3.18.2014

Heartbreaking Paris-Nice - Reportage

Betancur in Yellow at the start
"Frank Schleck est seul en tete! Frank Schleck sur la Promenade des Anglais! Ah! Chute! Rui Costa! Frank Schleck aù dernier km!"  A sunny afternoon in busy Nice, people waiting at the barriers while others were strolling by the sea side or shopping in the city center. Wind at the start, almost cold, now hot and thrilling. How many years have passed since the last time a Schleck was out the front in the last km of a race... It isn't Andy but Big Bro Frank. He had told it and he has done it. He's back.
Frank Schleck at the start
When he got caught, so close to the line, it's an heartbreaking moment. The crowd roars for the French champion Vichot, while the World Champion Rui Costa passes, his head down, his body sore for the recent crash that cut his last hope to grab the Yellow Jersey from Betancur's shoulders after a series of second places. Heartbreaking as well. But in this Paris-Nice it has been everyday an open fight of fearless fighters. And crashes have played a role.
In the fast finish of stage 6, up the hairpins to Fayence, the young Alexis Vuillermoz was flying solo toward the win, the team mate and leader Betancur in the first chasing group wearing Yellow and playing as a stopper. But Vuillermoz fell in one of the last curves. Heartbreaking fall this one! and  Betancur was ready and cool to attack securing AG2R a second stage result.
David Lopez-Garcia
Carlos Alberto Betancur showed a form and a class that nobody else had in that week. And I like him. But it has been a deep pity to see Geraint Thomas losing all in a crash. The young Welsh of Team Sky had impressed me and I was sure he could get a podium  spot at least. He was well interpreting a difficult role: team leader after the previous winner Richie Porte, diverted to Tirreno-Adriatico to replace Chris Froome. He went straight against a guardrail, finished stage 7 but couldn't start the next day. It's fair to name here Thomas' last man, David Lopez Garcia, who did a lot of priceless work and in stage 8 kept high the flag for Team Sky: bravo!
Frank at the finish: too fast for my camera!
In the sun of Nice many riders shone and it's a new generation now riding in front: Tom Jelte Slagter - two stages won -  Arthur Vichot, Wilco Kelderman, Cyril Gautier, Bob Jungels...
No prologue, no TT has meant a very open race, once of the best editions of Paris-Nice as far as I remember and even if I see also Tirreno has been great - and I regret a little to have not gone there - a more balanced one. Monster climbs don't help a clean cycling and limited the number of possible winners.
Back to Nice, my heart was already broken when I got there and it has not been easy, but finally each one is free to live his/her life how he/she prefers (and to get the consequences).

Rui Costa at the finish, after the crash
I have tons of photo to edit and post: stay tuned :)
RESULTS 
STAGE 7

1 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin Sharp 5:00:05  
2 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida    
3 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale    
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team    
5 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr    
6 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol    
7 Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling    
8 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team    
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team    
10 Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing Team    
11 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar    
12 Michael Matthews (Aus) Orica GreenEdge    
13 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team    
14 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team    
15 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge    
16 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo    
17 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team    
18 Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team    
19 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha    
20 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
STAGE 8

1 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr 3:06:56  
2 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team    
3 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar    
4 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale    
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team    
6 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing    
7 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin Sharp    
8 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale    
9 George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale    
10 Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne - Seche Environnement    
11 Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing Team    
12 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team Sky    
13 Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling    
14 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
15 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling    
16 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-Merida    
17 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team    
18 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha    
19 Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team    
20 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team    
21 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
22 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge
.......................
65 Andy Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 7'32''
 
