Valverde takes stage in breathtaking finale
By Hedwig Kröner in Nice
It was a fast and exciting last stage of Paris-Nice under the blue sky of the Mediterranean coast, and probably one of the most beautiful days in the life of Bobby Julich. Escorted to overall victory by his CSC teammates, especially by his best friend Jens Voigt, the American living in Nice told French media (in French of course) just after the finish, "I think of myself as a good wine now. I'm a better rider the older I get..."
His German friend Jens Voigt stepped onto the ceremonial podium right after Julich to take the points jersey home, because Tom Boonen leading the classification had abandoned the race. "I will be working for Jens at the upcoming Critérium International, because that will be his territory," promised Julich. The perfectly balanced teamwork at CSC is what makes this team go round, both riders declared.
The stage victory, meanwhile, went to Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde from Illes Balears, who crossed the line first after T-Mobile rider Alexandre Vinokourov and Alberto Contador from Liberty Seguros were swallowed in the final 300m by a fast-moving peloton. Valverde had repeatedly attacked on the final climb of the Col d'Eze, but still found the strength to make his win look easy. Apparently, the fatigue he admitted to Cyclingnews during the last few days had disappeared.