French champion Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) wins the 191-kms 4th stage of Paris-Nice. Remy Pauriol (FDJ) is second and Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil) is third.
De Gendt still leads for the final sprint.
... and the lead is stable.
...and Voeckler, De Gendt, Pauriol and Di Gregorio still lead by 26 seconds.
... and the peloton is led by Leopard-Trek riders, 35 seconds behind the four escapees. Matt Goss is still at the back of the pack.
... and the gap is now down to 45 seconds.
Race leader Matthew Goss is struggling at the back of the pack.
Rabibank riders are now leading the chase.
Francis de Greef has just been caught by the main pack.
With 13 kms to go, the lead of Voeckler, Pauriol, De Gendt and Di Gregorio is still 1:10.
Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) surged from the peloton to chase behind the break.
Villie-Morgon was the start of an individual time-trial on the 1984 Tour de France, won by Laurent Fignon ahead of Sean Kelly, Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond.
De Gent has made the best of the two bonus sprints of the day, collecting six seconds. He was two behind race leader Matt Goss at the start.
1. De Gendt 3 seconds and 3 points
2. Voeckler 2 seconds and 2 points
3. Pauriol 1 second and one point.
Km 175.5 - The race is in Fleurie start of a Paris-Nice stage in 2008, won in St Etienne by Kjell Carlstrom ahead of Clement Lhotellerie, who celebrated his 25th birthday today. Sylvain Chavanel took the yellow jersey that same day.
Francis de Greef (OLO) has been dropped by his breakaway companions.
... for the five escapees. Their lead is stable at 1:10.
De Gendt is settting the pace in the leading group hoping to salvage a gap until the next bonus sprint which could help him score vital points for the GC.
... and the gap between Voeckler, Pauriol, De Gendt, De Greef, Di Gregorio and the peloton is 1:10.
... and the five lead the bunch, with the Liquigas up front, by 1:20.
1. Pauriol 3 points
2. De Gendt 2 points
3. Voeckler 1 pt.
Riders keep being dropped in the last climb as the pace is getting faster and faster. Among them, Greg Henerson, the second stage winner, and polka-dot jersey holder Veikkanen.
Rabobank riders, among them 2009 champion Luis-Leon Sanchez, are moving to the front of the peloton.
The five escapees tackle the last climb, the Col de Fontmartin (3rd cat).
Remy Pauriol (FDJ) will take the best climber’s polka-dot jersey away from Jussi Veikkanen (OLO) at the finish.
At the top of the climb (km 146) the peloton only trail the break by 1:25.
1. Pauriol 7 pts
2. Di Gregorio 5 pts
3. De Greef 3 pts
4. De Gendt 2 pts
5. Voeckler 1 pt
Km 145 - The whole of the Liquigas team have taken the reins of the main pack.
British champion Geraint Thomas crashed with Oleksandr Kvachuk (Lampre). The Team Sky rider is unhurt but is forced to change bikes.
Km 143 - The lead of the five escapees is now down to 1:50.
35.4 kms were covered in the fourth hours of the stage for an overall average speed of 35.8 kph.
... and Pauriol, Voeckler, De Greef, Di Gregorio and De Gendt lead the peloton by 2:10.
Km 140 - The five lead the bunch by 2:20.
Pauriol, Di Gregorio, Voeckler, De Gendt and De Greef are tackling the col du Fut d’Avenas, the penultimate second category climb. One point at the top will be enough for Pauriol to seize the polka-dot jersey.
Km 135 - The gap is now under three minutes as Team Sky, Garmin-Cervelo and HTC-Highroad raise the pace a bit.
1. Pauriol 3 points
2. Di Gregorio 2 pts
3. De Greef 1 pt
The race is in Regnie-Durette (km 129), start of a Tour de France stage in 2002, a 52-kms individual time trial to Macon won by Lance Armstrong.
Team Sky have taken over from HTC-Highroad at the front of the peloton.
Km 122 - The peloton is closing the gap on the five escapees: 3:25.
