Sat, Mar 12, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Stage win sees Kloden take lead in Paris-Nice

AFP, VERNOUX-EN-VIVARAIS, FRANCE

The pack rides on Thursday in Vernoux-en-Vivarais during the 194km fifth stage of the 69th Paris-Nice race.

Photo: AFP

Germany’s Andreas Kloden rolled back the years to take the lead in the Paris-Nice race after winning Thursday’s 194km-fifth stage between Saint-Symphorien-sur-Coise and Vernoux-en-Vivarais.

The RadioShack rider, a former runner-up in the Tour de France, prevailed in an eight-man sprint, which notably featured Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez and German race contender Tony Martin.

Euskaltel rider Sanchez was second with HTC-Highroad all-rounder Martin in fourth, just behind Italian Matteo Carrara of the Vacansoleil team.

Another Spaniard, 2009 race winner Luis Leon Sanchez, conceded 18 seconds after he led home a second group of riders following their failure to follow what turned out to be the day’s winning move.

A late collapse by French champion Thomas Voeckler of Europcar with only 500m of the day’s final climb remaining provided the springboard for Kloden and seven other riders to forge ahead.

On the descent they pulled together to build a 20-second lead on a group of around 14 chasers.

In the final kilometer, the back wheel of Slovenian teammate Janez Brajkovic allowed Kloden to save the energy needed to beat a frustrated Sanchez to the stage victory, his first win on the race since he won the seventh stage and the overall victory in 2000.

Kloden, 35, now holds a 4 second lead over Sanchez, with Martin a further 6 seconds further back ahead of yesterday’s potential race-decider, a 27km time trial from Rognes to Aix-en-Provence.

Martin, a strong time triallist who won the Tour of the Algarve a fortnight ago, was expected to battle Kloden for the race leader’s jersey yesterday.

TIRRENO-ADRIATICO

AFP, ROME

American Tyler Farrar stepped up his preparations for the Milan-San Remo classic by winning the -second stage of Tirreno-Adriatico on Thursday and claiming the leader’s blue jersey.

After 202km from Marina di Carrera to Indicatore, the 26-year-old Garmin-Cervelo sprinter edged out Italian favorite Alessandro Petacchi in a bunch finish with Argentine Juan Jose Haedo finishing third just ahead of Australia’s Mark Renshaw.

Farrar started the day seventh overall following Wednesday’s team time-trial, won by Rabobank, but was able to count on the full support of his recently merged outfit, which includes Norway’s reigning world champion Thor Hushovd.

Along with the Paris-Nice in France, the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race is considered a crucial stepping stone for anyone looking to podium in the first one-day classic of the season, Milano-San Remo, which begins on March 19.

Britain’s Mark Cavendish, a 15-time stage winner on the Tour de France and the 2009 winner of Milan-San Remo, dropped off the pace on the climb of the Poggio alla Croce and struggled to follow the wheel of habitual lead-out man Renshaw.

That slip will not have gone unnoticed by Garmin, who, after merging with Cervelo, have what appears to be a cycling super-team.

Farrar in any case hopes they will be a force to be reckoned with come March 19.

Overnight leader Lars Boom dropped to third behind teammate Thomas Leezer, both 2 seconds behind the American.

German Andre Greipel, one of several top sprinters expected to challenge the domination of Cavendish this season, pulled out of the race due to injuries he picked up in a crash on Wednesday’s opening stage.

TAIWAN

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Taiwan’s first international cycling marathon will take place in Pingtung County in May on a new road around a bay in the southern county, the Tourism Bureau announced on Thursday.

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