Skip to main content

Carlström succeeds from the breakaway

Image 1 of 51

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) gets his biggest win

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) gets his biggest win
(Image credit: AFP)
Image 2 of 51

Clément Lhottelerie (Skil-Shimano)

Clément Lhottelerie (Skil-Shimano)
(Image credit: AFP)
Image 3 of 51

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis)

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis)
(Image credit: AFP)
Image 4 of 51

Carlström overtakes Lhôtellerie

Carlström overtakes Lhôtellerie
(Image credit: AFP)
Image 5 of 51

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) gets his biggest win from the day-long breakaway which stayed clear on stage three.

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) gets his biggest win from the day-long breakaway which stayed clear on stage three.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 6 of 51

Carlström rejoices after taking the stage win in Saint Etienne.

Carlström rejoices after taking the stage win in Saint Etienne.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 7 of 51

Carlström overtakes Lhôtellerie in the final sprint.

Carlström overtakes Lhôtellerie in the final sprint.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 8 of 51

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) took over the lead on general classification after making a select chase group.

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) took over the lead on general classification after making a select chase group.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 9 of 51

Carlström was victorious giving Liquigas its first stage win of this year's Paris-Nice.

Carlström was victorious giving Liquigas its first stage win of this year's Paris-Nice.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 10 of 51

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) was able to out-sprint his French companion to take the win on stage three.

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) was able to out-sprint his French companion to take the win on stage three.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 11 of 51

Clément Lhôtellerie (Skil-Shimano) leads Carlström up the final climb.

Clément Lhôtellerie (Skil-Shimano) leads Carlström up the final climb.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 12 of 51

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) followed an attack by Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre) which succeeding in splitting the peloton on the final climb.

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) followed an attack by Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre) which succeeding in splitting the peloton on the final climb.
(Image credit: AFP Photo)
Image 13 of 51

Nice scenery for the stage.

Nice scenery for the stage.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 14 of 51

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner)

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 15 of 51

The peloton rolls along.

The peloton rolls along.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 16 of 51

The peloton with some lovely French scenery.

The peloton with some lovely French scenery.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 17 of 51

Christophe Moreau (Agritubel).

Christophe Moreau (Agritubel).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 18 of 51

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) with Clément L'Hottelerie (Skil-Shimano).

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) with Clément L'Hottelerie (Skil-Shimano).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 19 of 51

Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas)

Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 20 of 51

Josep Jufré (Saunier Duval-Scott)

Josep Jufré (Saunier Duval-Scott)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 21 of 51

Eduardo Gonzalo (Agritubel)

Eduardo Gonzalo (Agritubel)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 22 of 51

Eduardo Gonzalo (Agritubel) gives it a go.

Eduardo Gonzalo (Agritubel) gives it a go.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 23 of 51

Eduardo Gonzalo (Agritubel) with a slight gap.

Eduardo Gonzalo (Agritubel) with a slight gap.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 24 of 51

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) followed by Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis).

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) followed by Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 25 of 51

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) shows his legs with Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas).

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) shows his legs with Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 26 of 51

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) licks his lips.

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) licks his lips.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 27 of 51

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) all smiles.

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) all smiles.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 28 of 51

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) working with Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis).

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) working with Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 29 of 51

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis).

Damiano Cunego (Lampre) and Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 30 of 51

Spaniard Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) leading his team-mates.

Spaniard Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) leading his team-mates.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 31 of 51

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) wins stage 3.

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) wins stage 3.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 32 of 51

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas)

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas)
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 33 of 51

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) works for the win.

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) works for the win.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 34 of 51

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) awarded for the win.

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) awarded for the win.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 35 of 51

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) takes the overall lead.

Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) takes the overall lead.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 36 of 51

Clément Lhôtellerie (Skil Shimano)

Clément Lhôtellerie (Skil Shimano)
(Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)
Image 37 of 51

Trent Lowe (Slipstream) lost the best young rider's jersey when he crashed and lost contact with the leaders.

