Rebellin wins P-N; Sanchez takes finale

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) survived a flurry of attacks to win the 66th edition of Paris-Nice on Sunday after

Sanchez wins breathtaking finale

Davide Rebellin dons the final yellow jersey of the 2008 Paris-Nice.

Davide Rebellin dons the final yellow jersey of the 2008 Paris-Nice.

Photo: AFP

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) survived a flurry of attacks to win the 66th edition of Paris-Nice on Sunday after Luis-León Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne) took the slimmest of victories in the final stage around Nice.

Rebellin, who saw the leader’s jersey slip away to Alberto Contador in the finale last year, was delighted to have held onto it this time around.

“Yes, I finally managed to win. Last year was very disappointing when I lost the yellow jersey on the last day. I didn’t want to have it end like that again,” he said. “My team was rock solid. I only had a few seconds in my favor, but it was enough to win. I am very happy.”

The stage winner, Sanchez, had hoped to claim that garment for himself, but it wasn’t to be.

“I came to Paris-Nice with the intention of winning, but the Ventoux was too hard for me and it spoiled my chances,” said Sanchez. “After that, we focused on the last two stages to try to win a stage. Yesterday I went too early in the sprint, but today I felt strong again and just decided to attack in the final kilometers rather than wait for the sprint. The headwinds were awful, but I had just enough to win.”

The seventh and final stage, which featured three cat. 1 climbs, was trimmed by 6.5km to 115km due to a landslide on the descent of the cat. 1 La Turbie. A small detour took the peloton to the final climb up Col d’Eze.

An early break saw a huge mob go clear at 14km — as things were sorted out, the break shrank a bit to Remy Pauriol (Crédit Agricole), Paulo Possoni (Lampre), Jose Benitez (Saunier Duval-Scott), mountains king Clément Lhotellerie (Skil-Shimano), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Ivan Santaromita and Michael Albasini (Liquigas), Bobby Julich (CSC), Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues Telecom), Hubert Dupont (Ag2r), Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step), Trent Lowe (Slipstream-Chipotle), Alberto Losada Alguacil (Caisse d’Epargne), I and Jurgen Van den Broecke (Silence-Lotto).

Second-placed Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r) and white jersey Robert Gesink (Rabobank) crashed on a sharp right-hander on the descent of the cat. 1 Col de la Porte, but the bunch, led by Ag2r and Gerolsteiner, sat up to wait for them.

Clément Lhotellerie (Skil-Shimano) has a go off the front.

Photo: Graham Watson

Ahead, Lhotellerie attacked the break — Cunego tried to follow, then gave it up as a bad job, leaving the mountains king free to take a gap of more than a minute over the summit of La Turbie with 27km to go. The peloton was a minute further behind.

The pursuit fractured further on the Col d’Eze as Ag2r drove the main bunch, hoping to spring Nocentini into the overall lead; he sat just three seconds behind race leader Rebellin. But the first rider to leap away was sixth-placed Sanchez (1:24 down), who was immediately chased down by the yellow jersey.

Going over the top, Lhotellerie was joined by Benitez, who had attacked out of the first chase group; the mountains king had a hard time holding his wheel as the two drove down the other side toward the finish.

Behind, third-placed Yaroslav Popovych (Silence-Lotto) took a huge dig, but Rebellin was not caught out. Then Sanchez went again, this time taking an immediate gap on the fast descent, leaving the Rebellin-Nocentini group in his dust and reeling in the remnants of the original break.

Luis-León Sanchez takes a breathtaking final-stage victory in Nice.

Photo: AFP

With 4km to go, the Sanchez group had swept up the two leaders — and then the Caisse d’Epargne rider jumped again, rocketing up the right side of the road, sweeping at speed through a hard right-hand corner and taking an immediate gap onto the Promenade des Anglais.

With 1km to ride, Sanchez was on his own, looking over his shoulder and frantically punching the pedals as the chase bore down upon him.

And they would have had him, too — if they had only a few more feet of road. But Sanchez managed to hold off the late charge by Maxime Monfort (Cofidis) and Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) to take the stage, while Rebellin finished with the bunch to win the overall by just three seconds over Nocentini, the smallest gap ever in the history of the Race to the Sun.

Rebellin praised his teammates for their hard work in the finale and said he was delighted to win.

“I am very pleased to have landed this title, having previously come so close. It was very tough but we managed to ward off attacks and controlled the race well. I’ve already won two beautiful races this season, and I now hope to grab a nice classic like the ones I’ve won in the past.

“I’m at an age when most guys retire, but I still love the excitement of racing and I don’t making the sacrifices it takes to win. This victory shows that I can still be competitive at the top level. I was planning on retiring next year, but if I keep winning, who knows?”

The final podium at the 2008 Paris-Nice.

The final podium at the 2008 Paris-Nice.

