, leads two compatriots: Laurent Mangel (18) and Yann Huguet (14).
Caisse dâ€™Epargne still top the team standings.
Tom Veelers (Skil Shimano) and Gorka Verdugo (Eusklatel) are not at the start of the 6th stage.
Welcome on the 220-kms 6th and longest stage of Paris-Nice between Peynier and Touretttes-sur-Loup. Start scheduled at 12:05.