Paris-Nice: Page 42

Thursday’s EuroFile: Great expectations; Tour, Vuelta name wild-cards; Vino skips Paris-Nice

Alejandro Valverde, the Spanish sensation who’s getting cartloads of hype back home, admits he’s starting to feel the pressure still four months away from the start of the Tour de France. Valverde, who nipped Lance Armstrong in a climbing stage up Courchevel before abandoning his Tour debut last year, said he hopes he can live up to expectations among Spanish fans and media. “I am starting to note the pressure, and to tell the truth, I am a little scared, but I am working so that everything turns out okay.” Valverde told the Spanish sports daily Marca. Valverde has been unofficially

Wednesday’s EuroFile: New look for Paris-Nice; Tirreno-Adriatico adds TT

Wide-open Paris-Nice routeHoping to live up to its name as the "Race to the Sun," Paris-Nice organizers revealed a 2006 route that skirts the snowy Massif Central and avoids summit finishes in an attempt to avoid course closures that have plagued recent editions. Instead - with seven stages and an opening prologue - the 2006 edition will drive down the Rhone Valley in search of good weather. Organizers from the Societe du Tour de France have also removed a long time trial to ensure what they hope will be a fight right to the finish. Following recent tradition, the course will open with a

Posthuma wins at Paris-Nice; Julich in yellow

Bobby Julich (Team CSC) advanced one day closer to the most important victory of his career after safely negotiating Saturday’s potentially dangerous 184km, six-climb stage into Cannes. Big Dutchman Joost Posthuma (Rabobank) took an impressive solo victory after dropping the remnants of the winning break on the day’s final climb at the Col du Tanneron with 20km to go. Julich, meanwhile, rode inside the protective cocoon of Bjarne Riis’s big red machine and enjoyed a relatively easy sunny ride through France’s stunning Var region. Jens Voigt muscled up the Cat. 2 Tanneron to reel in some

Simoni wins, Julich dons yellow at Paris-Nice

Bobby Julich went to bed last night joking to Team CSC roommate Jens Voigt about their prospects of snagging the maillot jaune in Friday’s 172.5km climbing stage up Mont Faron at Paris-Nice. “I said, ‘If one of us doesn’t come home today with the yellow jersey, we’re both sleeping on the floor,’” said the 33-year-old Julich. They’ll both get a very good sleep thanks to Julich, who surged into the leader’s jersey after holding off late attacks by Spanish rivals Alejandro Valverde (Illes Balears) and Constantine Zaballa (Saunier Duval) on the upper reaches of Mont Faron. Julich started the

Cancellera wins stage, leader’s jersey at Paris-Nice

The winds of change blew through Paris-Nice in Thursday’s weather-shortened fourth stage as the peloton traded winter for the mistral. Lance Armstrong packed it in as cold and snow forced organizers to shorten the third stage in a row, but the peloton was back in shorts after the race moved into warmer climes of the Rhone valley. Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo) put down a Herculean sprint to beat veteran Jaan Kirsipuu (Credit Agricole) against a strong headwind into Montélimar while Bobby Julich (CSC) surged into contention after sneaking into the winning break late in the 101km

Reynes wins snowy stage at Paris-Nice

In what was great weather to go skiing in central France on Wednesday, the Paris-Nice bicycle stage doggedly pushed on despite frigid temperatures and snowy roads that forced organizers to shorten a stage for the second straight day. With snow piled four-feet deep alongside the road, race organizers had no choice but to cut the stage from 174km to 118km and eliminate the highest, snow-covered reaches of the course. Despite an early breakaway that included Floyd Landis (Phonak) and defending champion Jörg Jaksche (Liberty Seguros), the sprinters once again drove it home. Vicente Reynes (Illes

Armstrong abandons Paris-Nice

Lance Armstrong has dropped out of Paris-Nice, reportedly suffering from a sore throat and fever. "Lance woke up this morning with a sore throat and with the cold weather, he began to feel worse throughout the day," Discovery Channel director Johan Bruyneel said. "By the time we got back to the hotel, he was running a fever and we thought it best that he should withdraw and go home," he added. Armstrong had ridden an undistinguished race, finishing 99th on Wednesday’s stage, the second consecutive stage of the so-called "Race to the Sun" to be shortened in response to wintry temperatures

Boonen takes weather-shortened stage at Paris-Nice

Belgium's Tom Boonen, of the Quick Step team, on Tuesday won the second stage of the Paris-Nice cycling race, reduced to 45km between Aigueperse and Thiers in central France because of snow. The 24-year-old, who had also won the first stage, earned the leader's jersey because of the bonus points he picked up. The Belgian rider finished several lengths ahead of Norway's Kurt-Asle Arvesen and Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych. While Boonen said it had been a good try out for the Milan-San Remo classic later this month he added that taking the overall lead did not put him in pole

Boonen takes first stage at Paris-Nice

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) won stage 1 of Paris-Nice on Monday, sprinting to victory ahead of a peloton that had been cracked into thirds by a pair of crashes in the final kilometers. Chilly weather, with temperatures barely above freezing, greeted the Race to the Sun as the peloton set off on the 186.5km stage, a relatively flat affair from the Parisian suburb of Etampes south to Chabris, with only the very small Category 3 Cote de Graviers at 10km to stretch the legs. American Fred Rodriguez (Davitamon) took the first intermediate sprint at 42km, edging Rabobank's Erik Dekker and

Voigt wows ’em at Paris-Nice prologue

Jens Voigt (CSC) ripped the short, 4km prologue Sunday to win the Paris-Nice opener and earned the distinction of being the first winner on cycling’s new ProTour while six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong played it safe 27 seconds slower. Voigt was the hottest thing going on a sunny, but cold day in the Parisian suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux to kick off the season-long ProTour series with the 63rd Paris-Nice. The concise course featured a short punchy climb to start and some tight corners, but it was the on-form Voigt who delivered the winning ride of 5 minutes, 15 seconds. Tour