1. Remy Di Gregorio (France) Astana
2. Samuel Sanchez (Spain) Euskaltel
3. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia) Team Sky
4. Andreas Kloeden (Germany) RadioShack
5. Tony Martin (Gemrany) HTC-Highroad.
France’s Remy Di Gregorio (Astana) wins the 215-kms 7th stage of Paris-Nice between Brignoles and Biot-Sophia Antipolis.
But the rider from Marseille still leads by 20 seconds under the red flame!
Bad crash for Robert Kiserlovski (Astana) who is lying under a parked lorry.
... and Di Gregorio maintains his lead (18 seconds).
Jeannesson tries again to chase behind his former team-mate. Di Gregorio was with FDJ last season.
The German has been caught by the main bunch.
Six kilometres to go and Di Gregorio leads Gerdemann by 10 seconds and the peloton by 19 seconds.
Vladimir Gusev (Katusha) and Konstantin Sivtsov (THR) slipped in turn.
Linus Gerdemann (Leopard-Trek) is chasing behind Di Gregorio, who leads the peloton by 18 seconds.
Ten kilometres to go and Di Gregorio leads the pack by 15 seconds.
Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ) is chasing behind Di Gregorio.
On the junction Remy Di Gregorio (Astana) attacks.
Kroon caught at km 202 after a 120 kms break.
Km 200 - Kroon’s lead goes down to 30 seconds.
The Australian is at the front of the second part of the peloton and looks to have overcome the pain.
... and Kroon leads the peloton by 1:05.
Tejay Van Gardren (THR) also crashed and apparently hit a wall. He is standing but looks hurt.
Haussler crashed again but it looks more serious this time. He is back on his bike but his left arm hurts.
... and the peloton is on Berthou’s heels, 1:10 behind Kroon.
Km 190 - Kroon leads Berthou by one minute and the peloton by 1:45.
Race leader Tony Martin (THR), points leader Heinrich HAussler (Garmin-Cevelo), leading climber Remi Pauriol (FDJ) and best young rider Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) are all in the main peloton.
France’s Tony Gallopin (Cofidis) calls it a day.
The fifth hour average speed was 40.1 kph for an overall average speed of 37.36 kph.
Km 187 - Kroon now leads Berthou by 35 seconds.
Kroon leads Berthou by 20 seconds
The peloton are 2:05 adrift
The Vinokourov/Sanchez group are 2:55 behind.
Movistar team director Yvon Ledanois explained why his riders were leading the peloton: "It’s just less dangerous to ride at the front given the conditions. We’re no riding to hurt the others but just to protect ourselves."
Km 180 - Karsten Kroon surged and left his breakaway companion.
1. Berthou 3 points, 3 seconds
2. Kroon 2 points, 2 seconds
3. Pablo Lastras (Movistar) 1 point, 1 second.
Hampered by stomach pains, Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) has given up.
A pile-up took place in the peloton, involving points leader Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo) and Robert Kiserlovski (Astana). Nobody is hurt.
Frank Schleck (Leopard-Trek) is suffering from stomach pains, his team director Kim Andersen told France Televisions.
Frank Schleck has been dropped by the main peloton. He seems to take it easy in rainy conditions he detests.
50 kms to go and Eric Berthou and Karsten Kroon lead the first part of the peloton by 2:15.
A mechanical stopped Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana), who is in a delayed group at the back.
Several Movistar riders have moved to the front of the main pack. Yellow jersey holder Tony Martin and white jersey Rein Taaramae are also in the leading positions as the peloton blows up in several little bunches.
Vestra has been caught by the peloton.
Martijn Maaskant (Garmin) gave up after crashing in the descent.
Westra slid and crashed in the descent. He fell on his backside and is back on his bike.
Drizzles keep pouring on the stage making the descent tricky.
Km 154 - Haussler seems to have excellent legs. He is now leading the peloton himself at full gas in he descent.
1. Berthou 7 points
2. Kroon 5 pts
3. Westra 3 pts 2:00 behind
4. Lopez-Garcia 2 pts 2:20
5. Laurent Didier (Saxo Bank) 1 pt 2:25
Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) dropped Lopez-Garcia and is on his own behind Berthou and Kroon.
Francis de Greef (OLO), who played a major role in a break in the fourth stage, gave up.
Westra and Lopez Garcia are 2:40 behind Kroon and Berthou, the peloton three minutes adrift.
Peter Sagan (Liquigas), revealed by two stage wins last year on Paris-Nice, just called it quits.
Km 144 - Westra and Lopez-Garcia just attacked in the Cote de Gourdon to chase behind the two leaders.
37.7 kms were covered in the 4th hour of the stage for an overall speed of 36.67 kph.
The break is in the last climb, the 2nd category Cote de Gourdon.
70 kms to go and the gap between the two escapees and the peloton remains unchanged at 3:50.