Photo: Graham Watson

Race notes

Overall winner: Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner)
Winner: Luis-León Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne) wins career-first Paris-Nice stage
Climber: Clément L’Hotellerie (Skil-Shimano)
Points: Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole)
Youth: Robert Gesink (Rabobank)
Team: Quick Step
Americans: Bobby Julich (CSC), 26th overall at 27:33; Danny Pate (Slipstream-Chipotle), 58th at 53:33; Lucas Euser (Slipstream-Chipotle), 83rd at 1:34:22
Peloton: 86 finishers

Editor’s note: VeloNews European correspondent Andrew Hood and Agence France Presse contributed to this report. To see how the stage unfolded, click here to bring up our Live Update Window.

Photo Gallery


Paris-Nice: Stage 7

1. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne), 2:51:12

2. Maxime Monfort (Cofidis), same time

3. Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), s.t.

4. Christophe Moreau (Agritubel), at 0:05

5. Alexander Efimkin (Quick Step), s.t.

6. Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step), s.t.

7. Simon Spilak (Lampre), s.t.

8. Alexandre Botcharov (Crédit Agricole), s.t.

9. Peter Velits (Team Milram), s.t.

10. José Benitez (Saunier Duval-Scott), s.t.

11. Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues Telecom), s.t.

12. Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom), s.t.

13. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), s.t.

14. Aurélien Passeron (Saunier Duval-Scott), s.t.

15. Pierre Rolland (Crédit Agricole), s.t.

16. Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), s.t.

17. Yaroslav Popovych (Silence-Lotto), s.t.

18. Manuel Garate Juan (Quick Step), s.t.

19. Dmitriy Fofonov (Crédit Agricole), s.t.

20. Rémi Pauriol (Crédit Agricole), s.t.

21. Mathieu Perget (Caisse d’Epargne), s.t.

22. Alberto Losada Alguacil (Caisse d’Epargne), s.t.

23. Bobby Julich (Team CSC), s.t.

24. Oliver Zaugg (Gerolsteiner), s.t.

25. Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), s.t.

26. Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), s.t.

27. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale), s.t.

28. Trent Lowe (Slipstream-Chipotle), s.t.

29. Robert Gesink (Rabobank), s.t.

30. David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne), s.t.

31. Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi), s.t.

32. Clément Lhotellerie (Skil-Shimano), s.t.

33. Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner), s.t.

34. Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), s.t.

35. Hubert Dupont (Ag2r-La Mondiale), s.t.

36. Damiano Cunego (Lampre), at 0:12

37. Kjell Carlström (Liquigas), at 0:35

38. Chris Sorensen (Team CSC), at 0:36

39. Danny Pate (Slipstream-Chipotle), at 0:36

40. Stephane Goubert (Ag2r-La Mondiale), s.t.

41. Sébastien Minard (Cofidis), at 3:29

42. Bingen Fernandez (Cofidis), s.t.

43. Amaël Moinard (Cofidis), s.t.

44. Yann Huguet (Cofidis), s.t.

45. Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), s.t.

46. Morris Possoni (High Road), s.t.

47. Alexandr Kolobnev (Team CSC), s.t.

48. Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux), s.t.

49. Karsten Kroon (Team CSC), s.t.

50. Matthew Lloyd (Silence-Lotto), s.t.

51. Michael Albasini (Liquigas), at 5:05

52. Mirco Lorenzetto (Lampre), s.t.

53. Jens Voigt (Team CSC), s.t.

54. Ivan Santaromita (Liquigas), s.t.

55. Luis Arrieta Jose (Ag2r-La Mondiale), s.t.

56. Anthony Charteau (Caisse d’Epargne), at 9:14

57. David Lopez Garcia (Caisse d’Epargne), s.t.

58. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence-Lotto), s.t.

59. Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole), s.t.

60. Claudio Corioni (Liquigas), s.t.

61. Wilfried Cretskens (Quick Step), at 15:08

62. Josep Jufre Pou (Saunier Duval-Scott), s.t.

63. Ralf Grabsch (Team Milram), s.t.

64. Björn Schröder (Team Milram), s.t.

65. Floris Goesinnen (Skil-Shimano), s.t.

66. Aitor Hernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), s.t.

67. Benat Intxausti (Saunier Duval-Scott), s.t.

68. Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano), s.t.

69. Koos Moerenhout (Rabobank), s.t.

70. Marc De Maar (Rabobank), s.t.

71. Christophe Laurent (Slipstream-Chipotle), s.t.

72. Christian Vande Velde (Slipstream-Chipotle), s.t.

73. Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre), s.t.

74. Yoann Le Boulanger (Française des Jeux), s.t.

75. Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), s.t.

76. Benoît Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux), s.t.

77. Christophe Le Mevel (Crédit Agricole), s.t.

78. Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel), s.t.

79. Christophe Edaleine (Ag2r-La Mondiale), s.t.

80. Cyril Dessel (Ag2r-La Mondiale), s.t.

81. Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank), s.t.

