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Rémy Di Grégorio (Astana) against wind and rain, winner of the forelast stage of Paris-Nice 2011

Added: saturday 12 March 2011 at 19:35:00
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    Rémy Di Grégorio (Astana) against wind and rain, winner of the forelast stage of Paris-Nice 2011Karsten Kroon (BMC Racing Team) gave everything he had but finally Rémy Di Gregorio (Astana) managed to win the forelast stage of Paris-Nice 2011 under the rain and against the wind, in Biot.

    The French rider attacked from the peloton in the last round on the circuit around Biot and managed, despite a slippery at a few kilometers from the finish, to stay ahead of the peloton and finish this stage with a solo victory.

    The summary of the 7th stage of Paris-Nice 2011

    This morning in Brignoles the riders still hesitated how to dress for this stage, but as soon as they left the bus they quickly realised that today would be a hard day and that an extra layer of clothing would definitely be worth it.

    Due to the expected wind and rain, the organisor decided to start 15 minutes early but despite that the riders finished the stage late on the slowest expected time.

    The 159 riders who came to the start early this afternoon respected one minute of silence in honour of the victims of the earth quake and tsunami in Japan. Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team), Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) and Daniele Righi (Lampre-ISD) were not part of that since these three riders didn't start today.

    Geoffroy LequatreQuickly after the start, it started raining above the peloton and that was enough reason for Geoffroy Lequatre to quit this 69th Paris-Nice.

    Several attacks followed, for example with Andriy Grivko (Astana), Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) and Damien Gaudin (Team Europcar) and than with Laurens Ten Dam (Rabobank) and Sébastien Minard (AG2R La Mondiale) who got company from Jurgen Roelandts (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Ivan Santaromita (BMC Racing Team) and finally also Grega Bole (Lampre-ISD). The leading group of the 5 last mentioned riders was finally also taken back and after several other attempts to attack which didn't really work out Karsten Kroonit was only at kilometer 82 that today's leading group was formed by Karsten Kroon (BMC Racing Team) and Eric Berthou (Bretagne-Schuller).

    While this leading duo extended its gap, it was up to Jurgen van de Walle (Omega Pharma-Lotto), Francesco Gavazzi (Lampre-ISD) and Nicolas Roche (AG2R La Mondiale) to give up. A bit surprising for Roche since the Irish rider announced yesterday on his Twitter account that he would meet his mother and brothers at the finish. The gap of the leading duo reached its maximum at 6'50".

    In total 19 riders left Paris-Nice 2011 during this stage, including Gregory Henderson (Team Sky), Sandy Casar (FDJ), Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale), Fränk Schleck (Team Leopard-Trek), Jakob Fuglsang (Team Leopard-Trek) and Serguei Ivanov (Katusha Team).

    Lieuwe WestraIn the final part of the stage, the Dutch rider Lieuwe Westra finally started the pursuit of the two riders but when he slipped and fell he decided to give up this attempt as well and slowly dropped back to the peloton. While the peloton was driven by Movistar Team, Karsten Kroon drops Berthou in the first lap on the circuit around Biot.

    The Dutch rider did his very best to try to finish this stage in a solo win, but when he started the final lap his gap on the peloton was down to only 1'05". In the last lap, Kroon gives up and gets taken back by the peloton. When he's taken back, the French rider Rémy Di Grégorio (Astana) decided to give it a try. This try turned out to be successful because the rider from Marseille managed not to fall in the most slippery parts of the circuit and finally stays ahead of Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Rigoberto Uran for 5 seconds.

    The slippery roads made several victims and the rider who seemed to be the biggest victim was Robert Kiserlovski (Astana). Rémy Di Grégorio's team mate fell and slipped under a car. It turned out not to be very easy to escape from there. The Croatian rider was taken to the hospital. Apparently he's globally fine and the bruises on his face will probably not have a big impact on the rest of his season after Paris-Nice.

    Rémy Di Grégorio's comments

    After the finish, Rémy Di Grégorio indicated he has changed since he joined Astana, mainly mentally and concerning his maturity, now he is 26 years old and has a 7 year pro rider experience.

    You don't get a chance like this every day in Paris-Nice. I thus took my chance and today it turned out to be successfull. I've always believed in it.

    On the question about his chances to particate in the Tour de France 2011 now he has won this stage, the French rider answered: I don't even think of the Tour de France at this time, my season no longer depends on the Tour alone, I don't even think about it. I now think of each race I participate in and I don't really look that much ahead.

    I enjoy today's victory and that's it for now. I don't want to think about possible good results in the Classics based on my victory in this stage. I'm happy to work for leaders like Alexandre Vinokourov and Roman Kreuziger
    .

    Concerning the final part of the stage which turned out not to be very easy for Di Grégorio, he said: Until the last moment I didn't count on winning the stage, I thus gave everything I could until the end! I took some risks but I knew what I was doing. When my rear wheel slipped I didn't think of potentially falling, I stayed on my bike. I more thaught about the influence it might have on my gap.

    The classifications on the day before the finish in Nice

    The classification of the 7th stage of Paris-Nice 2011

    The top 5 of this stage is completed by Andreas Klöden (Team Radioshack) who won the 5th stage and by the yellow jersey Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) who thus doesn't lose any time on his first runner-up.

    1/ Rémy Di Grégorio (Astana) - 5h46'23"
    2/ Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) - +0'05"
    3/ Rigoberto Uran (Team Sky)
    4/ Andreas Klöden (Team Radioshack) - +0'07"
    5/ Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad)

    The general classification after the 7th stage

    The general classification remains unchanged since riders like Rein Taaramae (Cofidis), Janez Brajkovic (Team Radioshack) and Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) also finished in the top 10 of today's stage:

    1/ Tony Martin (HTC-Highroad) - 30h46'17"
    2/ Andreas Klöden (Team Radioshack) - +0'36"
    3/ Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) - +0'41"
    4/ Rein Taaramae (Cofidis, le crédit en ligne) - +1'10"
    5/ Jean-Christophe Péraud (AG2R La Mondiale) - +1'21"

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Paris-Nice 2011| Paris-Nice | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati

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