Paris-Nice: Stage 5 – Wiggins defends Yellow

Bradley Wiggins ably helped by Riche Porte on the final climb, defended the Yellow jersey in style and continues to lead the race after a stage victory by Lieuwe Westra of Vacansoleil.

STAGE 1 REPORT | STAGE 2 REPORT | STAGE 3 REPORT | STAGE 4 REPORT |

The Yellow jerseyed Bradley Wiggins, leader of the 2012 Paris Nice was third on stage 5 behind Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM). On a day where the 178.5 kilometres route from Onet-le-Chateau to Mende featured no fewer than six categorised mountain climbs including the finishing 10 per cent ascent up the ‘Montee Laurent Jalabert’, the expected battle between Wiggins and Valverde never really got off the ground.

After a day dominated by a four man break that included Aussie Simon Clarke, the race was lit up on the slopes of the final 3k climb. After Movistar tried to set the stage up for Valverde, it was Richie Porte of Team Sky who did all the damage. His pacemaking for Wiggins saw the group reduced to a dozen riders before Wiggins took over and was left fending off the attacks.

The final one by Westra however was one too many and while Wiggins did a great job to hold on for third, on the wheel of his rival Valverde, Westra has moved to within six seconds of Wiggin’s yellow jersey.

Lieuwe Westra “I was not too well at the beginning of the season but for the last couple all days I felt super. I have good legs now, and I told myself I should attack today. It’s unbelievable to win in front of such big names. It’s a great day in my life. In the next few days, it could be sprints. We’ll see how it goes on Sunday. ”

Bradley Wiggins: “It was a day in hell with the cold air and wind all day. It was a little bit warmer on the climb and I really must thank Richie and Rigoberto, who did an amazing job. The priority was that final time trial so it’s been a good day. It wasn’t my kind of climbs but we’ve been working on it this winter. It’s very promising. My form is the best it’s ever been and we continue to work on the things we’re weaker at. This was the stage everybody was taking about but now it all comes down to Sunday.”

Levi Leipheimer “It was a hard race with a lot of wind and cold from the beginning. On the final climb I have to say that Team Sky did a great job. Richie Porte made the rhythm until the last kilometer and then Wiggins took things into his hands. Westra did a big number anticipating everybody and now is entered in the fight for the GC win. As far as I’m concerned, I think I did a good race with once again a great team around me. It’s a pity that I didn’t take the bonification seconds at the finish. Bradley surprised me and he finished 3rd behind Valverde. In any case it was a good stage for me. I’m always in the fight for the win. If nothing strange happens in the next 2 stages, the race will be decided in the last time trial. It will be important to be there on Sunday fresh and ready to fight.”

Chavanel  “I started Paris-Nice with.bronchitis but I wanted to start in any case. I’m always really motivated for this race. As national champion I really wanted to do well. Today it was difficult for me. The legs were good, but I couldn’t breathe as I wanted. I did my best and now I’m 9th in the GC. I will give all on Sunday to try to remain in the top 10. It would be a great team result.”

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THE RACE

Dutchman Lieuwe Westra, dubbed the Beast, bit harder than the cold on the final climb to Mende to win the 5th stage of Paris-Nice and clinch his most prestigious victory to date.

The experienced Vacansoleil rider took advantage of a surprising attack by overall leader Bradley Wiggins in the final 500 metres to counter and go all the way. Favourite at the start, Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (MOV) had to be  content with the runner-up spot ahead of Wiggins, who retained his yellow jersey.

The Briton again showed great form in the finale and now leads the day’s winner by six seconds while Levi Leipheimer, who finished on his heels in Mende, is third, ten seconds off the pace. Valverde, winner of the third stage at Lac de Vassiviere, moved closer to the podium in fourth place, 18 seconds adrift. It was the second victory on this Paris-Nice for Vacansoleil after the first stage won by Gustav Larsson and the Dutch team also conquered the polka-dot jersey thanks to Frederik Veuchelen, one of the brave escapees of the day.

Gang of four
After two kilometers, a gang of four emerged: Simon Clarke (GEC), Frederik Veuchelen (VCD), Yuyika Arashiro (EUC) and David Le Lay (SAU). The break quickly gained momentum, reaching a maximum lead of seven minutes at kilometer 41. On the Col d’Aujols (km 15.5), Veuchelen was fastest ahead of Le Lay. The gap remained stable at around six minutes for most of the next 100 kms, and Veuchelen made the best of the Cote de la Malene (1st cat, km 96) and Cote du Cayla (3rd cat, km 111.5) to collect 18 points in the mountains classification.

