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63rd Paris-Nice - ProTour 2005: Stage 2

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Welcome back to Cyclingnews' Live coverage of Paris-Nice! As we've mentioned

The climb just a few kilometres before the finish line is about 2.5 km long,

At 15.00 CET, the peloton is finally starting this mini-stage in what are still

There's still plenty of snow along the sides of the road. But what do you expect

The stage proper hasn't started yet. The riders are still in the neutral zone

Race director Christian Prudhomme looks like he's trying to take off, as he

And they're racing in stage 2!

1km remaining from 118km

Despite the snow, the roads are quite dry as the riders take off for the start.

2km remaining from 118km

Rabobank and CSC are riding pretty hard near the front, with Dekker and Voigt

3km remaining from 118km

The peloton snakes its way out of the town, and Quick.Step's Kevin De Weert

Matt Hayman does his turn at the front, followed by Tankink and De Weert (Quick.Step).

5km remaining from 118km

The bunch continues to motor along, led by Rabobank and Quick.Step. The dark

Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues) is making his way to the back of the peloton, after

7km remaining from 118km

Voeckler is second last wheel as his teammates drop back to help him. It's a

Bouygues Telecom has to do a bit of chasing to get Voeckler back to the peloton,

13km remaining from 118km

The bunch flies through Pagnant and Voeckler's group is still 30m off the back.

There's an intermediate sprint coming up soon - Dekker and Voigt will be going

15km remaining from 118km

The sprint is at Maringues in 3 km. The bunch takes a right hander and will

16km remaining from 118km

The bunch is now very strung out along the snow covered flats. It's up to 60

16km remaining from 118km

A truck parked half on the road causes a few worries, but the peloton is in

17km remaining from 118km

De Weert (Rabobank) goes to the front and drives it for a bit. The sprint approaches.

Voigt either missed it completely or he was saving himself, trying to get his

19km remaining from 118km

The peloton splits on a big roundabout with Quick.Step and Rabobank continuing

21km remaining from 118km

Boven is now on the front for Rabobank. The bunch is getting really lined out

22km remaining from 118km

21 km in the first 23-24 minutes. Yep, they're movin!

This group of dropped riders is going backwards fast. There's not the same desperation

25km remaining from 118km

The peloton has bunched up a bit now as it finds some shelter. Another roundabout,

26km remaining from 118km

The concentration on the Rabobank/Quick.Step riders' faces is evident as they

Jens Voigt is glued to Dekker's wheel as they pass 20 km to go. Valverde is

Mountains leader Jimmy Casper (sic) is well placed too, on Philippe Gilbert's

28km remaining from 118km

The Rabo/Quick.Step boys continue to work. Mick Rogers has been enlisted to

29km remaining from 118km

The landscape is frozen but there's a blur of colour moving through it at between

31km remaining from 118km

Hayman guides the peloton around a tricky, icy corner. The kilometres are ticking

32km remaining from 118km

Frank Schleck (CSC) takes a turn now, interrupting the Quick.Step/Rabobank rhythm

33km remaining from 118km

Some Davitamon-Lotto jerseys have moved into the second rank (for Evans), but

Hayman and Rogers swap off at the front. Flecha (Fassa) moves up. He could fancy

35km remaining from 118km

It's quite an incredible landscape here. The riders are the only colour in the

36km remaining from 118km

They pass the 10 km to go banner. No-one has attacked today, except out the

The climb starts and Niermann (Rabo) really pushes the pace, with three teammates

37km remaining from 118km

The climb is steepest at the bottom and the peloton is very strung out now.

38km remaining from 118km

Mattan's move gets him about 20m. He keeps it going. Now the reactions start.

Kirchen and Voigt have 50m as they reach the false flat. Dekker is in about

39km remaining from 118km

Voigt now does a turn. The gap is a good 10 seconds.

40km remaining from 118km

The bunch has been split to bits on this short climb as Valverde accelerates

Kirsipuu has been dropped. No surprises there.

Voeckler has been dropped.

41km remaining from 118km

A Saunier Duval rider is driving it - looks a bit like Jeker or Zaballa. They're

42km remaining from 118km

Now the descent starts with about 5 km to go. The Saunier rider looks back and

42km remaining from 118km

The Cofidis rider is Allez Chavanel. The descent is steeper now as they hit

43km remaining from 118km

Chavanel leads into the next corner - Jeez it's slippery here. No crashes in

Chavanel now has 30m as Rogers lets him go on the descent. Chavanel is flying.

44km remaining from 118km

Chavanel takes another tricky corner and gets company from a Lotto rider.

Leon Van Bon is the Lotto man. They only have 20m on the Rogers led peloton.

44km remaining from 118km

Chavanel continues to work, then Van Bon takes over. Quick Step is massing behind

They take another corner with 1 km to go. Van Bon attacks and has a gap but

Chavanel catches Van Bon as Hulsmans brings the peloton up with Boonen in second

46km remaining from 118km

Hulsmans still in front with 300m to go. Boonen looks comfortable as he smashes

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