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Paris-Nice: Stage 7 LIVE!

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A housekeeping note: Thanks to all of you who've been keeping the live threads interesting while I've been out of contact. This trip has been instructive as to why people don't travel more with their kids, at this age anyway. They're having a blast, but sleep has been impossible. So even when I am awake, I haven't had any energy to put into this site. Back home tomorrow.

This edition of Paris-Nice has been a terrific competition, pretty much how they draw them up. Of course, the point of spring/training races is to keep the pack-melting hills to a minimum, so the close times are not unexpected. The last three editions have been won by nine, ten and fifteen seconds. What's more striking, then, is the action on the road. Cycling seems to get more competitive overall, which means more action. Sometimes the sport's problems, however significant, seem a bit overblown...

Anyway, as usual the last day will be a climb-fest before dropping down to Nice for the finale. The Maritime Alpes include three climbs rated cat-1, the last being the 6% climb of the Col d'Eze, a 7km challenge, before 16km spent falling down the mountainside to the finish. At some point, overall leader Davide Rebellin -- now down to almost no teammates -- will surely lose his lead on the road... but will he play his steady hand again and rejoin the challengers before the line? I can't see him on the attack, so the action of the day will center around whether he's still capable of defending.

Have fun all!