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Mercury-Viatel stays hot at Paris-Nice

Jans Koerts strengthened Mercury-Viatel’s case for a start in the Tour de France this year by giving the U.S. team its second consecutive stage win Wednesday in the high-speed run down the Rhone Valley to Villeneuve les Avignon. His teammate Peter Van Petegem conserved the leader's white jersey. Koerts received a fine leadout from his teammate Fabrizio Guidi to finish more than a length ahead of Jean-Patrick Nazon and Germany's Danilo Hondo, at the end of a stage run at close to a 30mph average thanks to a strong tailwind. This is Koerts' third win of the season after winning two stages of

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By William Fotheringham, VeloNews Correspondent

Koerts notched another win for Mercury

Koerts notched another win for Mercury

Photo: Graham Watson

The peloton sped along the Rhone

The peloton sped along the Rhone

Photo: Graham Watson

Jans Koerts strengthened Mercury-Viatel’s case for a start in the Tour de France this year by giving the U.S. team its second consecutive stage win Wednesday in the high-speed run down the Rhone Valley to Villeneuve les Avignon. His teammate Peter Van Petegem conserved the leader’s white jersey.

Koerts received a fine leadout from his teammate Fabrizio Guidi to finish more than a length ahead of Jean-Patrick Nazon and Germany’s Danilo Hondo, at the end of a stage run at close to a 30mph average thanks to a strong tailwind.

This is Koerts’ third win of the season after winning two stages of the Tour of Langkawi. “The team gave me a perfect leadout as my biggest concern was the Nazon brothers,” he said. “Now I want to be at my best for Paris-Roubaix.”

Photo Gallery

Results

1. Jans Koerts (Nl), Mercury-Viatel, 217.9 km in 4:43:28.
2. Jean-Patrick Nazon (F), La Francaise des Jeux
3. Danilo Hondo (G), Telekom
4. Damien Nazon (F), Bonjour
5. Jo Planckaert (B), Cofidis
6. Fabrizio Guidi (I), Mercury-Viatel
7. Oscar Cavagnis (I), Saeco
8. Christophe Capelle (F), Big Mat
9. Lauri Aus (Est), AG2R
10. Stephan Schreck (G), Telekom
11. Fabian De Waele (B), Lotto-Adecco
12. Saulius Ruskis (Lit), Gerolsteiner
13. Niki Aebersold (Swi), Coast
14. Fabio Baldato (I), Fassa Bortolo
15. Andrei Tchmil (B), Lotto-Adecco
16. Patrice Halgand (F), Jean Delatour
17. Nico Mattan (B), Cofidis
18. Arvis Piziks (Lit), CSC-World Online
19. Stuart O’Grady (Aus), Credit Agricole
20. Michele Bartoli (I), Mapei-Quick Step
69. Bobby Julich (USA), Credit Agricole
106. Peter Van Petegem (B), Mercury-Viatel
107. David Millar (GB), Cofidis, all s.t.

Overall
1. Van Petegem, 15:13:03.
2. Jorg Jaksche (G), ONCE, at 0:11.
3. Raimondas Rumsas (Lit), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:15.
4. Dario Frigo (I), Fassa Bortolo, at 0:16.
5. Andrei Tchmil (B), Lotto-Adecco, at 0:27.
6. Mario Aerts (B), Lotto-Adecco, at 0:29.
7. David Moncoutie (F), Cofidis, at 0:29.
8. Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz), Telekom, at 0:33.
9. Laurent Dufaux (Swi), Saeco, at 0:33.
10. Patrice Halgand (F), Jean Delatour, at 0:36.
11. Francisco Mancebo (Sp), iBanesto.com, s.t.
12. Tobias Steinhauser (G), Gerolsteiner, at 0:39
13. Dave Bruylandts (B), Domo-Farm Frites, s.t.
14. Bartoli, at 0:45
15. Jose Azevedo (P), ONCE, at 0:46
16. Rolf Huser (Swi), Coast, at 0:57
17. Emmanuel Magnien (F), Francaise des Jeux, at 1:11
18. Stephane Heulot (F), Big Mat, at 1:12
19. Laurent Brochard (F), Jean Delatour, at 1:20
20. Bingen Fernandez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi, at 1:29
24. Julich, at 1:42.
25. Millar, at 1:48.