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Paris - Nice 2013: Stage 5

Hello and welcome to stage 5 of this year's Paris-Nice. Today is the first mountaintop finish of the race, with a 176 km stage from Châteauneuf-du-Pape to La Montagne de Lure.

It's another test of race leader Andrew Talansky's mettle as he takes on Sky, BMC, and Radioshack.

Here's where things stand in the overall, with a 3 second lead for the Garmin leader.

1 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp 19:35:17
2 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:00:03
3 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:04
4 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
5 Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:05
6 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:06
7 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:00:07
8 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:00:13
9 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:00:15
11 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
12 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:16
13 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard
14 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team Katusha
15 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:17

Talansky is certainly in fine form, and can climb and time trial. The question mark is whether his team is strong enough to defend the yellow jersey. The American was isolated on the climbs yesterday but came through unscathed.

Here's a list of the climbs the riders will have to tackle today. It will all come down to the final ascent but there are number of energy-sapping climbs on the way to La Montagne de Lure.

 

Col de Murs (2nd cat.) 47km
Col d'Oppedette (2nd cat) 85km
Cote de St Martin-les-Eaux (3rd cat.) 123km
Col de la Mort d'Imbert (3rd cat.) 134.5km
Cote des Mourres (3rd cat.)152km
La Montagne de Lure (1st cat.) 176km
 

To bring you up to speed. 2012 Milan Sanremo winner Simon Gerrans didn't start today's stage due to breathing difficulties and a bought of bronchitis.

119km remaining from 176km

We have a break up the road though, with Cyril Lemoine (Sojasun), Thierry Hupond (Team Argos-Shimano), Paolo Longo Borghini (Cannondale) and Jens Voigt (RadioShack Leopard) 5:25 clear of the bunch after 57km of racing.

Lemoine was first to the top of the Col de Murs but Johann Tschopp (Swi) IAM Cycling led the bunch over so picked up 1 point in his defence of the KOM. It's going to be hard for the IAM Cycling rider to defend his jersey in the race but currently the gap is 30 points to 7 in Tschopp's favour. Voeckler is second in the standings on 17 points.

Of course we've finished at La Montagne de Lure recently. In 2009 Alberto Contador raced away to take the stage and the lead.

Chavanel started the stage in yellow that day and lost over two minutes and the leader's jersey. Jens Voigt who is in the break, made the top ten on the stage though:

1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 4.47.46 (38.05 km/h)
2 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank 0.58
3 Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
4 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto 1.27
5 David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis
6 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank 1.29
7 Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 1.31
8 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano 1.34
9 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Agritubel 1.44
10 Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team Saxo Bank 1.46

Though the following day's stage to Fayence threw up even more drama with Contador cracking and Luis Leon Sanchez, currently suspended by his team.

110km remaining from 176km

Back to the present and Garmin have moved to the front. The move has immediately halted the progress of the break and the gap is down to 4:55.

This is the terrain where Garmin have to put in a decent shift. They can't allow the group to gain too much time but they also can't hope to support Talansky on the final climb. The aim will be to get the race leader to the foot of the final  climb as fresh as possible and right near the front of the peloton. Easier said than done, of course...

There's no GC threat from the break, Hupond is best placed and he's 9 minutes down.

99km remaining from 176km

The four man break are heading towards the Col d'Oppedette, another 2nd category climb. Their advantage is now 5:40.

In other news we have more doping coverage from Holland. Menchov, Boom, and Dekker have given their reactions to Michael Boogerd's confession.

As Michael Rasmussen gives a video interview in which he details doping practices at Rabobank. Were the Dutch team running the most sophisticated doping programme of the era or is that still US Postal?

And Mark Cavendish has criticised his teammates for their lead out on stage 2 of Tirreno Adriatico.

Finally, Garmin's DS at Paris-Nice believes that Talansky can win today's stage.

Just re-reading some of Talansky's columns when he was one of @Procycling_mag Fab 4 in 2011. Great insight from a rider then just 22

@petercossins Fri, 8th Mar 2013 12:21:54

@dnlbenson what are Talansky's chances of staying in Yellow today? Does he have the climbing skills to stay with Porte, TJV etc?

@Weir85 Fri, 8th Mar 2013 12:18:46

It's certainly possible. He's clearly in form but it's going to be a case of following the right moves for the Garmin rider, as there are other threats too, Westra, Scarponi, and the time gaps could be significant.

There's pressure on BMC I think too. Van Garderen has come close to winning a number of stage races since turning pro but never pulled it off. He'd love a win like this ahead of the Tour de France.

The gap has gone out 6:35 after 86km of racing.

Good news for Tschopp is that Hupond claimed the maximum 7points at the top of the last climb.

@dnlbenson stage route, Google Earth tours, interactive profiles, streetview tours of stage 5 can be found here http://t.co/Ej5HqBoFIg

@cyclingthealps Fri, 8th Mar 2013 12:51:30

It's roughly 20km until the next climb. The pattern so far has seen Garmin set an even tempo on the climbs, allowing the break to gain time, and then using their experience and strength to pin the four man move back on the flat.