BMC team manager John Lelangue said he had told his riders to try and sneak into every move today: “We had nothing to lose, the orders were to go in every break, which we did it with Bookwalter, Santaromita and now Kroon. We’re no longer in contention for the GC, we have no leader to protect. Why not try something? Obviously Garmin’s goal is to slowly close the gap and protect Haussler but you never know, we saw some breaks go all the way.”
FDJ team director Thierry Bricaud told France Televisions why Sandy Casar gave up during the stage: “Sandy was not in a good day, he had no legs, no strength since the start. It did not improve during the stage and he thought it better to give up.”
Biot was twice the finish of Tour Mediterranean stages. Last month, the stage was won by Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil), who did not start today. Last year, the winner in Biot was Julien El Fares (Cofidis).
Eric Berthou and Karsten Kroon now only lead the bunch by 2:40.
Km 115 - Garmin-Cervelo lead the chase, 4:20 behind the peloton.
... Berthou and Kroon lead the peloton by 4:30. Temperatures are coolest and snow can be seen on the surrounding hilltops.
1. Eric Berthou (BSC) 10 points
2. Karsten Kroon (BMC) 8 pts
3. Lieuwe Westra(Vancasoleil) 6 pts
4. Remi Pauriol (FDJ) 4 pts
5. Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ) 3 pts
6. Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Cervelo) 2 pts
7. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) 1 pt
Jeannesson helps Pauriol in the climb hoping for him to finish third at the top and add six points to his polka-dot jersey. But Lieuwe Westra counters to take third place instead.
Eric Berthou was first at the top of the Col du Ferrier (km 112.5) ahead of Karsten Kroon.
The average speed in the third hour of the stage was 28.4 kph, the slowest hour in Paris-Nice so far.
Kroon and Berthou are in the Col du Ferrier with a 4:55 lead over the peloton (km 105).
1. Eric Berthou (BSC) 10 points
2. Karsten Kroon (BMC) 8 pts
3. Remi Pauriol(FDJ) 6 pts
4. Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ) 4 pts
5. Jeremy Roy (FDJ) 3 pts
6. Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Cervelo) 2 pts
7. Gabriel Rasch (Garmin-Cervelo)1 pt
Letour.fr wishes a happy 53rd birthday to Phil Anderson, who won a Paris-Nice stage not far from here in Mandelieu La Napoule 30 years ago. Oddly, the Race to the Sun that year was won by Stephen Roche, whose son Nicholas gave up today.
Berthou reached the top of the Cote de Cabris in top spot ahead of Kroon.
Australians fared pretty well in this Paris-Nice thanks to Matthew Goss, green jersey holder Heinrich Haussler or Richie Porte’s third place in the TT. They all owe a lot to Phil Anderson, the first Australian to hold the Tour de France yellow jersey, who is 53 today...
Sandy Casar (FDJ) has just given up.
The race is in the 1st category Cote de Cabris (km 99). The peloton are 6:40 behind Kroon and Berthou.
Km 94 - The gap has remained stable for the past few kilometres at 6:50.
Two riders gave up in the feeding zone: Jurgen van de Walle (OLO) and Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre).
Nicholas Roche (AG2R) gave up.
The gap between the two escapees and the bunch reaches 6:50, the biggest lead on the Race to the Sun this week.
Km 88 - Kroon and Berthou lead the main bunch by 5:30.
Karsten Kroon (BMC) et Eric Berthou (BSC) broke clear and lead the bunch by 3:10 at km 86
Km 75 - Peloton regroups.
... with a 12 seconds lead over the peloton, led by Team Sky riders.
A Paris-Nice stage in 1970 finished in Seillans and was won by Eddy Merckx ahead of Jan Janssen.
The two were caught by a group of 11 including Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana).
Km 67 - Pieter Weening (Rabobank) and Jean-Luc Delpech (Bretagne-Schuller) broke clear.
Yannick Eijssen (BMC) just gave up.
Sebastien Turgot (Europcar) has given up.
Peter Sagan (Liquigas), winner of two stages last year, has been dropped by the main bunch (km 64).
1. Grega Bole (Lampre) 4 points
2. Remy Di Gregorio (Astana) 2 pt
3. Sergio Paulinho (RadioShack)1 pt.
Km 61 - Laurens Ten Dam and Grega Bole were caught.
The peloton, led by Astana riders, was closing in on the five escapees when three of them called it a day, leaving Ten Dam and Bole in the front.
Eros Capecchi (Liquigas) just called it quits.
The peloton, led by polka-dot jersey holder Remi Pauriol FDJ), is nearing: 15 seconds.
Ten Dam, Minard, Roelandts, Santaromita and Bole lead the bunch by 20 seconds.
1. Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) 7 points
2. Jurgen Roelandts (OLO) 5 pts 10 secs
3. Sebastien Minard (AG2R) 3 pts
4. Ivan Santaromita (BMC) 2 pts
5. Grega Bole (Lampre) 1 pt all same time.
The peloton is now 20 seconds behind the four escapees, and eight seconds behind Grivko. Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) is leading the way.
The peloton split in several groups in the climb.
