Paris-Nice – Stage 1

Photo: Bettini

The Paris – Nice 7 day stage race got underway on Sunday with the opening prologue TT and continued today with a flat sprint-finish stage. Lars Boom won the TT with many of the top GC contenders placing well. Gert Steegmans, however did not as he was literally picked up off the ground going 74kmph by an extremely strong whirlwind and suffered the races first casualty with a broken collarbone.

Whether also made headlines during stage one as the Peleton split during heavy crosswinds and race favorite Alberto Contador was caught on the bad side of the break. He lost time in the overall standings to many of the other favorites, while Kiwi Greg Henderson closed the stage with a win for Team Sky.

Numerous crashes dotted the course as many of the CG contenders were down on the tarmac at various points of the stage. Alberto Contador and Heinrich Haussler both crashed within the final 3 km but were able to finish in the group which lost 17 seconds and included other favorites such as Samuel Sanchez, who also crashed, Levi Leipheimer, who crashed as well and Frank Schleck who managed to get through unscathed.

The largest losers on the day were in a second Peleton which was split from the first due to the wind. This group lost 7 minutes and 12 seconds and contained Damiano Cunego, Christian Vande Velde, Oscar Pereiro and Chris Horner.

Prologue results (8 km):
1 Lars Boom (Rabobank)_______10.56 43.9 km avg
2 Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank)______10.59 + 00.03
3 Levi Leipheimer (RadioShack)_11.02 + 00.06
4 Alberto Contador (Astana)___11.02 + 00.06
5 Peter Sagan (Liquigas)______11.06 + 00.10
6 Xavier Tondo (Cervelo)______11.07 + 00.11
7 David Millar (Garmin)________11.08 + 00.12
8 Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel)__11.12 + 00.16
9 Janez Brajkovic (RadioShack)_11.13 + 00.17
10 Andriy Grivko (Astana)______11.13 + 00.17

Stage 1 results:
1 Gregory Henderson (NZl) Team Sky_______4:22:17
2 Grega Bole (Slo) Lampre
3 Jeremy Galland (Fra) Saur Sojasun
4 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Katusha
5 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne
6 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale
7 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank
8 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil
9 Dan Martin (Irl) Garmin-Transitions
10 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas Doimo

General Classification after Prologue and Stage 1

1. BOOM Lars ________RABOBANK_________4h 33′ 11″
2. VOIGT Jens________TEAM SAXO BANK___+00′ 05″
3. MILLAR David______GARMIN____________+ 00′ 13″
4. SANCHEZ Luis-Leon_CAISSE D’EPARGNE__+ 00′ 14″
5. KREUZIGER Roman___LIQUIGAS-DOIMO___+ 00′ 15″
6. HENDERSON Gregory_TEAM SKY_________+ 00′ 20″
7. LEIPHEIMER Levi____TEAM RADIOSHACK__+ 00′ 25″
8. CONTADOR Alberto__ASTANA___________+ 00′ 25″
9. SAGAN Peter_______LIQUIGAS-DOIMO___+ 00′ 29″
10.TONDO Xavier______CERVELO TEST_____+ 00′ 29″
11.VALVERDE Alejandro_CAISSE D’EPARGNE__+ 00′ 31″
13.SANCHEZ Samuel___EUSKALTEL-EUSKADI_+ 00′ 34″

Photo: Sirotti

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