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Paris - Nice 2010: Stage 5

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Hello from Cyclingnews.com and welcome to our coverage of  the 157km fifth stage of Paris-Nice between Pernes-les-Fontaines and Aix-en-Provence.

The stage began just  a few minutes ago. After 11km the peloton is still all together.

The only rider not to start today was Serge Pauwels of Team Sky.

Today's stage from Pernes-les-Fontaines to Aix-en-Provence. it is only 157km long but includes four categorised climbs and many others on the stage profile.

The four main climbs are:

Km 40.0 - Col de Murs - 10.5 km climb to 4.3 % - Category 2
Km 75.5 - Côte de Lacoste - 2.6 km climb to 3.8 % - Category 3
Km 84.5 - Côte de Bonnieux - 2.6 km climb to 4.2 % - Category 3
Km 127.0 - Côte de Saint-Canadet - 4.8 km climb to 3.9 % - Category 3
 

The two sprints today are:

Km 94.5 – Lourmarin
Km 110.5 - Rognes

Several riders have already been dropped on the Cote de Mormoiron as the pace quickens up.

The third stage of Tirreno-Adriatico is underway in Italy. However Alessandro Petacchi is making the news for tax reasons rather than his sprinting.

Our “Pick the Podium” competition is continuing. Pick today's podium and you can win a Cervelo musette bag and cap signed by Heinrich Haussler.

All you have to do is give us the top three names of the day. If you are already a member of our forum, just go to this thread
http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=6361 and give it your best shot. If you need to join the forum, click here http://forum.cyclingnews.com to sign up. You will find all the rules there. The competition opens at 2 p.m. CET and ends with 20 km to go. Good luck!

131km remaining from 157km

The peloton is still together although Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) has retired.

Alberto Contador (Astana) looks to have a firm grip on the race after his attack yesterday. However nobody has forgotten his bad day last year that cost him victory.

French legend Bernhard Hinault is writing a daily comment for the L'Equipe newspaper and has made it clear what he'd do if he was still racing: go on the attack.

“Contador did not take the lead we could expect, he kept the same gap with his rivals on the whole climb. To me, he did not have what it took to do any better and the cold since the start of this Paris-Nice is probably the reason. Everybody is suffering from the cold and a violent effort in such conditions really burns your lungs, believe me. Contador has a team to help him and there are still a lot of climbs on which he can impose his rule but he cannot afford to be relaxed. The only solution now is to harass him. Luis-Leon Sanchez and Alejandro Valverde are in the same team so, logically, they should attack him in turn. That’s the only way.”

The peloton is in the Col de Murs, the first categorised climb of the stage. Its a cat 2 climb, 10.5 km long and rises at an average of 4.3%. Perfect for an early break to form. Allez!

Cyclingnews reporter Hedwig Kröner lives near Pernes-les-Fontaines and was at the start. She'll have all the info and exclusive photos from the start very soon.

124km remaining from 157km

We have our first real attack!

123km remaining from 157km

Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) surged clear and was soon joined by four other riders.

 

French national champion Dimitri Champion (AG2R) made an attack.

But the peloton is not letting him get away as the summit of the Col de Murs approaches.

Laurent Mangel (Saur Sojasun) is leading the climber's competition but is currently struggling at the back of the bunch.

With the Col de Murs over, the peloton faces a long descent south. They are getting closer and closer to the Mediterranean today.

Champion makes it to the top of the Col de murs first and takes the glory and the climber's points.

1. Champion (ALM), 7 pts

2. Moinard (COF), 5

3. Tondo (CTT), 3

4. Horner (RSH), 2

5. Lopez Garcia (GCE), 1

30 riders lost 50 seconds to the bunch on the climb, including HTC-Columbia's Tony Martin.

112km remaining from 157km

Dimitri Champion (ALM) still has a 10 second gap on the peloton. He's flying down the descent.

This morning the riders finally began to feel the spring weather in southern France. It was 10 degrees and sunny in Pernes-les-Fontaines.

39,1km/h average speed for the first hour. That's pretty fast considering the climbs they've covered.

