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Articles for the week of 3/5/05, featuring Paris-Nice the "Race to the sun"-
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Scroll down to read these articles from L'Equipe.  Translated by Walt Ballenberger

Paris-Nice- Julich in the Sun-  03/13/05
Paris-Nice- Posthuma Definitely There-  03/12/05
Paris-Nice- Success for Simoni- 03/11/05
Paris-Nice- Cancellara in the Wind-  03/10/05
Paris-Nice- Armstrong Abandons- 03/10/05
Paris-Nice- Success to Reynes-  03/09/05
Paris-Nice- Again Boonen-  03/08/05
Paris-Nice- Boonan in a Sprint- 03/07/05
Paris- Nice- Voigt the Fastest- 03/06/05
Success for Gil- 03/06/05
Gil Takes the Lead- 03/05/05

Julich in the Sun-  03/13/05

The American Bobby Julich (CSC team) was victorious Sunday on the “Promenade des
Anglais” (Promenade of the English- famous street in Nice) at the end of the seventh and final
stage of Paris-Nice, the final stage won by the Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, the fastest on the
Promenade des Anglais.

Julich ended up 10 seconds ahead of Valverde in the overall classification, the first of the new
Pro Tour circuit.  33 years of age, Julich, who resides in Nice during the European season,
confirmed the supremacy of his team which has been very strong this season (Jens Voigt won
the Tour Mediterraneen earlier).  The Danish team already won Paris-Nice last year with the
victory by the German Jorg Jaksche.

In the last stage, run on an accident prone course of 135km around Nice, Valverde beat out a
small peleton by several lengths.  The Kazak Alexander Vinokourov, who took the lead on the
descent of the col d”Eze, and the Spaniard Alberto Contador, who survived a long escape
which began in the 7th kilometer of the race, were only caught in the last few hundred meters.  
The Italian Franco Pellizotti was awarded second place in the stage ahead of Kim Kirchen from
Luxemburg.

Julich, third in the Tour de Franc in 1998, made a comback last year after he joined the team of
CSC managed by Bjarn Riis.  Third in Paris-Nice in 2004, he won the bronze medal in the
individual time trial in the Olympic Games in Athens.  Originally from Corpus Christi, Texas,
Julich is the first American to win the “race to the sun”, which took place this year in very difficult
weather conditions in the early days (three stages were shortened).  Valverde, 24 years of age
and one of the up and coming riders in international cycling, took his first victory in France.

Posthuma Definitely There-  03/12/05

After a long escape which took off in the first hour of the race, Joost Posthuma (Rabobank
team) treated himself to a real party by pulling away from his seven companions and taking his
first significant victory in the sixth stage of Paris-Nice between La Crau and Cannes.  At the
finish la Croisette, the Dutchman was in front of Jorg Ludewig and Aaron Kemps.

Joined by the future winner on the last climb (Tanneron pass) and outraced on the descent, the
German Jorg Ludewig took second place at 1’11” behind the Dutchman.  For third place the
Australian Aaron Kemps beat the Frenchman Cyril Dessel in a sprint at the end of 184
kilometers of racing which under sunny skies passed over 6  small mountain passes of the back
country of the Cote Azur.  The peleton, led by the Belgian Tom Boonen, crosses the finish line
at 4’02” behind the winner.

Julich, Serene Leader
In the general classification, Bobby Julich (CSC team) kept his leading position and his 19
second lead over the Spaniard Constantino Zaballa before the last stage which will take place
around Nice on a circuit prone to accidents.  The American spent the warm day well protected
by his teammates  and by the passivity of his rivals.

The CSC team was happy to keep a reasonable time gap- four to five minutes most of the time-
behind the escapees of which the most dangerous in the general classification (Jorg Ludewig)
stated the day 7 minutes behind.  “Everything went perfectly” stated the leader, very optimistic
with one day to go.

The Reactions:

Joost Posthuma (Rabobank team), stage winner:
“I wasn’t thinking of winning the stage.  It’s a dream!  The most difficult part was a corner
messed up in the last descent.  I picked the wrong trajectory.  Ludewig was just behind me but I
pulled away from him.  I knew the wind was blowing in a favorable direction at the finish”.

