Six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong opens his 2005 campaign in Paris-Nice on Sunday when professional cycling enters a new era – that of the 20-team, 27-race ProTour. This will be Armstrong's first start in Paris-Nice since 1999, when he used the race as a training run on the way to returning to Paris in July as winner of his first Tour. He finished second to Laurent Jalabert in 1996 when riding for Motorola and won a stage in 1995. Armstrong’s Discovery Channel line-up includes Viatcheslav Ekimov, Yaroslav Popovych and Paolo Savoldelli, the 2002 Giro d'Italia winner, who
CSC team manager Bjarne Riis was credited as the master tactician of this year’s edition of Paris-Nice as his team took three of the top four spots in the final overall standings after Sunday’s eighth and final stage was won by T-Mobile's Alexander Vinokourov. The 27-year-old Jaksche, from Germany, took control of the race on the opening day's time trial and retained the leader's yellow jersey throughout mainly thanks to his team's support and wily tactics. CSC also had American Bobby Julich finish third and German Jens Voigt take fourth place. It is the second major win of the season for
Alexander Vinokourov (T-Mobile), winner at Paris-Nice for the last two years, clinched his second win of the 2004 race with a fine solo effort in the seventh stage on Saturday. The 30-year-old from Kazakhstan broke away on the seafront of Cannes, 6km from the finish of the 185.5km stage from Dignes-les-Bains to Cannes, chased down Spaniard Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) – who had attacked at the summit of the Col du Tanneron, the last of the day's climbs, 20km from the finish – and brought the victory home in style, 18 seconds ahead of Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen (Fassa Bortolo).
A cagey Denis Menchov (Illes Baleares) held his fire until the final kilometers, then took his best shot, chasing down and outsprinting a three-man breakaway on the Col de Manse to claim the 173.5km sixth stage of Paris-Nice race from Rasteau to Gap on Friday. The threesome of Spaniard Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi), American Floyd Landis (U.S. Postal) and Belgian Dave Bruylandts (Chocolade Jacques) had surged ahead on the final climb, some 10km from the line. But Menchov leapt from the first chase group to join the trio, then pipped them at the finish in a four-up dash to the line.
Two-time defending champion Alexandre Vinokourov dedicated his win in the 215km fifth stage of Paris-Nice to his friend Andrei Kivilev who was killed in last year's event. "It's fantastic. I wanted to win for him," said the 30-year-old Kazakh rider of the stage he was determined to win in memory of compatriot Kivilev, who died after a fall on March 11, 2003. Winner of the last two editions of Paris-Nice, Vinokourov missed a key break on Monday and now sits more than five minutes down in the overall standings. But on Thursday, Vinokourov managed to join a key CSC-driven break that resembled
Snow has forced the cancellation of the fourth stage of Paris-Nice, a planned 179km race through the mountainous Loire and Auvergne regions of central France Wednesday. Race director Jean-Marie Leblanc said conditions on the day's biggest climb, the Category 2 Col de la Croix de l'Homme Mort, made racing unsafe. "It's minus four degrees (Celsius) on Col de la Croix de l'Homme Mort, the road is wet and the snow is still falling," said Leblanc after the start time was pushed back twice before finally being cancelled. German CSC rider Jörg Jaksche holds the overall race lead with a six-second
Lotto's Leon van Bon won the third stage of Paris-Nice, a 229km ride between Chapelle-Saint-Ursin and Roanne on Tuesday, finishing just ahead of Gerolsteiner's Thomas Ziegler. Van Bon and Ziegler slipped off the front of the field just before the 30km mark and built up a lead that peaked at more 13 minutes at one point. The two finished just ahead of the main field, nearly 200km after their initial escape. Quick Step's Tom Boonen won the field sprint 25 seconds after the two leaders crossed the line. German CSC rider Jörg Jaksche retained the overall race lead with a six-second advantage
It was a day of heavy damage in Monday’s second stage of Paris-Nice. No, no one crashed, but a half-dozen favorites were all-but-eliminated when Team CSC and U.S. Postal Service collaborated to drive a deep five-minute wedge into the eight-day race. Five Postals and the entire CSC team drove a lead group of 36 into Montargis in the windy 166.5km stage across rolling farmland south of Paris. Spanish rider Pedro Horrillo (Quick Step) rejoiced in his most important victory of his career while two-time defending champion Alexandre Vinokourov (T-Mobile), Erik Dekker (Rabobank), Laurent
Italy's Danilo Di Luca (Saeco) won the 169km fourth stage of the Tour of Murcia in Collado Bermejo on Saturday. The stage finished with a climb up the Marco Pantani Hill, named in honor of the Italian cyclist who died last month, and as Di Luca crossed the line he pointed his finger towards the sky in memory of his compatriot to claim the stage in 4:25:34. Di Luca overtook Alejandro Valverde (Kelme), Australia's Cadel Evans (T-Mobile) and compatriot Leonardo Piepoli (Saunier Duval) to win the stage; for his part, Valverde stripped the leader's jersey from compatriot Ivan Gutierrez (Illes
Former world Madison champion Robert Sassone, who is being investigated after drugs were found at his home, tested positive for a steroid derivative last year, officials announced Tuesday. Traces of betamethasone, a glucocorticosteroid, were found in Sassone's urine sample after the Six Days of Noumea race, which was held in the French Pacific territory from November 28 to December 3. The use of glucocorticosteroids, which are used to treat asthma, is strictly limited under the rules of cycling. In January, a French judge took the first step towards formal charges against the 25-year-old