76km remaining from 176km

We've raced 100 kilometres and Garmin continue to patrol the front of the peloton. The break holds a lead of 5:30.

Gianni Meersman (Omega Pharma) who was in the break yesterday has abandoned the race.

The break are fast approaching the climb of Cote de St Martin-les-Eaux. They've  pulled out another 20 seconds on the chasin bunch, with their lead back up to 6 minutes.

They're onto the lower slopes of the 3rd cat climb. Lemoine and Hupond have both picked up points in the KOM competition.

Hupond takes the maximum 4 points on the climb with Voigt in second and Lemoine in third.

50km remaining from 176km

50km to go with the gap still holding at around the 6 minute mark. We'll see a number of teams move to the front in the next phase of racing as they look to position their leaders for the next set of climbs.

44km to go with the Col de la Mort d'Imbert just around the corner.

Jens is in a break at PN, dentists everywhere are swooning...

@nyvelocity Fri, 8th Mar 2013 13:41:36

From here the peloton will drop down, ride through the valley towards the Cote des Mourres before the final ascent of the day.

A reminder of who is in the break: Cyril Lemoine (Sojasun), Thierry Hupond (Team Argos-Shimano), Paolo Longo Borghini (Cannondale) and Jens Voigt (RadioShack Leopard), they lead the field by 4:50. Voigt finished in the top ten on this final climb back in 2009.

Hupond picks up another four points on the last climb. He's now on 20 points in the KOM competition, 11 behind Tschopp.

Garmin have slipped off the front of the bunch. They've dragged the peloton all this way but their work is over as a number of them are dropped on the next climb. Talansky will have a bit more support from a couple of teammates but after that he'll be on his own for the final climb. It's crunch time for the young American stage racer.

The four man break are still holding off the clutches of the bunch as Sky and BMC move closer to the front. The gap is at 4:15 with just over 30 kilometres of racing left.

A reminder of where we stand on GC:

Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp 19:35:17
2 Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 0:00:03
3 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:00:04
4 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
5 Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:05
6 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:06
7 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:00:07
8 Maxim Iglinskiy (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:00:13
9 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:00:15
11 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
12 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:16
13 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard
14 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Team Katusha
15 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:00:17

Several abandons in Paris-Nice today. Simon Gerrans, Gianni Meersman and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke

@inrng Fri, 8th Mar 2013 14:06:15

There's been a crash in the bunch and on the deck is Coppel.

The Cofidis rider is sitting up but he's not looking great. A few more riders have also been caught up in the fall.

The break has lost another minute, meanwhile, with the lead down to 3:45. They're on the penultimate climb, and pass a bunch of school children out on the side of the road, who enthusiastically cheer them on.

Rain coats and arm warms off as the bunch begin to prepare for the finale, with the last ascent looming on the horizon. Who do you think will triumph today? Let us know.

GreenEdge are setting the pace, perhaps Albasini thinks he can make a difference on the climb today. It's not a stretch given his show of force yesterday.

Blanco are doing much of the work though with 25km to go. They'll be looking to set up Robert Gesink for the climb.

There are around 50 riders left in the main field but the break is still working well. They've lost another minute and at this rate they'll be caught on the lower slopes of the final climb.

Hupond picks up another 4 points on the penultimate climb.

At the back  of the bunch Voeckler is struggling. He's riding through the cars, perhaps he was caught up in that earlier crash.

And now Omega take up the work on the front of the bunch. I can't quite understand that. Chavanel isn't really suited to the final climb, it's a bit long for him but he's in confident mood.

21km remaining from 176km

Omega continue to drive the field, with Lampre chipping in with some efforts too. Talansky is on his own with no teammates but he's sitting near the front, right where he needs to be.

19km remaining from 176km

The four leaders still have a two minute buffer as they race down the descent of the penultimate climb. It's a fairly technical descent so they can't take too many risks.

In fact Talansky still has a teammate left and he uses him wisely, moving him to the front to help navigate down the tricky descent. Lampre dominate the front though, primarily to set things up for Scarponi.

15km remaining from 176km

The leaders have 1:40.

No sign of Sky or BMC at this stage.

Grivko is on Talansky's wheel as the bunch heads towards the final climb.

Danny Pate (Sky) moves to the front as up ahead Voigt drags the break to the foot of the final climb.

The RadioShack rider has attacked and he's already established a gap.

With the gap down to 1:35 Voigt thought it was time to shake off the rest of the break. He's churning away on the pedals but with 13km to go he's going to struggle to stay clear.

Sky have thrown a few more men on the front too.

Riders are being dropped off the bunch as the peloton tackles the lower slopes of the climb. Sky are setting tempo with Lopez on the front. Porte, Scarponi and Talansky all watching each other.

Gilbert is about to be dropped. No real surprise to be honest, this climb is too tough for a number of all rounders.