Exactly two years ago, Remy Pauriol broke his collarbone in the second stage of Paris-Nice two kilometers before the finish in La Chapelle St-Ursin.
The distance covered during the third hour of the stage was 37.6 kms for an overall average speed of 35.93 kph.
Km 100 - Voeckler, De Gendt, Pauriol, Di Gregorio and De Greef lead the main pack by 4:15.
1. Pauriol 7
2. Di Gregorio 5
3. De Greef 3
4. De Gendt 2
5. Voeckler 1
The bunch 4:25 behind.
FDJ’s team director Franck Pineau told ww.letour.fr that the current break had real chances: “Today’s move is interesting because if the battle starts behind it, I can tell you that not everybody will make it back on the break. We have Pauriol in there, who is a good climber, so it’s pretty good for us. It was a strong move, with strong riders. In the same time, the big guns have not unveiled their plans yet. The race will start tomorrow for them.”
... and the five lead the main pack by 4:25.
The peloton are now tackling the Col du Joncin (2d cat) 3:25 behind the breakaways.
The three seconds bonus bagged by De Gendt in the sprint mean that he will claim back the yellow jersey at the end of the stage should he finish in the same time as Matt Goss, as he was two seconds behind the Australian at the start.
1. De Gendt 3 seconds, 3 points
2. Voeckler 2 seconds, 2 points
3. Pauriol 1 seconds, 1 point.
Samuel Sanchez and Levi Leipheimer are back in the peloton after their crash.
The distance covered in the second hour of the stage was 32.6 kms for an overall average speed of 35.1 kph.
A crash took place in the descent, involving Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel) and Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack). Nobody is hurt.
Km 65 - The gap reaches 5:15.
1. Pauriol 4 pts
2. Di Gregorio 2 pts
3. De Gendt 1 pt
At the top of the Cote de Propieres (km 56.5), the gap reached 4:50.
1. Pauriol 4 points
2. Di Gregorio 2 pts
3. De Gendt 1 pt
French champion Thomas Voeckler has been in splendid form last season and at the start of this, winning the Tour du Haut Var and a Tour Mediterranean stage, but the Europcar rider, at the start of today’s break, has been suffering from a Paris-Nice jinx in recent years. In 2009, involved in a break with Jeremy Roy and Tony Martin, he was beaten by the FDJ rider and finished second. Last year, in another successful move with Amael Moinard, he was again beaten into second place by his compatriot in Nice.
The five escapees are tackling the second climb of the day, Cote de Propieres (3rd cat, km 56.5).
The race is in Aigueperse, start of a Paris-Nice stage to Thiers in 2005, won by Tom Boonen.
Km 38 - De Gendt, Voeckler, Di Gregorio, Pauriol and De Greef lead the peloton by 4:10.
37.6 kms were covered during the first hour of the stage.
Km 35 - The gap between the five escapees and the main pack remains stable at 3:20.
Km 29 - HTC-High road lead the peloton, 3:25 behind the five escapees.
Russia’s Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha), 5th overall, gave up.
Km 20 - The five lead the peloton by 1:30.
1. De Gendt 7 points
2. Pauriol 5 pts
3. Di Gregorio 3 pts
4. Voeckler 2 pts
5. De Greef 1 pt
55 secs behind, Jerome Pineau and Hardy
One minute behind, the peloton
The two chasers were caught by the peloton in the Grand-Vent descent.
De Gendt, Voeckler, Pauriol, De Greef and Di Gregorio (Astana)
45 secs behind, Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) and Romain Hardy (Bretagne Schuller)
1:25 behind, the peloton.
Km 15 - De Greef and Di Gregorio just caught Voeckler, De Gendt and Pauriol. Five riders in the lead.
Hardy has been joined by Jerome Pineau (Quick Step) in the chase behind the breakaways.
France’s Romain Hardy (Bretagne-Schuller), already part of yesterday’s break, has parted company with the main pack to chase behind De Greef and Di Gregorio.