Bobby Julich (CSC team), leader of the general classification:
“The was the best day for me since the beginning of the event.  The team was strong and so
was I.  Everything was perfect.  My rivals must have lost some moral.  They tried to accelerate
on the Tanneron but we responded.  They backed off after that.  My teammates were rolling
like motorcycles.  I know these roads well.  I think I’ll be able to keep the leader’s jersey until the
finish”.

Success for Simoni- 03/11/05

Double winner of the Tour of Italy in 2001 and 2003, Gilberto Simoni (Lampre team) once again
found glory on the heights around Toulon.  At the summit of Mount Faron, the Italian broke
away by himself and won the 5th stage (172.5km) of Paris-Nice, which had been animated by a
breakaway of four riders (Serpellini, Hayman, Jalabert, Fritsch) which in turn was brought back
into the pack on the early slopes of Mount Faron.  To win his first victory of the season, the
Lampre rider defeated the Australian Cadel Evans (Lotto team) and the Frenchman David
Moncoutie (Cofidis team) by 20 seconds.

The American Bobby Julich (CSC team) took the lead in the general classification in front of two
Spaniards, Constantino Zaball (Saulnier-Duval team) by 19 seconds, and Alejandro Valverde
(Iles Baleares team) by 20 seconds.  Jens Voigt, one of the big favorites, lost more than a
minute on this stage which also showed the limits of the Kazak, Alexander Vinokourov.  The
German thus finds himself trailing the yellow and white leader’s jersey by 44 seconds.

Cancellara in the Wind-  03/10/05

In a violent wind that was perfect for causing splits in the peleton, Fabian Cancellara (Fassa
Bortolo team) won the fourth stage of Paris-Nice, once again shortened because of bad
weather and run Thursday between Saint-Peray and Montelimar, and he took the leader’s
jersey from Tom Boonen.

After having given the slip to a group of 9 escapees, the Swiss got the best of the Estonian
Jaan Kirsipuu and his teammate the Spaniard Juan Antonio Flecha.  The American Bobby
Julich came in fourth a few seconds ahead of the Frenchman Nicolas Jalabert and the German
Jorg Jakksche, last year’s winner of the event.

The main peleton, led by the Belgian Tom Boonen, crossed the finish line 30 seconds behind
the stage winner.  This day was highlighted by the abandonment of Lance Armstrong.  The six
time winner of the Tour de France left the race on Wednesday evening because he had a fever.

The next stage which leaves from Rognes, should be decisive.  After 172.5 km of racing the
finish is at the summit of Mont-Faron, overlooking Toulon.  The last climb is 5.5km in length and
has an average slope of 8.9%, steep enough to determine the final hierarchy.

The reaction of Favian Cancellara after his win:

“From the start of Paris-Nice, we wanted to come up with a stage win.  The conditions for that
were even more favorable today.  We were warned by our sporting director that the wind
direction had changed at the end of the course, and that’s why were we in a position to prevail.  
At the finish I thought that Flecha was going to win the sprint, but he took off too soon.  He
slowed, and as I kept contact with Kirsipuu, I was able to pass him.  This win gives me a lot of
confidence, but I don’t think I’ll be able to retain the leader’s jersey.  Flecha and Kirchen have a
bigger advantage than I do over the terrain of the remaining stages.  And I’m thinking about my
objectives in the northern classics, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, and I need to save
some strength for those difficult races“.




Armstrong Abandons- 03/10/05-

Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel team) has dropped out of the Paris-Nice race.  According
to his team, he is suffering from a sore throat.  He returned to his home in Gerona, Spain on
Wednesday night, after the third stage of the race.  “Lance woke up with a sore throat, and with
the cold weather, he felt worse and worse as the day went on”, stated his team manager, Johan
Bruyneel, on the team web site.

“When we got back to the hotel, he began to show signs of fever.  We decided it would be
better for him to go back to Gerona immediately”, stated Bruyneel.

