Top five placings in the 1st stage of Paris-Nice, a 9.4-kms individual time trial between Dampierre-en-Yvelines and St Remy-les-Chevreuse:
1. Gustav Larsson (VCD) 11 minutes and 19 seconds
2. Bradley Wiggins (SKY) one second behind
3. Levi Leipheimer (OPQ) four secs behind
4. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) nine secs behind
5. Thomas De Gendt (VCD) 12 secs behind
Sweden’s Gustav Larsson (VCD) won the 9.4-kms 1st stage of Paris-Nice in 11:19. Briton Bradley Wiggins was second, one second behind and American Levi Leipheimer was third, four seconds adrift.
Disappointment for Tony Martin, who clocks 11:41.
Bradley Wiggins (SKY) clocks second fastest time, one second behind Larsson. Would Brad have won without the rain?
Rain is falling more steadily now and some pay the price. Jean-Christophe Peraud, for instance, crashed after missing a turn.
Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) sets the third best time in 11:29 and will end the day in the lead of the young rider’s classifcation.
Last year’s winner Tony Martin (OPQ) just started. He is the logical favourite in spite of the rain.
Ivan Basso (LIQ) finishes in an average time of 12:03.
11:35 for Tom Boonen and a sign that the Belgian is in excellent shape. A man to watch in the sprints to come, obviously.
Frank Schleck fares just a little bit better than his brother Andy in 12:13.
The race had been spared by the rain so far but the first rain drops appear on the finish line.
Australian Richie Porte (SKY) is on course. The Tour of Algarve winner would be a clear favourite today without a bit of flu.
Andy Schleck either took it easy or is still seeking his best form. He finishes more than a minute behind Larsson in 12:21.
Even though he was ousted from top spot by Gustav Larsson, Thomas De Gendt retained his fastest time on top of the Cote des Dix-Sept Tournants in 2:57 and is still the virtual polka-dot jersey holder. Belgian Bart De Clercq is second in the same second.
Andy Schleck (RNT) just started. This time trial will be a good test of his current form.
A disappointing 13th time for Phinney in 11:38.
American Levi Leipheimer, currently second behind Gustav Larsson, made it clear Tony Martin was the undisputed Omega Pharma-Quick Step team leader:
“I was hoping for a better result. But it’s all
right. To me the team leader is Tony, he won last year and he hold the number
one bib. A lot of things can happen during the race and it can be possible to
build a little gap before the last stage that should suit Tony and me ideally. “
Taylor Phinney (BMC) is on course.
Taaramae, 4th last year, has big ambitions this season: “I always dreamt of winning this race. It’s like a mini Tour de
France with a bit of mountain and a bit of time trial. This year is ideal for
me with no big mountains and reasonably short time trials”.
Levi Leipheimer is second in 11:23.
Taaramae tied with Chavanel in 11:32.
Sweden’s Gustav Larsson told France Television he was not too optmistic about his chances to stay in the front:
“I think it will be difficult to keep the lead.
I know other guys are really fast. But I know for sure I gave everything. Guys like
Tony Martin or Levi Leipheimer are also fast. We will see.”
Olympic time trial silver-medallist Gustav Larsson (VCD) sets the fastest time in 11:19. The Swede improves De Gendt’s time by 12 seconds.
Estonia’s Rein Taaramae, the best young rider last year, is on course.
11:36 for Hushovd at the finish, five seconds off De Gendt’s pace.
Thor Hushovd (BMC), winner of the 2008 prologue in Amilly, is now on course. He sets a good time on the climb in 3:03.
Rain was the big scare of the riders at the start but the weather and the road are remaining dry so far.
Reasonably disappointing time by Alejandro Valverde (MOV) in 11:49.
Thomas de Gendt (VAC) is still in the lead in 11:31, with a one-second lead over Sylvain Chavanel and three seconds over Remi Pauriol (FDJ).
Chavanel was expecting for his time to be beaten: "We decided to spread our leaders in the start list because you never know what can happen with the rain. It’s a good TT for me but the last five kilometres will suit specialists and riders like Tony Martin will easily improve my time."
Thomas de Gendt (VAC) improves Chavanel’s time by one second in 11:31.
Thomas de Gendt (VAC) is fastest on the Cote des Dix-Sept
Tournants in 2:58. Reminder he won the first stage last year.
In 11:32, France’s Sylvain Chavanel sets the fastest finishing time. He was aso fastest on the climb in 3:00.
New fastest time for
Maarten Wynants (RAB) 11:46
Samuel Dumoulin (COF) is currently the fastest at the top of the climb in 3:02.
Former track specialist Michael Morkov of Denmark (SAX) improves the fastest time in 11:54.
Thomas Dekker (GRM) is the first rider under 12 minutes in 11:56.
Menchov (KAT) finishes in 12:01.
L’Equipe singles out American Taylor Phinney as one of the favourites for today’s TT.
“He is very motivated by all the TT’s even though it would have been better for him without a hill,” his BMC team director told L’Equipe.
Also in l’Equipe, Philippe Bouvet points out that the profile of this Paris-Nice is a summary of the next Tour de France: “It’s a summary evoking in a sense the characteristics of the next Tour de France, in which middle mountain and time trials will be predominant.”
In Le Journal du dimanche, Thomas Voeckler, the French hero of the last Tour makes it clear he does no take Paris-Nice lightly.
“It is out of the question to wait for July. I have respect for the whole of the season, no for just one race,” he said.
His Europcar team director Dominique Arnould is also convinced Voeckler can be at his best: “Nothing is impossible with him. He has become aware of his great abilities. He will be on the attack this week.”
Alexandre Geniez is the first finisher in 12:10.
2010 – Lars
Boom 2009 – Alberto Contador 2008 – Thor Hushovd 2007 – David Millar 2006 –
One of the favourites to have chosen an early start, Russian Denis Menchov has just gone. He finished 12th in his last Paris-Nice and won a stage in Gap.
Alexandre Geniez (PRO) just started. The 70th Paris-Nice is underway.
A polka-dot jersey will be awarded at the end of the stage since the course includes a 3rd category climb, Cote des Dix-Sept tournants.
France’s Alexandre Geniez (PRO) will be the first starter at 12:10.
The weather is cloudy on the race and rain could be a factor. Some favourites have chosen to start early to avoid downpours.
Welcome on the first stage of the 70th Paris-Nice, a 9.4-kms time trial between Dampierre-en-Yvelines and St Remy-les-Chevreuse.