Tempo raises
As the pace increased, Blel Kadri (ALM) crashed badly at km 125 and was forced out. The first category Cote de l’Estrade was merciless. Several riders were dropped in the ascent as Alejandro Valverde’s Movistar team-mates raised the empo. Kevin Seeldrayers (AST) and Laurens Ten Dam (RAB) broke with the pack to chase behind the four. At the top of l’Estrade (km 146.5), Veuchelen collected ten more points to secure the polka-dot jersey on the finish line. Movistar still led the chase in the descent.

Final climb
With 9 kms to go, Seeldrayers and Ten Dam caught the four escapees but the peloton reined them in the Cote de Chabrits (2nd cat, km 170.5). Only Veuchelen kept fighting to add seven points to his tally for the mountain classification. From the foot of the climb, Team Sky took the reins, pulling Bradley Wiggins up the climb. Under the red flame, France’s Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ) surged but, much to everybody’s surprise, Wiggins was the one to react, leaving his rivals hapless.

Westra cunningly saw an opening and did not miss his chance. Six seconds behind him, Valverde managed to beat Wiggins on the line but the Briton was the one who impressed the most with two days to go before the final time trial in Col d’Eze.

Stage 5

1 Lieuwe Westra Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team 04:52:46
2 Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team 00:06
3 Bradley Wiggins Sky Procycling @ same time
4 Levi Leipheimer Omega Pharma – Quickstep @ same time
5 Simon Spilak Katusha Team @ same time
6 Damiano Cunego Lampre – ISD 00:16
7 Arnold Jeannesson Equipe Cycliste FDJ – BigMat @ same time
8 Sylvester Szmyd Liquigas – Cannondale 00:24
9 Rigoberto Uran Sky Procycling @ same time
10 Thomas Voeckler Europcar 00:30
11 Maxime Monfort RadioShack – Nissan @ same time
12 Tejay Van Garderen BMC Racing Team @ same time
13 Richie Porte Sky Procycling 00:42
14 Alexandre Geniez 1t4i @ same time
15 Sergey Lagutin Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team @ same time
16 Maxime Bouet Ag2R – La Mondiale @ same time
17 Javier Moreno Bazan Movistar Team 00:48
18 Robert Kiserlovski Astana Pro Team @ same time
19 Frank Schleck RadioShack – Nissan @ same time
20 Jean-christophe Peraud Ag2R – La Mondiale @ same time
21 Jonathan Hivert Saur – Sojasun 00:53
22 J̩rome Coppel Saur РSojasun @ same time
23 Denis Menchov Katusha Team @ same time
24 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil Rabobank Cycling Team @ same time
25 Igor Anton Hernandez Euskaltel – Euskadi @ same time
26 Mickael Cherel Ag2R – La Mondiale @ same time
27 Davide Malacarne Europcar @ same time
28 Pierrick Fedrigo Equipe Cycliste FDJ – BigMat 01:00
29 Sylvain Chavanel Omega Pharma – Quickstep 01:04
30 Andr̩as Kl̦den RadioShack РNissan @ same time
31 Jens Voigt RadioShack – Nissan 01:11
32 David Lopez Garcia Movistar Team 01:13
33 Daniel Navarro Garcia Team Saxo Bank 01:15
34 Nicolas Roche Ag2R – La Mondiale 01:17
35 Diego Ulissi Lampre – ISD 01:25
36 Daniele Pietropolli Lampre – ISD @ same time
37 Yannick Talabardon Saur – Sojasun 01:30
38 Giampaolo Caruso Katusha Team 01:32
39 Evgeni Petrov Astana Pro Team @ same time
40 Brent Bookwalter BMC Racing Team @ same time
41 Ángel Vicioso Arcos Katusha Team @ same time
42 Amaël Moinard BMC Racing Team @ same time
43 R̩my Di Gregorio Cofidis РLe Credit En Ligne @ same time
44 Hubert Dupont Ag2R – La Mondiale @ same time
45 J̩r̩my Roy Equipe Cycliste FDJ РBigMat @ same time
46 Christophe Le Mevel Team Garmin – Barracuda 01:47
47 Guillaume Levarlet Saur – Sojasun @ same time
48 Dries Devenyns Omega Pharma – Quickstep 01:56
49 Alexandre Pichot Europcar @ same time
50 Janez Brajkovic Astana Pro Team 02:02
51 Dmitriy Fofonov Astana Pro Team @ same time
52 Thomas De Gendt Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team @ same time
53 Romain Sicard Euskaltel – Euskadi 02:06
54 Michael Albasini GreenEdge Cycling Team 02:14
55 Eros Capecchi Liquigas – Cannondale 02:18
56 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil Movistar Team 02:19
57 R̩mi Pauriol Equipe Cycliste FDJ РBigMat @ same time
58 Dominik Nerz Liquigas – Cannondale 02:31
59 David Moncouti̩ Cofidis РLe Credit En Ligne 02:36
60 Eduard Vorganov Katusha Team @ same time
61 Xavier Florencio Katusha Team @ same time
62 Gianni Meersman Lotto – Belisol Team @ same time
63 Tony Martin Omega Pharma – Quickstep 02:45
64 Gorka Izagirre Insausti Euskaltel – Euskadi 02:52
65 Gustav Erik Larsson Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team 02:55
66 Giovanni Bernaudeau Europcar 03:01
67 Vasil Kiryienka Movistar Team 03:30
68 Markel Irizar Aranburu RadioShack – Nissan @ same time
69 Francesco Gavazzi Astana Pro Team 03:42
70 Rein Taaramäe Cofidis – Le Credit En Ligne 03:44
71 David Lelay Saur – Sojasun 03:53
72 Bauke Mollema Rabobank Cycling Team 04:05
73 Carlos Barredo Llamazales Rabobank Cycling Team 04:14
74 Jeremie Galland Saur – Sojasun @ same time
75 Bart De Clercq Lotto – Belisol Team 04:18
76 C̩dric Pineau Equipe Cycliste FDJ РBigMat 04:51
77 Julien Simon Saur – Sojasun 05:10
78 Yukiya Arashiro Europcar @ same time
79 Simon Geschke 1t4i @ same time
80 Stijn Vandenbergh Omega Pharma – Quickstep @ same time
81 Mikel Astarloza Euskaltel – Euskadi @ same time
82 Bjorn Leukemans Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team 05:16
83 Kevin De Weert Omega Pharma – Quickstep @ same time
84 Anthony Geslin Equipe Cycliste FDJ – BigMat @ same time
85 Frederik Veuchelen Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team @ same time
86 Kevin Seeldraeyers Astana Pro Team 05:24
87 Kanstantsin Siutsou Sky Procycling 05:58
88 Leonardo Bertagnolli Lampre – ISD @ same time
89 Christian Knees Sky Procycling 06:13
90 Karsten Kroon Team Saxo Bank @ same time
91 Laurens Ten Dam Rabobank Cycling Team @ same time
92 Anders Lund Team Saxo Bank @ same time
93 S̩bastien Minard Ag2R РLa Mondiale @ same time
94 David Arroyo Duran Movistar Team 06:23
95 Luis Angel Mate Mardones Cofidis – Le Credit En Ligne 07:19
96 Wesley Sulzberger GreenEdge Cycling Team 07:40
97 Koen De Kort 1t4i @ same time
98 Grischa Niermann Rabobank Cycling Team @ same time
99 Simon Clarke GreenEdge Cycling Team @ same time
100 Paolo Longho Borghini Liquigas – Cannondale @ same time
101 Ivan Basso Liquigas – Cannondale @ same time
102 Simon Gerrans GreenEdge Cycling Team @ same time
103 Pierre Cazaux Euskaltel – Euskadi @ same time
104 Xabier Zandio Echaide Sky Procycling @ same time