In local daily Le Progres, Serge Barle, former team director with teams Jean Delatour and RAGT Semences, talks about the two riders who will race on home roads in this stage, Sylvain Calzati and Hubert Dupont. Calzati was with Barle at RAGT and later shone by winning the Tour de l’Avenir and a Tour de France stage with AG2R, which is Dupont’s current team: “I was criticised when I signed Dupont to the pro ranks,” said Barle. But when he signed for AG2R, they saw he was a serious guy, an example in his job. He’s so dedicated he’s a motivation for the rest of the team.”
In l’Equipe, French champion Thomas Voeckler, who attacked in vain in yesterday’s finale, said he regretted the race was too restrained:
“It’s too bad that there aren’t more riders ready to attack. We’re already close to the middle of the week, the time trial is there and nothing happened.”
De Gendt, Voeckler and Pauriol lead
25 secs behind, Francis de Greef (OLO) and Remy Di Gregorio (Astana)
One minute behind, the peloton.
Voeckler, De Gendt and Pauriol tackle the first climb of the day, the Col de Grand-Vent (2nd cat).
De Gendt, Voeckler and Pauriol lead
15 secs behind, Francis de Greef (OLO) and Remy Di Gregorio (Astana)
30 secs behind, the peloton.
Km 6 - A second attempt and a serious one as it involves De Gendt, second overall, French champion Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Remi Pauriol (FDJ).
Race leader Matt Goss pointed out on his twitter page that yesterday’s win was in first in Europe this season after victories in Asia (Oman) and Oceania (Tour Down Under):
First win in europe for 2011 yesterday @ P-N, pretty happy to get that one under the belt. Come with a nice yellow jersey for today also.
Russia’s Denis Galimzyanov, third in the two previous stages, has been dropped by the peloton.
Andriy Grivko (RadioShack), Bruno Pires (Leopard-Trek), Luis Angel Mate
Merdones (Cofidis), Marc de Maar (Quick Step), Vincent Jerome (Europcar),
Pierre Cazaux (Euskaltel) and Oleksandr Kvachuk (Lampre) broke from the start but were reined in at kilometre 3.
Gert Steegmans was one of the four former winners in Belleville: 2000 Fabio Baldato, 2002 Robbie Mc Ewen, 2006 Tom Boonen, 2008 Steegmans.
Interviewed by letour.fr about Peter Sagan’s crash in yesterday’s mass sprint, Liquigas team director Stefano Zanatta said: “In the last corner, his tire went off the rim and Peter lost the control of this bike. He hurt his hand but there’s nothing serious. He starts this morning without any problem.”
Winner of the 3rd stage, Australia’s Matthew Goss holds the yellow jersey with a slim two seconds lead over previous leader Thomas de Gendt but it will be a fragile garment on the bumpy roads of the Beaujolais, with seven registered climbs. De Gendt is wearing the white jersey as the best young rider. The race for the best climber’s polka-dot jersey will be especially exciting today and Finn Jussi Veikkanen (Omega Pharma Lotto) will have to fight hard to keep it as 37 points will be on offer today. Australia’s Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo) leads two riders from down under in the points classification, New Zealand’s Greg Henderson and Tasmania’s Goss but he is the only one of the three without a stage win, a situation he will no doubt try to correct.
The start was given to 169 riders. Two Quick Step riders, Gert Steegmans and Nikolas Maes, involved in separate crashes in yesterday’s stage, did not start. Steegmans won two stages in 2008.
Col de Grand-Vent (2nd cat, km 17), Cote de Proprieres (3rd cat, km 56,5), Col des Ecorbans (3rd cat, km 65), Col du Joncin (2nd cat, km 95.5), Cote de Regnie-Durette (3rd cat, 129.5), Col du Fut d’Avenas (2nd cat, km 146), Col de Fontmartin (3rd cat, km 156).
Lamure-sur Azergues (km 82.5), Fleurie (km 175,5)
Welcome on the 191-kms 4th stage of Paris-Nice between Creches-sur-Saone and Belleville-sur-Saone.