Thursday 12 March 2009 at 09h21

Yesterday the fourth stage of Paris-Nice 2009 took place between Vichy and Saint-Etienne.

In the 173,5 kilometers of this stage the riders discovered no less than 6 third category climbs. It was only after about 70 kilometers that a group got detached from the peloton and one of the riders of this group finally managed to win the stage.


The route

After a start fromt the finish place the day before, Vichy, the real start was in Cusset.
6 third category climbs were part of this stage:
- the Côte de Cheval Rigon at kilometer 18 (5,7 km @ 4%)
- the Col du Beau Louis at kilometer 30 (8,4 km @ 3,4%)
- the Côte de Saint-Bonnet-les-Oules at kilometer 119 (2,8 km @ 4,4%)
- the Côte de Saint-Héand at kilometer 125,5 (3,4 km @ 5,2%)
- the Côte de la Croix Blanche at kilometer 142,5 (1,8 km @ 4,9%)
- the Côte de la Rochetaillée at kilometer 167 (5,2 km @ 4,3 %)

The feeding zone was at 76 kilometer after the start close to Nervieux terwijl while two intermediate sprints were planned in:
- Saint-Galmier at kilometer 109,5
- and in Saint-Chamond at 21,5 kilometers from the finish line

This last sprint is held yearly to remind Andreï Kivilev, the rider who lost his live after a fall during Paris-Nice in 2003 in Saint-Chamond. After this accident, the UCI obliged riders to wear a helmet during road races.

Saint-Chamond is also Julien Jurdie's birth place (directeur sportif at AG2R La Mondiale).

The story of the stage

The riders who didn't start today were Bradley Wiggins (Garmin Slipstream) for personal reasons and Sylvain Calzati of the AG2R La Mondiale team.

Samuel DumoulinInitiated by Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis, photo) a leading group was formed at about 70 kilometers after the start, together with Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale), Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Caisse d'Epargne), Alexandr Kolobnev (Saxo Bank), Tony Martin (Columbia High Road), Xavier Florencio (Cervélo TestTeam) and a bit later also Christian Vandevelde (Garmin Slipstream).

Under better weather conditions than during the other days of the Race to the sun three French riders - Christophe Le Mével (Française des Jeux), Pierre Rolland (BBox Bouygues Telecom) and Geoffroy Lequatre (Agritubel) - decided to launch a counter attack at about 30 kilometers from the finish.

Christian Vandevelde A bit over 25 seconds ahead of these three riders and 45 of the peloton, the American rider Christian Vandevelde (photo) knows that something has to happen to make sure the heavy work in the leading group won't turn to be useless. At 20 kilometers from the finish he thus decides to attack and at 4 kilometers from the finish his first follower is Alberto Contador at 40 seconds.
The American however manages to keep ahead and crosses the finish line first 14 seconds ahead of the first group of followers.

The French rider Jonathan Hivert of the Dutch Skil Shimano team crosses the finish line second and shows his happiness with this second place ahead of Mirco Lorenzetto of the Lampre NGC team.

Paris-Nice visited Saint-Etienne for the 58th time this year. This makes this city the most visited city of this cycling race after Nice.


The rankings

The general ranking
Sylvain Chavanel (Quick.Step) keeps his first place in the general ranking and thus the yellow jersey but the difference with number two now is very small:
1/ Sylvain Chavanel (Quick.Step) - 13h 31' 36"
2/ Juan Manuel Garate (Rabobank) - 13h 31' 42" / + 00' 06"
3/ Juan Antonio Flecha (Rabobank) - 13h 32' 12" / + 00' 36"
4/ Alberto Contador (Astana) - 13h 32' 12" / + 00' 36"
5/ Kevin Seeldrayers (Quick.Step) - 13h 32' 13" / + 00' 37"

Ranking by points (green jersey)
The Italian rider Mirco Lorenzetto is upfront quite often in this stage race and takes the green jersey in this stage. The ranking by points now is as follows:
1/ Mirco Lorenzetto (Lampre-NGC) - 50 pts
2/ Sylvain Chavanel (Quick.Step) - 42 pts
3/ Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) - 42 pts
4/ Alberto Contador (Astana) - 34 pts
5/ Christian Vandevelde (Garmin Slipstream) - 31 pts

Best climber (polka dot jersey)
Stéphane Augé keeps his polka dot jersey while his team mate's presence in the leading group allows Samuel Dumoulin to take the second place in this ranking:
1/ Stéphane Augé (Cofidis) - 14 pts
2/ Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) - 13 pts
3/ Aitor Hernandez (Euskaltel Euskadi) - 10 pts
4/ Christian Vandevelde (Garmin Slipstream) - 8 pts
5/ Christophe Le Mével (Française des Jeux) - 6 pts

Best young rider (white jersey)
A few changes in this ranking for riders under 23:
1/ Kevin Seeldrayers (Quick.Step) - 13h 32' 13"
2/ Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) - 13h 32' 53" / + 00' 40"
3/ Jonathan Hivert (Skil Shimano) - 13h 32' 57" / + 00' 44"
4/ Heinrich Haussler (Cervélo TestTeam) - 13h 32' 59" / + 00' 46"
5/ Yuriy Trofimov (BBox Bouygues Telecom) - 13h 33' 09" / + 00' 56"

Ranking by team
Erik DekkerIn the ranking by team Erik Dekker's (photo) team is still at the first place:
1/ Rabobank - 40h 35' 50"
2/ Quick.Step - 40h 37' 32" / + 01' 42"
3/ Saxo Bank - 40h 38' 10" / + 02' 20"
4/ Cofidis - 40h 38' 49" / + 02' 59"
4/ Katusha - 28h 32' 40" / + 02' 59"

The video

Below you can see a short video of the last kilometer, courtesy of the Belgian channel Sporza:

door Thomas Vergouwen
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3 comments | 2334 views

this publication is published in: Paris-Nice


There are 3 comments!
  1. Très bon article comme tous les jours !
    Merci Thomas et Bravo pour la qualité du contenu.

    | Martin | Thursday 12 March 2009 om 10h10

  2. Merci Martin :-). Pas toujours facile de coller au mieux à l'actualité alors qu'on bosse la journée ;-) ... sauf si on se couche très tard ...

    | Thomas Vergouwen | Friday 13 March 2009 om 01h19

  3. C'est ce à quoi je pensais. Je me suis dit que tu devais passer un temps assez important.

    | Martin | Friday 13 March 2009 om 09h43

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