Trent Lowe (Slipstream) lost the best young rider's jersey when he crashed and lost contact with the leaders.
(Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)
Image 38 of 51

Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) has his last day in yellow

Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) has his last day in yellow
(Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)
Image 39 of 51

Mickaël Chérel (Française des Jeux) had to drop out due to elbow injuries.

Mickaël Chérel (Française des Jeux) had to drop out due to elbow injuries.
(Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)
Image 40 of 51

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) talks about his biggest career win.

Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) talks about his biggest career win.
(Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)
Image 41 of 51

Tour leader Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) looks up to finally see the sun.

Tour leader Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) looks up to finally see the sun.
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf/cyclingpictures.de)
Image 42 of 51

Thierry Huppond (Skil-Shimano) leads the mountains classification.

Thierry Huppond (Skil-Shimano) leads the mountains classification.
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf/cyclingpictures.de)
Image 43 of 51

Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) is keeping the points jersey warm, while leader Hushovd is in yellow.

Gert Steegmans (Quick Step) is keeping the points jersey warm, while leader Hushovd is in yellow.
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf/cyclingpictures.de)
Image 44 of 51

The peloton rolls through the hills in Southern France.

The peloton rolls through the hills in Southern France.
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf/cyclingpictures.de)
Image 45 of 51

A rider attacks the bunch in pursuit of the three leaders.

A rider attacks the bunch in pursuit of the three leaders.
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf/cyclingpictures.de)
Image 46 of 51

The peloton riding in the sun. Happy to leave the rain behind.

The peloton riding in the sun. Happy to leave the rain behind.
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf/cyclingpictures.de)
Image 47 of 51

ProTour leader Andre Greipel (High Road) sits in the peloton.

ProTour leader Andre Greipel (High Road) sits in the peloton.
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf/cyclingpictures.de)
Image 48 of 51

Clément Lhôtellerie (Skil-Shimano) leads Kjell Carlström (Liquigas).

Clément Lhôtellerie (Skil-Shimano) leads Kjell Carlström (Liquigas).
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf/cyclingpictures.de)
Image 49 of 51

The new race leader, Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) is the first Frenchman to lead Paris - Nice since Didier Rous took the jersey also in Saint-Etienne in 2002.

The new race leader, Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) is the first Frenchman to lead Paris - Nice since Didier Rous took the jersey also in Saint-Etienne in 2002.
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf/cyclingpictures.de)
Image 50 of 51

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) flanked by Dutchman Robert Gesink (Rabobank).

Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner) flanked by Dutchman Robert Gesink (Rabobank).
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf/cyclingpictures.de)
Image 51 of 51

Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux) has already shown his good form in the early season and should be one to watch in the coming weeks.

Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux) has already shown his good form in the early season and should be one to watch in the coming weeks.
(Image credit: Florian & Susanne Schaaf/cyclingpictures.de)

France gets consolation with Chavanel in yellow

Something must have changed in cycling: long lasting breakaways can now succeed. Kjell Carlström (Liquigas) and Clément Lhôtellerie (Skil-Shimano) were well inspired to go clear after only eight kilometres with Bradley McGee (Team CSC). The duo lost the Australian on the day's final climb, and battled for the stage win in Saint-Etienne at the end of another hard day of racing. Lhôtellerie was stuck on the front in the finale and managed to keep 43 seconds lead over the chasing group in which Sylvain Chavanel took the lead over from Thor Hushovd, but could not prevent Carlström from coming past at the line.

The stage win went to the Finnish rider from Liquigas who usually describes himself as a "happy domestique". "When I go into a breakaway, it's always because there is a possibility to win," he said after taking the honours in Saint-Etienne. "So far I had no luck in this kind of things. Two years ago, I came second in a stage of the Tour de France behind Sylvain Calzati. I didn't think anybody would attack where he did it."

"Today I hoped to make a winning breakaway," Carlstöm continued. "But we were not sure at all that it would be the case. We created a big gap quickly then we decided to take it easy for a while." That's where McGee's experience alongside Jacky Durand during his years at Française des Jeux had a positive impact on the running of the breakaway. "I tried to control the distance between us and the bunch," the Australian explained. "If we went too hard, there would have been a reaction from the peloton. I think we did it well."

