Contador Wins Paris-Nice
Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) has won Paris-Nice. The Spaniard won Stage 7, a mountainous, 129.5-km ride in and around Nice, in 3:15:47. David Lopez Garcia and Joaquim Rodriguez (both from Caisse d?Epargne) finished second and third, respectively, at 0:19. On the race?s final day, Contador overtook Davide Rebellin (Gerolsteiner).
The racing began early. At five km, Roman Kreuziger (Liquigas), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), Sandy Casar (Francaise des Jeux), Francisco Perez (Caisse d?Epargne), Andy Schleck (CSC), Dimitri Fofonov (Credit Agricole), Gorka Verdugo (Euskaltel), Patxi Vila (Lampre), and Sergio Paulinho and Stijn Devolder (both from Discovery Channel) escaped. Everyone except Voeckler was recaptured fairly quickly, but the Frenchman led the field by 1:00 at 64 km.
On the Category 1 La Turbie, Discovery Channel set a blistering pace. Voeckler was caught and dropped, and a counterattack by Markus Burghardt (T-Mobile), Alexandre Botcharov (Credit Agricole), and Perez was reeled in. On the lower slopes of the day?s final climb, the Category 1 Col d?Eze, Contador attacked. No one followed, and the Spaniard led Rebellin by 0:44 at the summit.
Rebellin, who began the day 0:06 ahead of Contador, began to chase. With 1.5 km remaining, the Italian was within 0:17 of the Spaniard. That was as close as he got, however, and Contador took both stage and race.
In the overall, Contador beat Rebellin by 0:26 and Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d?Epargne) by 0:42. Discovery Channel, which has made its mark as a GC squad, has won the first major stage race of the season. How will it fare later in the year? For the answer to this question and others, check in at www.roadcycling.com and find out!