@dnlbenson Peter Velits #opqs #parisnice

@stijnfest616 Fri, 8th Mar 2013 14:24:55

11km remaining from 176km

Less than 30 riders in the bunch with Sky continuing to set the pace. This is all playing into Talansky's hands.

De Gendt has been dropped.

Only Voigt is off the front, the rest of the break caught with 10km to go. Sky have the RadioShack rider down to 1 minute.

Voeckler, no idea what he's doing. Right now he's slowed to a snail's pace on the climb. Perhaps he has a mechanical.

But Sky are setting a relentless pace on La Montagne de Lure. Voigt still has 40 seconds but it wont be enough as Taarame and Menchov are both hanging at the back of the peloton.

Peraud is on the right hand side of Talansky who is looking comfortable at the moment.

Siutsou has been on the front of the bunch since the start of the climb and he's about to catch Voigt.  The German has 20 seconds with 8km to go. He checks back  and can see the peloton in the distance.

Malacarne attacks just as  Voigt is caught.

Van Garderen in the lead group, Monfort  and Basso too although the latter two are near the back.

Sky lose one rider off the front but Porte still has one teammate as Voigt is dropped.

7km remaining from 176km

Less than 7km to go as  Gesink attacks and Scarponi tries to go with him. Sky simply up the pace and catch the pair. There was no explosiveness to that attack.

But Gesink stays on the front and continues to set the pace. I think he's working for Wilco Kelderman.

Gesink has stretched the field out before he pulls over and lets Sky get back to business. Talansky and van Garderen are both near the front.

Porte has one teammate left, while Velits moves up to the head of the field with Chavanel.

Kloden and Navarro are also in the group too.

Velits and Westra are riding close to each other as Chavanel drops back in the lead group. 5km to go and this is where the climb starts to ramp up.

Cofidis on the attack!

The rider pulls out 15 meters but  Sky are holding him there.

It's Le Mevel

And now Scarponi attacks but again he cant pull out much of a gap either.

He passes Le Mevel who is caught , as Basso is dropped.

Keldermann dropped too!

And Gesink pops as well.

And Scarponi fresh from his suspension has a gap. He has 4km to go and he's only 18 seconds down on GC.

Sky still have a rider on the front as Le Mevel is dropped too. Talansky,  Roche, TJ, all in the lead  group.

Scarponi, accelerates around the corners but his gap isn't getting any bigger, it's around 20 meters. As Monfort is also dropped.

3km remaining from 176km

Scarponi has a bit more of  a gap, perhaps 8 or 9 seconds.

Porte makes his teammate increase the pace

And Talansky attacks.

He's gone for Scarponi and passed him. Porte is with him.

Talansky, Porte, Scarponi, and Quintana together with the race leader setting the pace.

Grivko has been dropped.

The group is caught up ahead and van Garderen is back

Talansky put a lot of riders into the red with his move. Now Roche attacks and Talansky tracks him down.

Talansky goes again.

He's strung out the rest of the field

He doesnt have the punch to  get a gap but he's certainly putting more time into Grivko. Talansky is bossing the group, keeping on the front and checking all the other minor moves.

There's an attack from a Katusha rider, while there are 12 riders in the lead. Menchov, at 1:18 is the rider off the front.

1km remaining from 176km

As Talansky goes yet again.

Porte has to chase this one down.

Now Porte attacks and Talansky has let the gap go.

Porte has made it to Menchov.. Remember the vuelta stage last year?

The Sky rider is alone now and has dropped the Russian. Talansky is looking for help but it's not coming. he has to close this gap on his own.

1km remaining from 176km

1km to go and Porte is racing towards yellow. van Garderen is setting the pace with Talansky. Velits has been dropped.

Porte is too good for them though as Quintana attacks Talansky.

Porte is closing in on the stage and the overall.

Chavanel has been dropped as Talansky is now on the ropes, having to chase down attack after attack.

Porte has 150 meters left.

Riche Porte crosses the line

The rest of the field are just watching each other.

Menchov takes second, Talansky third and van Garderen fourth.

Well, was Talansky too aggressive for his own good? Porte had the team support but he marked a number of attacks before unleashing an unbeatable move inside the final 3km.

No one was able to respond to Porte's late burst of speed, even Menchov who had a 40 metre head start. The Russian finished 26 seconds behind the Sky rider.

In the GC Porte has a 32 second lead over Talansky.

You can't take the pitbull out of the pitbull.

@Vaughters Fri, 8th Mar 2013 15:14:56

Brave from Talansky. Too brave. #ParisNice

@friebos Fri, 8th Mar 2013 15:13:52

1 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling
2 Denis Menchov (Rus) Team Katusha
3 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp
4 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
5 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
7 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
9 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha
10 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida

Here's where the race stands in GC:

1 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 24:26:08
2 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:32
3 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 42
4 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 49
5 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 52
6 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 53
7 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha
8 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 54
9 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 56

Thanks for joining us today. You can find our race report and results, right here.

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