82. Nicolas Jalabert (Agritubel), s.t.

83. Nicolas Vogondy (Agritubel), s.t.

84. Lucas Euser (Slipstream-Chipotle), s.t.

85. Nicolas Portal (Caisse d’Epargne), s.t.

86. Niki Terpstra (Team Milram,), at 20:05

Final overall

1. Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner), 29:02:48

2. Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2r-La Mondiale), at 0:03

3. Yaroslav Popovych (Silence-Lotto), at 0:48

4. Robert Gesink (Rabobank), at 0:51

5. Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne), at 1:09

6. Manuel Garate Juan (Quick Step), at 1:12

7. Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel-Euskadi), at 2:17

8. Carlos Barredo (Quick Step), at 2:24

9. Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), at 2:39

10. Alexander Efimkin (Quick Step), at 3:21

11. Clément Lhotellerie (Skil-Shimano), at 4:11

12. Simon Spilak (Lampre), at 4:23

13. Pierre Rolland (Crédit Agricole), at 4:42

14. Maxime Monfort (Cofidis), at 5:24

15. Christophe Moreau (Agritubel), at 7:22

16. Cadel Evans (Silence-Lotto), at 7:31

17. Damiano Cunego (Lampre), at 7:48

18. Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues Telecom), at 10:00

19. Alexandre Botcharov (Crédit Agricole), at 13:08

20. Trent Lowe (Slipstream-Chipotle), at 13:53

21. Yann Huguet (Cofidis), at 16:37

22. Alberto Losada Alguacil (Caisse d’Epargne), at 19:05

23. Michael Albasini (Liquigas), at 19:36

24. Dmitriy Fofonov (Crédit Agricole), at 25:55

25. Karsten Kroon (Team CSC), at 26:50

26. Bobby Julich (Team CSC), at 27:33

27. David Arroyo (Caisse d’Epargne), at 28:02

28. Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi), at 29:54

29. Luis Arrieta Jose (Ag2r-La Mondiale), at 30:39

30. Haimar Zubeldia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), at 32:15

31. Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux), at 33:07

32. Hubert Dupont (Ag2r-La Mondiale), at 33:18

33. Matteo Tosatto (Quick Step), at 34:44

34. Aurélien Passeron (Saunier Duval-Scott), at 36:13

35. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Silence-Lotto), at 36:33

36. Stephane Goubert (Ag2r-La Mondiale), at 37:25

37. Matthew Lloyd (Silence-Lotto), at 37:44

38. Kjell Carlström (Liquigas), at 38:08

39. Bernhard Kohl (Gerolsteiner), at 38:43

40. Chris Sorensen (Team CSC), at 38:55

41. Oliver Zaugg (Gerolsteiner), at 41:48

42. Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank), at 42:15

43. Christophe Le Mevel (Crédit Agricole), at 42:49

44. Ivan Santaromita (Liquigas), at 43:17

45. Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux), at 43:34

46. David Lopez Garcia (Caisse d’Epargne), at 43:35

47. Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel), at 43:39

48. Nicolas Jalabert (Agritubel), at 44:30

49. Josep Jufre Pou (Saunier Duval-Scott), at 45:47

50. Mirco Lorenzetto (Lampre), at 45:53

51. Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole), at 46:00

52. Jens Voigt (Team CSC), at 47:10

53. Paolo Tiralongo (Lampre), at 48:37

54. Nicolas Portal (Caisse d’Epargne), at 50:30

55. Alexandr Kolobnev (Team CSC), at 52:15

56. Christian Vande Velde (Slipstream-Chipotle), at 52:16

57. Stefan Schumacher (Gerolsteiner), at 53:07

58. Danny Pate (Slipstream-Chipotle), at 53:33

59. José Benitez (Saunier Duval-Scott), at 53:48

60. Morris Possoni (High Road), at 54:03

61. Rémi Pauriol (Crédit Agricole), at 54:08

62. Peter Velits (Team Milram), at 55:52

63. Xavier Florencio (Bouygues Telecom), at 57:00

64. Claudio Corioni (Liquigas), at 58:01

65. Mathieu Perget (Caisse d’Epargne), at 1:03:34

66. Wilfried Cretskens (Quick Step), at 1:03:43

67. Christophe Laurent (Slipstream-Chipotle), at 1:05:12

68. Benoît Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux), at 1:06:57

69. Benat Intxausti (Saunier Duval-Scott), at 1:08:25

70. Marc De Maar (Rabobank), at 1:10:19

71. Sébastien Minard (Cofidis), at 1:11:52

72. Bingen Fernandez (Cofidis), at 1:12:24

73. Yoann Le Boulanger (Française des Jeux), at 1:13:21

74. Amaël Moinard (Cofidis), at 1:13:44

75. Cyril Dessel (Ag2r-La Mondiale), at 1:15:30

76. Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano), at 1:18:25

77. Koos Moerenhout (Rabobank), at 1:25:49

78. Anthony Charteau (Caisse d’Epargne), at 1:25:56

79. Niki Terpstra (Team Milram), at 1:28:50

80. Floris Goesinnen (Skil-Shimano), at 1:29:30

81. Ralf Grabsch (Team Milram), at 1:29:39

82. Nicolas Vogondy (Agritubel), at 1:32:12

83. Lucas Euser (Slipstream-Chipotle), at 1:34:22

84. Aitor Hernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), at 1:35:36

85. Björn Schröder (Team Milram), at 1:38:19

86. Christophe Edaleine (Ag2r-La Mondiale), at 1:51:45