FINAL GC
1 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale 35:11:45  
2 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida 0:00:14  
3 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:20  
4 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:21  
5 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:00:29  
6 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:31  
7 Stefan Denifl (Aut) IAM Cycling 0:00:35  
8 Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha 0:00:36  
9 Peter Velits (Svk) BMC Racing Team 0:00:39  
10 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Belisol 0:00:41  
11 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:00:46  
12 Gorka Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:50  
13 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 0:01:05  
14 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale 0:01:12  
15 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:01:33  
16 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin Sharp 0:01:37  
17 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:01:57  
18 Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:02:05  
19 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:06  
20 Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:02:09  
21 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:02:17  
22 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Lotto Belisol    
23 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:02:37  
24 Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:02:47  
25 Dries Devenyns (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano    
26 George Bennett (NZl) Cannondale 0:02:51  
27 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-Merida 0:03:09  
28 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:17  
29 John Gadret (Fra) Movistar Team 0:03:18  
30 Andre Fernando S. Martins Cardoso (Por) Garmin Sharp 0:03:19  
31 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:04:49  
32 Luis Angel Mate Mardones (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits    
33 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida 0:05:06  
34 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:05:38  
35 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling 0:07:37  
36 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:11:00  
37 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team 0:12:19  
38 Mikael Cherel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:13:56  
39 Iurii Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:14:11  
40 Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:14:54  
41 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:15:08  
42 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) Garmin Sharp 0:15:55  
43 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:16:16  
44 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge 0:17:33  
45 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:17:55  
46 Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:20:41  
47 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Team Sky 0:22:19  
48 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 0:22:49  
49 Romain Zingle (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:23:28  
50 Marco Marcato (Ita) Cannondale 0:24:15  
51 Alex Howes (USA) Garmin Sharp 0:24:36  
52 Fabio Felline (Ita) Trek Factory Racing 0:25:09  
53 Jens Keukeleire (Bel) Orica GreenEdge 0:27:19  
54 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:28:05  
55 Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing 0:29:51  
56 Sergei Chernetckii (Rus) Team Katusha 0:31:57  
57 Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:31:59  
58 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Astana Pro Team 0:35:13  
59 Michel Koch (Ger) Cannondale 0:36:30  
60 Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:36:33  
61 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:36:51  
62 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 0:37:14  
63 Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:38:05  
64 Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Team Katusha 0:38:07  
65 Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale 0:41:08  
66 Andy Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:41:48  
67 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (RSA) Team Giant-Shimano 0:42:15  
68 Egor Silin (Rus) Team Katusha 0:42:26  
69 Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:42:38  
70 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 0:42:50  
71 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano 0:42:52  
72 Nelson Filipe Santos Simoes Oliveira (Por) Lampre-Merida 0:43:01  
73 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team 0:43:21  
74 Grégory Rast (Swi) Trek Factory Racing 0:44:10  
75 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 0:45:11  
76 Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:45:45  
77 Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Cannondale 0:46:27  
78 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale 0:48:16  
79 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:48:22  
80 Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:48:59  
81 Alexey Tsatevich (Rus) Team Katusha 0:49:19  
82 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team Europcar 0:49:42  
83 Mattia Cattaneo (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:49:47  
84 Moreno Hofland (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 0:49:57  
85 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Belisol 0:50:44  
86 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:51:02  
87 Christophe Laborie (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:51:41  
88 Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:52:07  
89 Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:52:25  
90 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:52:56  
91 Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar 0:54:15  
92 Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:54:23  
93 Xabier Zandio Echaide (Spa) Team Sky 0:54:57  
94 Bryan Nauleau (Fra) Team Europcar 0:56:01  
95 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:56:17  
96 Stijn Vandenbergh (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:56:42  
97 Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky 0:58:07  
98 Luca Wackermann (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:58:31  
99 Thierry Hupond (Fra) Team Giant-Shimano 0:58:37  
100 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Movistar Team 0:58:41  
101 Nikolas Maes (Bel) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 1:00:44  
102 Jesus Herrada Lopez (Spa) Movistar Team 1:00:52  
103 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Trek Factory Racing 1:02:08  
104 Jos van Emden (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 1:03:37  
105 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin Sharp 1:03:56  
106 Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Team Europcar 1:04:08  
107 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo 1:05:00  
108 Thor Hushovd (Nor) BMC Racing Team 1:05:49  
109 Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdge 1:06:41  
110 Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 1:07:33  
111 Matteo Bono (Ita) Lampre-Merida 1:07:48  
112 Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin Sharp 1:08:34  
113 Kevin Ista (Bel) IAM Cycling 1:10:02  
114 Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo 1:10:53  
115 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol 1:13:18  
116 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) IAM Cycling 1:13:40  
117 Bert De Backer (Bel) Team Giant-Shimano 1:15:41  
118 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Sky 1:19:47  
119 Nikolay Trusov (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo 1:20:42  
120 Luke Rowe (GBr) Team Sky 1:23:21  
121 Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano 1:27:03  
122 Gabriel Rasch (Nor) Team Sky 1:28:37  
123 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica GreenEdge 1:30:10  
124 Aleksejs Saramotins (Lat) IAM Cycling 1:30:26  
BEST YOUTH
1 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) AG2R La Mondiale 35:11:45  
2 Sébastien Reichenbach (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:00:46  
3 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Belkin-Pro Cycling Team 0:01:05  
4 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin Sharp 0:01:37  
5 Bob Jungels (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:02:05  
POINTS
1 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
MOUNTAIN
1 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Lotto Belisol 44  pts
2 Mathias Frank (Swi) IAM Cycling 25  
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling 20  
4 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team 19  
5 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 16  
TEAM
1 Movistar Team 105:37:05  
2 AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:34  
3 IAM Cycling 0:04:12  
4 Lampre-Merida 0:05:26  
5 Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:08:41  
6 Lotto Belisol 0:09:41  
7 Team Katusha 0:13:06  
8 Trek Factory Racing 0:15:21  
9 Astana Pro Team 0:16:19  
10 Garmin Sharp 0:17:20  
11 BMC Racing Team 0:17:28  
12 Cannondale 0:17:37  
13 Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:27:35  
14 FDJ.fr 0:27:54  
15 Orica Greenedge 0:38:57  
16 Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:39:31  
17 Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:42:25  
18 Team Europcar 0:53:11  
19 Team Sky 0:59:08  
20 Team Giant-Shimano 1:12:14  
21 Tinkoff-Saxo 1:14:10  

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