The escapees and the peloton are in the Cote des Tuilieres (2nd cat, km 47.5).
Km 44.5 - Roelandts and Santaromita joined Minard and Ten Dam in the lead. Grivko was dropped. The peloton 50 seconds behind.
Jurgen Roelandts (OLO), Andriy Grivko (Astana) and Ivan Santaromita (BMC) are chasing behing the two escapees.
Km 43 - Sebastien Minard (AG2R) joined Laurens Ten Dam in the lead. The two hold a 10 seconds lead over the pack.
Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) is alone in the lead as the peloton enters Draguignan (Km 41.5).
The average speed in the first hour of the stage was 41.2 kph.
Km 41 - Eight Paris-Nice stages took place in Draguignan and were all won by sprinters, including Freddy Maertens and Rik Van Linden.
Draguignan was also the home of the Criterium International between 1978 and 1982 with wins by Bernard Hinault, Sean Kelly or Joop Zoetemelk. The town is also a regular fixture of the Tour du Haut Var. Last month, Thomas Voeckler built his success in the race here.
Km 35 - Vladimir Gusev (Katusha) attacks but is quickly reined in.
1. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo) 3 seconds 3 points
2. Tony Gallopin (Cofidis) 2 seconds 2 points
3. Brice Feillu (Leopard Trek) 1 second 1 point.
Renaud Dion (Bretagne-Schuller) staged a brief attempt.
Geoffroy Lequatre (RadioShack) juts gave up. In local daily Nice Matin, the Frenchman, who lives in the area, warned this could be a tough stage.
AG2R team director Vincent Lavenu is confident his leader Jean-Christophe Peraud can take advantage of attacks on the stage today: "Now the team is going to back Jean-Christophe as much as possible to take him a in good position at the foot of the climbs and avoid being trapped. We’re also going to try and put a few riders to the front as there are stages up for grabs. I believe some teams will need to attack. It’s especially true with RadioShack, who have a few riders close to the top and Jean-Christophe could take advantage of it."
Km 16 - Grega Bole (Lampre) just surged from the peloton.
Nicholas Roche (AG2R) pointed out on his Twitter page that he knew the stage finale very well: Tomorows stage takes me back to biot, my old training roads! Mother and brothers at the finish! Looking foward to seeing them
Tomas Vaitkus (Astana) was the first rider to attack. He was reined in at kilometre 12.
In l’Equipe, Philippe Bouvet forecasts attacks by Alexandre Vinokourov in today’s hilly stage:
“With three RadioShack riders (Kloeden, Leipheimer, Brajkovic) in the top seven, Team Highroad will have to control an animated race in which Vinokourov, far down in the GC – 45th at 6:40 – has certainly not given up and is quite capable of setting fire on the winding roads of the backcountry or Sunday in the nervous Col d’Eze stage.”
Km 7 - The peloton ride at a very fast tempo.
French champion Thomas Voeckler told daily Aujourd’hui why he missed the start time of yesterday’s time trial. “I came 20 seconds late at the start which is not very professional,” he said, explaining he had lost time while his bike was being checked for conformity.
On his Twitter page, Bradley Wiggins paid homage to Tony Martin, who beat him in yesterday’s 27-kms titme trial in Aix: Sometimes you get beaten by a better bike rider, Tony Martin congrats mate.
Winner of yesterday’s 27-kms time trial in Aix-en-Provence, Tony Martin (THR) took the yellow jersey away from Andreas Kloeden (RadioShack), who now trails him by 36 seconds. Briton Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) is now third 39 seconds adrift. The polka-dot jersey remains on the back of France’s Remi Pauriol (FDJ), who has five climbs today – 38 points at stake - to strengthen his 14 points lead over in-form Dutchman Lieuwe Westra (Vacnasoleil). The points classification is still led by Australia’s Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Cervelo), who leads Dutchman Thomas de Gendt (Vacansoleil) by 18 points. The best young rider is now Finn Rein Taaramae (Cofidis). RadioShack are leading the team classification.
Two Paris-Nice stages started from Brignoles. In 1995, the stage going to Mandelieu- La Napoule was won by Swiss Pascal Richard. In 2007, the stage finished in Cannes and was won by Luis-Leon Sanchez. A Tour de France stage in 2009 finished in Brignoles and went to Mark Cavendish.
Cote des Tuilieres (2nd cat, km 47.5), Cote du Mont Meaulx (3rd cat, km 63), Cote de Cabris (1st cat, Km 102.5), Col du Ferrier (1st cat, km 112.5), Cote de Gourdon (2nd cat, km 151).
Lorgues (km 30.5), Biot-Sophia Antipolis (km 178).
The start was given in the rain to 159 riders.
Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil), Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) and Daniele Righi (Lampre) do not start.
Riders at the start are observing a minute’s silence in homage to the victims of the Japan earthquake.
The wind is very strong on the course today.
Welcome on the 215-kms 7th stage of Paris-Nice between Brignoles and Biot-Sophia Antipolis, the longest in the race this year.