Andreas Kloden of Team RadioShack is the new leader of Paris-Nice, winning Stage 5 of the Race to the Sun in Vernoux-en-Vivarais this afternoon. The German, one of eight riders in contention for the stage win, just held off Euskaltel-Euskadi’s Samuel Sanchez on the line, with Matteo Carrara of Vacansoleil-DCM third.
Today’s 193km stage from Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coisesaw the first Category 1 climbs of this year’s race. For most riders, those would have been the first such climbs tackled in competition this season, and it was clear that much of the peloton was suffering.
The last climb of the day, the Category 1 Col de la Mure, came 11 kilomtres from the finish and saw Roman Kreuziger of Astana go on the attack as the peloton broke up behind him.
The Czech rider was swiftly overhauled however as others made their own moves, and it was the first eight men over the summit who ended up contesting the finale.
Inside the closing kilometre, Tony Martin of HTC-Columbia had his head down at the front of that group, with Sanchez sitting on his wheel.However, after a hard day’s riding, the Spaniard who usually would have been one of the favourites to take the sprint in these circumstances, appeared to have nothing left in the tank.
Kloden, urged on by team mate Janez Brajkovic who himself finished seventh, just managed to get across the line in front of the Euskaltel-Euskadi rider, and now leads the race by four seconds from the Olympic champion.
Afterwards, Kloden, quoted on the Paris-Nice website, paid tribute to the young Slovenian, saying: "Thanks to Janez Brajkovic, he led the sprint very well. I didn’t think I could beat Samuel Sanchez in a sprint. It’s a great performance by the whole team and it’s a victory by the team. I had good legs, I tried to stay with the best in the climb.
"Janez was there with me and there were other good riders like Martin and we were hoping to win the stage. For sure, we’ll try to defend the jersey but we’ll see from day to day. Tomorrow is a hard time trial and also the last four days were very hard and nervous. I hope the legs stay like this and I can also do a good time trial.
Team Sky's Bradley Wigins came home in te second group, 19 seconds down on the leaders. Tipped by Garmin-Cervelo manager Jonathan Vaughters as a potential winner of this year's race, the British rider lies 17th overall, 29 seconds off Kloden's time.
With tomorrow’s Stage 6 being a 26km individual time trial from Rognes to Aix-en-Provence, Wiggins will be looking to use his strength in the discipline to move substantially up the overall standings.
Paris-Nice Stage 5 Result
1 KLÖDEN Andréas TEAM RADIOSHACK 4h 59' 00"
2 SANCHEZ Samuel EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI + 00' 00"
3 CARRARA Matteo VACANSOLEIL-DCM + 00' 00"
4 MARTIN Tony HTC - HIGHROAD + 00' 00"
5 TAARAMAE Rein COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE + 00' 00"
6 KISERLOVSKI Robert PRO TEAM ASTANA + 00' 00"
7 BRAJKOVIC Janez TEAM RADIOSHACK + 00' 00"
8 TONDO Xavier MOVISTAR TEAM + 00' 00"
9 SANCHEZ Luis-Leon RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM + 00' 18"
10 ROLLAND Pierre TEAM EUROPCAR + 00' 19"
11 SORENSEN Chris SAXO BANK SUNGARD + 00' 19"
12 HESJEDAL Ryder TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO + 00' 19"
13 MONFORT Maxime TEAM LEOPARD-TREK + 00' 19"
14 WIGGINS Bradley SKY PROCYCLING + 00' 19"
15 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO + 00' 19"
16 SCHLECK Frank TEAM LEOPARD-TREK + 00' 19"
17 SPILAK Simon LAMPRE - ISD + 00' 19"
18 ROGERS Michael SKY PROCYCLING + 00' 19"
19 LEIPHEIMER Levi TEAM RADIOSHACK + 00' 19"
20 PARDILLA Sergio MOVISTAR TEAM + 00' 19"
145 LLOYD Daniel TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO + 25' 47"
160 THOMAS Geraint SKY PROCYCLING + 25' 47"
161 HUNT Jeremy SKY PROCYCLING + 25' 47"
Paris-Nice Overall Standings after Stage 5
1 KLÖDEN Andréas TEAM RADIOSHACK 24h 26' 13"
2 SANCHEZ Samuel EUSKALTEL - EUSKADI + 00' 04"
3 CARRARA Matteo VACANSOLEIL-DCM + 00' 06"
4 MARTIN Tony HTC - HIGHROAD + 00' 10"
5 KISERLOVSKI Robert PRO TEAM ASTANA + 00' 10"
6 BRAJKOVIC Janez TEAM RADIOSHACK + 00' 10"
7 TONDO Xavier MOVISTAR TEAM + 00' 10"
8 TAARAMAE Rein COFIDIS LE CREDIT EN LIGNE + 00' 10"
9 SANCHEZ Luis-Leon RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM + 00' 28"
10 KREUZIGER Roman PRO TEAM ASTANA + 00' 29"
11 MONFORT Maxime TEAM LEOPARD-TREK + 00' 29"
12 VAN DEN BROECK Jurgen OMEGA PHARMA - LOTTO + 00' 29"
13 MOLLEMA Bauke RABOBANK CYCLING TEAM + 00' 29"
14 SPILAK Simon LAMPRE - ISD + 00' 29"
15 PERAUD Jean-Christophe AG2R LA MONDIALE + 00' 29"
16 ROGERS Michael SKY PROCYCLING + 00' 29"
17 WIGGINS Bradley SKY PROCYCLING + 00' 29"
18 HESJEDAL Ryder TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO + 00' 29"
19 ROLLAND Pierre TEAM EUROPCAR + 00' 29"
20 PARDILLA Sergio MOVISTAR TEAM + 00' 29"
136 THOMAS Geraint SKY PROCYCLING + 38' 54"
140 LLOYD Daniel TEAM GARMIN - CERVELO + 38' 54"
153 HUNT Jeremy SKY PROCYCLING + 45' 22"
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