Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Paris - Nice Stage 8

You had to feel sorry for Alberto Contador: after an absolutely disastrous Stage 7, where he bonked with about 7 km to go, he made an incredibly brave, but ultimately futile, attack on the yellow jersey in Stage 8. At the finish, 
Antonio Colom of Katusha outsprinted Contador for the stage win, but more importantly, Luis Leon Sanchez came in only 17 seconds later to ensure his overall win.
Sanchez, and his Caisse d'Epargne Team, did a fantastic job of controlling the race, and never allowed the break to get more than 2 minutes ahead. This was, in my opinion, one of the best Paris - Nice races we've seen in some time, full of attacks, tactical riding and a leadership changing almost daily.
Final general classification
1 Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne         30.53.51
2 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team Saxo Bank                      1.00
3 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step                          1.09
4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana                               1.24
5 Antonio Colom (Spa) Team Katusha                         1.47
6 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team Saxo Bank                            1.59
7 Kevin Seeldrayers (Bel) Quick Step                          2.29
8 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Skil-Shimano                          2.57
9 Yury Trofimov (Rus) BBox Bouygues Telecom             3.37
10 Mevel Christophe Le (Fra) Française Des Jeux          4.00

 It was not to be for Contador and his much vaunted Astana Team, and I'm sure that not making the podium will not sit well with the team, but for Alberto this is still early in the season; his target this year is the Tour de France. I was a little surprised how easily he was isolated from his team, but I'm sure he will have a stronger, more focussed team around him come July. And I'm sure we will see that in action in 2 months time at the Giro, where Lance Armstrong will have the job of defending Contador's 2008 victory, and there's no-one in the sport better at motivating a team to work for it's lead rider than the 7-times Tour de France winner.

Thanks for reading.