After losing 1.34 minutes in general classification on stage five of Paris-Nice on Thursday, Sylvain Chavanel has promised to show himself in front of the peloton on one of the remaining stages of the race. The Frenchman, who has been a regular contender at the 'race to the sun' in recent years, could not live up to his own expectations on the first mountainous stage of the event due to respiratory problems.
"Are you sure you're breathing through your nose?" Chavanel revealed he was asked by Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) on the Col de la Croix-de-Chabouret, the second climb of the day. "My breathing would have annoyed more than one guy in the bunch, because I have a bad bronchitis since the Tour of Algarve. I'm taking antibiotics for five days now. Today [yesterday], I would have needed a third lung to be able to follow the best riders. But I don't want to whine..."
The Quickstep rider had to let go of the favourite climbers' group just before the top of the last climb of the day, the Cat. 1 Col de la Mûre. "I couldn't be operational to a 100 percent while under antibiotic treatment, that's all," he explained to L'Equipe. "It's not an excuse, just an explanation. Yet, I have the power, my feelings even are really good."
Chavanel thus hopes that he can still have an impact on the race on one of the last three stages, even though the overall podium in Nice may be out of reach for him now. "I haven't said my last word yet, there's still the time trial today and, above all, the hilly stage on Saturday. You will see, Paris-Nice is not over yet. I will still give it all I can, I've never neglected this race," he announced.