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The second stage of Paris-Nice 2009: a leading group, a fall and a sprint

Added: monday 09 March 2009 at 22:57:00
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    The second stage of Paris-Nice 2009: a leading group, a fall and a sprintYesterday you could find here all information about the first stage in Amilly of this 67th edition of Paris-Nice.

    Today the second stage took place between Saint-Brisson-sur-Loire and La Chapelle-Saint-Ursin over a distance of 195,5 kilometers (see here for all information about the Paris-Nice route). If I would summarise this stage in three words those would be escape, fall and sprint.

    The route

    After the start from Saint-Brisson-sur-Loire in the nice environment of the local castle and an intermediate sprint in Sury-près-Léré, the riders found two third category mountains on their road. These mountains followed each other between the 80th and 90th kilometer: first the Côte de Sancerre (2,8 km at 4,7%) followed by the Côte de Crézancy-en-Sancerre. Between those two mountains the riders found the feeding zone at the exit of Sancerre.

    After 156,5 kilometers the finish line was crossed for the first time with an intermediate sprint at the start of a local circuit around the finish city, La Chapelle-Saint-Ursin.

    The story of the stage

    Before the start Bernard Hinault said about Alberto Contador that he looks happy, relaxed, and I have the impression he's enjoying himself on the bike. Which means that he and his team can easily let a break take place tomorrow, while controlling the gap.

    Aitor HernandezAnd that is exactly what happened ... the leading group of the day was formed by 4 riders: Piet Rooijakkers (Skil Shimano), Aitor Hernandez (Euskaltel Euskadi, photo), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas) and Christophe Laurent (Agritubel). The Dutch rider Piet Rooijakkers attacked first immediately at the start of the stage. He got company from the three other riders after 3,5 kilometers. The leading group took a maximum lead of 7'35" at the intermediate sprint in Sury-près-Léré.

    Astana than decided to control the race without however really doing lots of work to take back the 4 riders. That's how Aitor Hernandez (Euskaltel Euskadi, photo) was able to take the polka dot jersey by passing respectively first and second over the mountains.

    This stage was supposed to finish in a sprint and the Française des Jeux team thus decided to accellerate at the front of the pack. After a fall at the back of the pack and the peloton being divided in two, the Columbia High Road and Cervélo TestTeam teams decided to help Française des Jeux so they could take back the leading group at 23 kilometer from the finish.

    A few kilometers further, Pierre Rolland tried to escape but without really being successful.

    Heinrich HausslerThe preparation of the sprint was a bit disturbed by a fall in the last 3 kilometers: about twenty riders were on the ground and the yellow jersey, Alberto Contador had to put his foot on the ground to go around the riders on the ground. He thus finished with a short delay but that didn't influence the general classification since the fall happened in the last 3 kilometers.

    After this fall only Rémi Pauriol (Cofidis) didn't climb back on his bike. He was taken to the hospital in Bourges where a broken and displacement in the collarbone which needs to be operated was detected, together with a broken rib. He will be operated on Tuesday in Paris and will not be able to get back on his bike for about 6 to 8 weeks.

    While Mark Renshaw (Columbia High Road) and Mirco Lorenzetto (Lampre NGC) were sprinting for the stage win, the German rider Heinrich Haussler (photo) finally won by launching his attack at 300 meters from the finish.

    The rankings

    Alberto ContadorThe general ranking
    The general ranking doesn't change compared to yesterday:
    1/ Alberto Contador (Astana) - 4h 56' 06"
    2/ Bradley Wiggins (Garmin Slipstream) - 4h 56' 13" / + 00' 07"
    3/ Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) - 4h 56' 15" / + 00' 09"
    4/ Tony Martin (Columbia High Road) - 4h 56' 17" / + 00' 11"
    5/ David Millar (Garmin Slipstream) - 4h 56' 20" / + 00' 14"

    Ranking by points (green jersey)
    The stage winner also took the green jersey. The ranking by points now looks as follows:
    1/ Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) - 30 pts
    2/ Alberto Contador (Astana) - 25 pts
    3/ Bradley Wiggins (Garmin Slipstream) - 22 pts
    4/ Mark Renshaw (Columbia High Road) - 22 pts

    Best climber (polka dot jersey)
    The leading group today managed to get all points on the two mountains which were part of today's stage and thus came to the following ranking for best rider:
    1/ Aitor Hernandez (Euskaltel Euskadi) - 6 pts
    2/ Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas) - 5 pts
    3/ Piet Rooijakkers (Skil Shimano) - 3 pts

    Niki TerpstraRanking of the best young riders (white jersey)
    The stage winner is also among the first three best young riders:
    1/ Tony Martin (Columbia High Road) - 4h 56' 17"
    2/ Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) - 4h 56' 26" / + 00' 09"
    3/ Niki Terpstra (Milram, foto) - 4h 56' 36" / + 00' 19"

    Ranking by team
    In the ranking by team the best team is the Astana team of the yellow jersey:
    1/ Astana - 14h 49' 20"
    2/ Garmin Slipstream - 14h 49' 21" / + 00' 01"
    3/ Columbia High Road - 14h 49' 30" / + 00' 10"

    The video

    Below you can find a short video of the last kilometer of today's stage, courtesy of the Belgian channel Sporza:

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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