OVERALL
1 Bradley Wiggins Sky Procycling 18:43:40
2 Lieuwe Westra Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling Team 00:06
3 Levi Leipheimer Omega Pharma – Quickstep 00:10
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte Movistar Team 00:18
5 Simon Spilak Katusha Team 00:37
6 Tejay Van Garderen BMC Racing Team 00:39
7 Maxime Monfort RadioShack – Nissan 00:46
8 Arnold Jeannesson Equipe Cycliste FDJ – BigMat 01:06
9 Sylvain Chavanel Omega Pharma – Quickstep 01:16
10 Robert Kiserlovski Astana Pro Team 01:21
11 Ángel Vicioso Arcos Katusha Team 02:24
12 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil Movistar Team 02:46
13 Rigoberto Uran Sky Procycling 03:34
14 Maxime Bouet Ag2R – La Mondiale @ same time
15 J̩rome Coppel Saur РSojasun 03:37
16 Damiano Cunego Lampre – ISD 03:42
17 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil Rabobank Cycling Team 03:51
18 Davide Malacarne Europcar 04:09
19 Daniel Navarro Garcia Team Saxo Bank 04:20
20 J̩r̩my Roy Equipe Cycliste FDJ РBigMat 04:24
21 Francesco Gavazzi Astana Pro Team @ same time
22 Nicolas Roche Ag2R – La Mondiale 04:27
23 Evgeni Petrov Astana Pro Team 04:36
24 Brent Bookwalter BMC Racing Team 04:45
25 Daniele Pietropolli Lampre – ISD 04:47
26 Thomas Voeckler Europcar 04:51
27 Denis Menchov Katusha Team 04:58
28 R̩mi Pauriol Equipe Cycliste FDJ РBigMat 05:03
29 Frank Schleck RadioShack – Nissan 05:05
30 Andr̩as Kl̦den RadioShack РNissan 05:13

 

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