The peloton now faces a short climb before Gordes. Then comes the double whammy of the Côte de Lacoste (2.6 km at 3.8 % Cat 3) and then the Côte de Bonnieux  (2.6 km at 4.2% Cat 3).

102km remaining from 157km

Echappée terminée. Dimitri Champion (ALM) has been caught by the bunch. Hopefully he sat up after realising they were not going to let him go.

Alberto Contador (Astana) looks good in yellow but admitted he will have to fight to win Paris-Nice. Perhaps he has learnt something after losing last year.

This is what he said after winning the stage yesterday: "Paris-Nice begins now. It's even more difficult for me to win the GC now being the leader of the classification. My team is strong but it's hard to control such a race. I had some doubts about my rivals before today's stage and it remains open. As for myself, I felt good but not super. I didn't feel good at the bottom of the final climb. I had to fight hard for position."

Ag2r - La Mondiale want the break today. Their man Maxime Bouet is now off the front.

97km remaining from 157km

Get ready for a group of riders to go across to Maxime Bouet.

Oh dear. The group of riders that includes Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia is not at 2:30. They might not get back if the attacks keep coming up front.

We've lost another rider. Francesco Chicchi (Liquigas-Doimo) has also retired. It must be hard out there.

90km remaining from 157km

Six riders have joined Maxime Bouet (ALM).

87km remaining from 157km

The seven aren't getting away. They've only got a handful of seconds.

85km remaining from 157km

All together again. The bunch and especially Astansa doesn't want to let anything get away today.

Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) just had a cheeky dig but Alberto Contador (Astana) went after him.

83km remaining from 157km

Pierrick Fedrigo (BBox Bouygues Telecom) is now off the front as the summit of the Cote de Lacoste approaches. Christophe Riblon (ALM) is going after him.

81km remaining from 157km

Pierrick Fedrigo (BBox Bouygues Telecom) is first over the Cote de Lacoste.

79km remaining from 157km

Riblon is struggling in his pursuit of Fedrgio. The gap is now 25 seconds. It must be Fedrigo's more aerodynamic nose.

73km remaining from 157km

Fedrigo is on the Côte de Bonnieux but the peloton is not far behind.

72km remaining from 157km

Fedrigo is first to the top of the Côte de Bonnieux.

Moinard takes second place and so extends his lead in the climber's competition.

1. Fédrigo, 4 pt

2. Moinard, 2

3. Duque, 1

69km remaining from 157km

Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) is back at the front and leading the pursuit of Fedrigo. It feels like Bastille Day. The French are in all the action today.
 

45km/h for the second hour. No wonder Tony Martin is suffering off the back. 42/1km/h for the first two hours of racing.

71km remaining from 157km

Fedrigo caught by the peloton.

Meanwhile, the Tony Martin group is at over six minutes. Also in there was the leader of the climber's competition Laurent Mangel (Saur Sjoasun). Upfront Amaël Moinard (Cofidis) is cleaning up the points and is the leader of the competition on the road with 21 points.

62km remaining from 157km

Thomas Voeckler (BBox Bouygues Telecom) takes the intermediate sprint at  Lourmarin (km 94,5). He also took the three second time bonus. Interesting to see David Millar (Garmin-Transitions) was third and took a second.

1. Voeckler (BTL), 3pts / 3’’

2. LL.Sanchez (GCE), 2pts / 2’’

3. Millar (GRM), 1pt / 1’’

59km remaining from 157km

Thomas Voeckler (BBox Bouygues Telecom) is now second overall thanks to that time bonus.
 

57km remaining from 157km

As the stage hits the 100km mark, Leonardo Duque (COF) has gone off the front. He has 15 seconds

Oops. Sorry about that. Tommy Voeckler is actually now tenth overall. 

50km remaining from 157km

50km to go and the speed is still high. Duque has been joined by ten other riders but the situation is very fluid and changing constantly. It should be a great finale.

109km remaining from 157km

Barredo (QST), Gustov (CTT) and Calzati (SKY) have gone clear but the bunch is chasing them.

