Bernhard Eisel (Team High Road) joined an early escape group in the first stage of Paris-Nice with a certain goal in mind, a goal he discovered he couldn't attain. Despite being disappointed with his efforts, the Austrian sprinter finished the shortened Paris-Nice stage in eighth position.
"For the first time in my career, I wanted to win the mountain jersey," Eisel noted on www.eisel.com. "Instead, I won the recognition that mountains just aren't my strength."
The stage which was shortened to 90 kilometres, because of the bad weather. The Austrian joined an early escape group which eventually came down to him and two Milram riders, Niki Terpstra and Peter Velits. The trio built up a lead of five minutes, but they were unable to stay away until the end and were reabsorbed into a following group with about 10 km to go.
Eisel was able to stay with the group, though, and hoped help a team-mate in the final. But with 300 metres to go he got cramps and that was the end of his hopes.
"Actually I wanted to set things up for a team colleague, but he wasn't feeling any better," noted Eisel. "So I rode for myself and was still able to beat Davide Rebellin - which isn't bad. It was too bad I got the cramps, otherwise I could have sprinted onto the podium."