In the general classification, Armstrong was in 62nd place, 1’35” behind the leader, the Belgian
Tom Boonen.  After a poor prologue on Sunday, the worst of his career, according to him, and
three stages in the middle of the peleton, the six time winner of the Tour de France decided to
drop out.

Paris-Nice, which from the beginning has taken place in difficult weather conditions (cold and
snow), was the first race of the season for the Texan.  On the evening of the first stage on
Monday he already confided that he was behind on his training program.  “This is my first race
of the season and I’m not very sharp”, he stated.  “I’m probably behind because I stayed longer
in the U.S. than normal”.

Having come without ambitions of winning, he was hoping to simply accumulate some kilometers
this week.  “I’ll be back on the bike in two days”, stated the Texan.  The next race on the Pro
Tour calendar that he plans to compete in is the Tour of Flanders, set for April 3rd.

Success to Reynes-  09/03/05

The Spaniard, Vicente Reynes (Iles Baleares team) won the third stage in a photo finish this
Wednesday at Craponne-sur-Arzon.  The Belgian Tom Boonen (Quick Step team) held onto
the leader’s jersey.  Because of bad weather the stage, which had been scheduled for 180km,
was shortened to 118km with the finish at Crapon-sur-Arzon instead of Chambon-sur-Lignon.

Reynes, 23 years old, won in a close sprint on a false flat.  He came in ahead of the Italian
Guido Trenti and the U.S. champion Fred Rodriguez.

During the stage, which was shortened because of snow, the German Jorg Jaksche (Liberty
Seguros team) tried to put himself back into the overall lead.  Jaksche managed to escape from
the main field on the most difficult climb of the day with forty kilometers left to the finish, and he
rejoined a group of a dozen other riders who escaped early in the race led by David Moncoutie
(Cofidis).  However, the peleton brought back the escapees with ten kilometers left to the finish
line.

The Spaniard Egoi Martinez, joined by the Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis) who had
already tried an escape yesterday, left the pack but were caught along with Jaksche and the
others.

In the overall classification, Boonen still leads the Dutchman Erik Dekker (Robobank) by 3
seconds.  Reynes is now in 3rd place, 4 seconds behind the leader. 23 years of age and a
native of Majorca, Reyes turned professional in 2003.  This afternoon he won his first victory as
a pro after a series of good results in February (3rd in the Trophy of Majorca, 4th in the Ruta
del Sol).


Again Boonen-  03/08/05-

And now two!  After having won the first stage Monday at Chabris, the Belgian Tom Boonen
(Quick Step team) won his second sprint Tuesday at Thiers.  This second stage was reduced
from 144.5 to 46.5km because of snow.  Sprint bonuses allowed Boonen to take the overall
lead from the Dutchman Erik Dekker (Rabobank team), now second at 3 seconds behind.

This stage went at a high speed from the beginning led by the teammates of Dekker, and it was
an intense stage of only 53 minutes and 31 seconds.  The German Jens Voigt, the big favorite
to win the overall event, raced away on the last hill with Kim Kirchen of Luxembourg but didn’t
manage to build up enough of a gap to win over Boonen, who took his fourth race victory of the
season.

Boonan in a Sprint- 03/07/05

Tom Boonen (Quick Step team) sprinted to victory in the first stage of Paris-Nice, which took
place over 186.5km between Etampes and Chabris.  Showing great power, the Belgian easily
outdistanced a group of 20 racers which formed after a crash which took place at the head of
the peleton at 8 km before the finish.

The Brazilian Luciano Pagliarini (Liquidas team) took second place in front of the Estonian Jaan
Kirsipuu (AG2R team).  Jimmy Casper, the sprinter for team Cofidis, came in a respectable 4th.

The peleton was broken up at the finish line after this crash that slowed the last two winners of
the event, the Kazak Alexander Vinokourov (T-Mobine team) and the German Jorg Jaksche
(Liberty Seguros team).

At the finish Dekker took the yellow and white leader jersey from the German Jens Voigt (CSC
team) thanks to time bonuses in the intermediate sprints.  The two racers, who have the same
overall time, lead the general classification with a two second margin over the Swiss rider
Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo team).

