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Paris-Nice Post-Stage Thread

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Sounds like I picked the wrong day to watch RAI...

[And thanks to whoever posted the following summary; it wasn't me!]

As is often the pattern, an early move of seven riders escaped the bunch and by kilometer 67, they held a gap of 25 seconds. The group included: Nicolas Roche of AG2R-La Mondiale, Christian Vandevelde of Team Garmin, Daniel Moreno Fernandez of Caisse d’Épargne, Aleksandr Kolobnev of Saxo Bank, Tony Martin of Columbia-High Road, the wee Samuel Dumoulin of Cofidis, and Xavier Florencio of Cervélo TestTeam. Cooperation ruled the day, and the group steadily built up its advantage. Lampre and Liquigas patrolled the front with an eye for the sprint, but the bumpy finale did not inspire great things from the teams of the sprinters.

With 20 kilometers to go, Christian Vandevelde decided he'd had enough of his breakaway partners. See ya guys. Vandevelde attacked from the break, and none could follow. It proved a race-winning move, though it required 20 kilometers of solitary riding to reach the finish. Despite a close encounter with a flying Alberto Contador, Vandevelde held off the chase and won the stage for his first victory of the season.

The Empire strikes back. Behind Vandevelde, a battle for the general classification ensued. With six kilometers to ride, Alberto Contador attacked hard on the category 3 côte de Rochetaillée. The move should have come as no surprise to anyone. On the descent, a group of six riders including Juan Manuel Garate (2nd on the general) of Rabobank, Jens Voigt of Saxo Bank, Amaël Moinard of Cofidis, Maxime Monfort of Columbia-High Road, Frank Schleck of Saxo Bank, Roman Kreuziger of Team Liquigas caught the Spanish champion. By the finish, the group had swelled to some twenty riders.

Current race leader Sylvain Chavanel missed the train, however, and conceded 26 seconds from his overall lead to Alberto Contador. Chavanel remains the race leader by 6 seconds ahead of Juan Manuel Garate, while Alberto Contador lurks menacingly 36 seconds behind. Pre-race favorite Luis Leon Sanchez flatted today in the closing kilometers and came in a minute behind the Contador group. Because the mechanical occured inside the final 3 km, though, Sanchez received same time with the Contador group. Phew. Sanchez now sits in sixth on the general classification at 45 seconds. He is certainly not out of the game just yet with several hilly stages yet to ride. Frank Schleck of Saxo Bank is 1.12 down on Chavanel, and with a climbing finish on Friday, may prove able to better his position.

Here are today's stage results and the current general classification.