McGee got dropped with 5km to go to the top of col de la Croix de Chaubouret. "Up there I was empty and frozen," he recalled. It was another stage with difficult climate conditions, but the riders finally found some sun as they reached Saint-Etienne.

Carlström didn't help Lhôtellerie very much and admitted it. "I was informed that my team-mate Roman Kreuziger had attacked from the chasing group so I stayed on the Frenchman's wheel," the Liquigas rider said. "He was strong in the climbs but I didn't know how fast he could sprint. I knew I was fresher than him, but I wasn't sure of anything at the end. I opened my sprint with 175 meters to go. The finale was a little bit uphill, that was ok for me. Paris-Nice is a really big race and this is my biggest win so far."

"Sprinting is my weak point," said Lhôtellerie who took the polka dot jersey over from his companion at Skil-Shimano, Thierry Hupond, who also rode away the day before. "I lost time in stage one and I wanted to reposition myself on GC. I'm confident since I came second at the Ruta del Sol."

Lhôtellerie isn't the only Frenchman with a distinctive jersey now. Chavanel has the most distinguished one, that of overall leader. He's the first Frenchman leading Paris-Nice since Didier Rous, who also took it temporarily in Saint-Etienne in 2002. "My legs were fired up in the climb," Chavanel commented. "I was feeling good when I was away with [Damiano] Cunego but that was too far from the finish." But can he hold the yellow jersey through to the finish? "I'm determined to do so. I don't have many adversaries left. It's mostly [Davide] Rebellin and [Yaroslav] Popovych. The Mont Ventoux will decide. I'm confident because I came fifth up there once during the Dauphiné."

Chavanel might be forgetting Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) who is racing at perfection or Robert Gesink (Rabobank) who is a pure climber and might enjoy the Ventoux a lot. The Spaniard is only three seconds behind, while Karsten Kroon (CSC) would have been second had he not been penalized of 20 seconds for drafting behind the car of his directeur sportif in order to get back in the group. The fight up the "giant of Provence" looks to be very promising.

How it unfolded

After eight kilometres in the village of Régnié-Durette, who is famous in the world of cycling for hosting a gathering of former cycling champions every year, three riders broke clear: Kjell Carlström (Liquigas), Clément Lhôtellerie (Skil-Shimano) and Bradley McGee (CSC). 20 kilometres further at the côte de Plantigny, they were 11'30 ahead of the bunch.

The trio's lead went up and down. It was nine minutes at kilometre 75 as the rain was present on the course of Paris-Nice. After 100 kilometres of racing, Rabobank and Caisse d'Epargne, obviously racing for Robert Gesink and Luis Leon Sanchez respectively, took the responsibility of the chase.

In Saint-Chamond, after the intermediate sprint (km 131) dedicated to the memory of Andreï Kivilev who died from a crash there in 2003, a group of big guns comprising yellow jersey holder Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole), Christophe Moreau and Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel), Alberto Losada (Caisse d'Epargne), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Enrico Franzoi (Liquigas), Yaroslav Popovych (Silence-Lotto), Maxime Monfort (Cofidis) and Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) got away from the bunch.

In the main climb of the day, the category one col de la Croix de Chaubouret, Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas) attacked from the group of the favourites. He was 2'15 behind the leaders as McGee dropped off. Kreuziger got caught by Cunego and Sylvain Chavanel but they didn't reach the men in front. During the surge up the final climb, the yellow jersey, Hushovd, was dropped. The group of Chavanel were not able to resist the efforts of the Rebellin group on the descent, but the French rider from Cofidis remained the best placed rider in the chasing group, and sent his team-mate Monfort to the front to keep the pace high on the run-in to Saint Étienne.

Carlström beat Lhôtellerie out in the sprint after letting him do most of the work, but the young Frenchman was rewarded with the polka dot jersey of best climber. Another young Frenchman Pierre Rolland (Crédit Agricole) outsprinted Rebellin for third place and Chavanel claimed the yellow jersey.

Latest on Cyclingnews