 

It's great weather for a bike ride but today is fast and has never settled down.

43km remaining from 157km

Reine Taaramae (COF) has gone after the break but the three have made it to the sprint and so he will not get his tenth place back from Voeckler. The trio now have a minute but Astana are leading the chase

Taaramae is now with the trio. they're going for it and now have 1:10

The gap is now 1:12 with a handfull of Spanish riders moving to the front. Astana, Caisse d'Epargne and Euskaltel-Euskadi all working

A small counter attack between the leaders and the peloton but they're about to be caught

The pelton has caiught the four adventurers but the four Barredo (QST), Gustov (CTT) and Calzati (SKY) and Taaramae (COF) remain out front at 55 seconds.

127km remaining from 157km

The riders are approaching the Côte de Saint-Canadet. It's all down hill after that. Thery could stay away

Surprisingly it's Caisse d'Epargne on the front and not Astana for race leader Contador. Astana could have burnt all their matches. Will Caisse d'Eaprgne attack on the Côte de Saint-Canadet?

127km remaining from 157km

Taaramae (COF) takes the points at the top of the Côte de Saint-Canadet.

131km remaining from 157km

Barredo (QST), Gustov (CTT) and Calzati (SKY)  are working smoothly but the gap is melting in the sun as the peloton smells a sprint finish. Taaramae (COF) took the climber's points has now sat up.

132km remaining from 157km

Liquigas is leading the chase of the trio but the gap is still 40 seconds

133km remaining from 157km

Puncture for Voeckler. He got a bike from a teammate but will have fight to get back on.

The trio are about to be caught, as Voeckler tried to get back through the team cars.

136km remaining from 157km

All back together. Ag2r chased the trio down and took control at the front.

Tommy Voeckler is still struggling to get back on. His group is at 40 seconds. Levi Leipheimer (Radioshack) is with him.

156km remaining from 157km

Ag2r are really ripping it up.

142km remaining from 157km

Ag2r are still hammering it on the front. Some one tell them there is still 15 km to go.

Ag2r is looking a bit cooked. Their tongues are hanging out

152km remaining from 157km

Ag2r think they're HTC-Columbia. but have they got the power, the lead outskills and sprinter to do it?

153km remaining from 157km

David Millar, Tom Danielson and Christian Vande Velde are all in the front group for Garmin-Transitions.

154km remaining from 157km

With few sprinters at Paris-Nice and even fewer in this front group, it's going to be a unpredictable sprint.

155km remaining from 157km

Francaise des Jeux hit the front with three km to go. 

155km remaining from 157km

It's Le Mevel having a go, with Peter Sagan (Liquigas) on his wheel.

156km remaining from 157km

Sagan has blown past the Frenchman. A second stage win for the Liquigas neo-pro?

Don't look back Peter!

it's going to be close. But Sagan gets it.

Peter Sagan held on to win the stage. He was almost caught by the chasers but he had time to put his arms in the air as they floundered behind him. It will make a nice finish shot.

Mirco Lorenzetto (Lampre-Farnese vini) was second and Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) was third

Contador still leads overall, with Valverde second at 20 seconds.

Former mountain biker Sagan collapsed on the grass just after the finish. He went deep to win. Astar is born. Which other neo-pro has won TWO stages at Paris-Nice?

Stage result:

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas - Doimo
2 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre - Farnese Vini
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
4 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française des Jeux.

Stage result:

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas - Doimo
2 Mirco Lorenzetto (Ita) Lampre - Farnese Vini
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
4 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française des Jeux
5 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank
6 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Sky Professional Cycling Team
7 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi
8 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondial
9 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) Team HTC - Columbia
10 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana.

General classification after stage 5
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana
2 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
3 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas - Doimo.

That's all for today from Paris-Nice.

Sorry for any mistakes during the live report.

Check back for a full report and race photographs very soon.

We'll be back tomorrow for the sixth stage of Paris - Nice. We're finally getting close to the sun and Nice.

 

 

 

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