The stage, 186.5km in length, featured a long escape by the Frenchman Fabien Sanchez
(Francaise des Jeux team) and the Spaniard Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano (Libery Seguros
team), who built up a gap of 7’45” over the main field before being caught a dozen kilometers
from the finish.

Boonen, the great hope of Belgian cycling and a candidate to replace Johan Museeuw in that
capacity, took his third victory of the season, after two stage wins in the Tour of Qatar in
January.


Paris- Nice- Voigt the Fastest- 03/06/05

On a course that was urban and demanding, ideal for hard-hitters because the racing was
short and at the same time violent, Jens Voigt showed he was the fastest during the prologue
(4 km) of Paris-Nice, which took place this Sunday in the streets of d’Issy-les-Moulineaux.

The weather was sunny but glacially cold, and the German from the CSC team beat out
another specialist of the discipline, the Swiss Fabian Cancellara (Fassa Bortolo team), by 2
seconds and the Dutchman Erik Dekker (Rabobank team) by 3 seconds.  The leading
Frenchman was Sylvain Chavanel (Bouygues Telecom team) who took an excellent 5th place.

As for Lance Armstrong (Discovery Channel team), he didn’t get involved in the fight to win the
stage and finished…… 140th, at 27 seconds behind the winner.  Following the example of
Chavanel, Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom team) came in with a good time and was in
14th place.

Jens Voigt, 32 years of age, confirmed that he is the man in the best condition at the moment.  
After a victory in the Tour Mediterranean, with three stage wins, including a surprising one on
Faron mountain, the German racer won his fifth race since the beginning of the season.

For the rest of the event, he is therefore the big favorite especially since his team, dedicated to
working for him to win, is very strong.  The Dutch team, managed by Bjarne Riis, is a strong
group, composed of all around and experienced riders like Bobby Julich (3rd in last year’s
race), Carlos Satres, and Kurte Asle Arvensen, 12th in today’s race.  Not to be forgotten either
is the young Russian Vladimir Gussev, who created a surprise this afternoon by finishing in 4th
position.

Monday, in the first stage from Etampes to Chabris (186.5km), the peleton will travel through
the Indre region of France.  The course looks to be one for the sprinters.  Nazon, Kirsipuu,
Boonen, and Pollack should be in the front.

Success for Gil- 03/06/05

The Spaniard Koldo Gil Perez (Liberty team) won the 25th edition of the Tour de Murcie on
Sunday.  The victory in the last stage went to his teammate, the Australian Allan Davis, who
won in a sprint.

Gil Takes the Lead- 03/05/05

The Spaniard Pedro Arreitunandia (Barloworld team) took the victory Saturday in the 4th stage
of the 25th edition of the Tour de Murcie, staged over 152km between Aguilas and the Mont
Collado, while his compatriot Koldo Gil (Liberty team) took over the lead of the general
classification.

Koldo Gil, second on Saturday, dethroned the German Danilo Hondo (Gerolsteiner team), who
was leading the general classification since the first stage which he won on Wednesday.

“I broke from the peleton in order to win the stage, but I wasn’t able to pull away from
Arreitunandia in the final stretch.  He took advantage of my effort in order to win, but I took the
overall lead and except for an unexpected incident I should win this tour, and for me that would
be a great triumph”, stated Gil.

The main stage of this tour, composed of three third category climbs and two of first category in
the last part of the stage, was raced at a fast pace.  The Spaniard Adolfo Garcia Quesada and
the German Marcus Burghardt launched an escape which built up a lead of 5’30” on the main
field.  But these two riders were caught 20km from the finish.  

In the climb of Collado Bermejo, the leader Danilo Hondo stalled, while Koldo, Arreitunandia,
and the Italian Damiano Cunego escaped.  The Italian fell back because of a mechanical
incident leaving the two Spaniards to fight for the stage win.

Sunday, the 5th and final stage leaves and arrives in Murcie after a loop of 150.6km.
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