March 09, 2013 (France) – Richie Porte made a big step towards becoming the first Australian to win Paris-Nice with his shrewd, impressive victory at the top of Montagne de Lure at the end of stage 5. The Team Sky leader rewarded his team-mates for their precious work in this 176-km ride from Chateauneuf-du-Pape but also outwitted yellow jersey holder Andrew Talansky (GRS), probably too bold and inexperienced, who wasted time and energy attacking three times in the finale.
The young American showed temperament and character but now lies 32 seconds behind the new leader overall, a gap which seems difficult to bridge in the final time trial up Col d’Eze on Sunday. Dutchman Lieuwe Westra, second last year, is now third, 42 seconds adrift.
Voigt shows the way
The start was given at 11:22 to 170 riders. Simon Gerrans (OGE), suffering from bronchitis, did not start. At kilometre 14, Jens Voigt (RLT) shook the peloton when he surged to go on his own. The veteran German was quickly joined by Cyril Lemoine (SOJ), Paolo Longo Borghini (CAN) and Thierry Hupond (ARG). The lead of the four quickly grew to reach 4:30 (km 30) and six minutes at the top of the 2nd category Col de Murs (Km 47). Lemoine was first at the top.
The first sprint of the day went to Longo Borghini. In the second climb of the day, Col d’Oppedette (Km 85), Hupond was first at the top as the lead of the break reached a maximum of 6:35. Hupond again collected the points in the 3rd category Cote de St Martin-les-Eaux (km 123), Col de la Mort d’Imbert (Km 134.5) and Cote des Mourres (km 152). As Team Sky and Orica Greendge riders seized the peloton reins, the gap went down and a crash involved several riders at the back of the pack (Km 144). Shorty before the pile-up Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (SKY) called it quits.
Voigt on his own
The peloton tackled the last climb 1:25 behind the break, which split when Voigt attacked at the foot of the ascent. Team Sky’s David Lopez and Kanstantsin Siutsov seized the reins of the bunch in the climb, Richie Porte on their heels. Their pace was too high for the old man of the peloton, who was reeled in seven kilometers from the line on an attack by Davide Malacarne (EUC). Other vain moves were attempted by Robert Gesink (BLA), Christophe Le Mevel (COF) and Michele Scarponi (LAM).
Porte outwits Talansky
The surprise came from Andrew Talansky, who decided that attack was probably the best defence of his jersey. He attacked three times with three kilometers, two kilometers and one kilometer to go, the last time to chase behind Russia’s Denis Menchov (KAT). But the young American probably overdid it as he was countered by Richie Porte, who went on his own in the last kilometre and a half, to clinch a brilliant solo win with a 26 seconds lead over Menchov, while Talansky had to be content with third place, 33 seconds behind the Australian. Overall, Porte now leads Talansky by 32 seconds and Dutchman Lieuwe Westra (VCD) by 42 seconds.
Stage 6 Report – Third Time Happy for Chavanel
Sylvain Chavanel (BMC) displayed unheralded sprinting power to beat world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) on the line and claim his third stage victory in Paris-Nice on Saturday. Already winner in Cannes (2008 ) and Vichy (2009), the Frenchman caught the Belgian favorite off his guard to give France its third victory in this edition. Spanish sprinter Jose Joaquin Rojas was third.
Richie Porte, safely assisted by his Sky team-mates, retained the overall lead with a 32 seconds gap over Andrew Talansky (GRS) while Chavanel shot to third, 41 seconds adrift. Porte is now 9.6 kms away from becoming the first Australian to win the Race to the Sun on a climb he know like the palm of his hand.
Eleven in the lead
The start was given at 11:32 to 163 riders. Francis de Greef (LTB) and Alexis Vuillermoz (SOJ) did not start. Egor Silin (AST) attacked in the first climb of the day, Cote du Bois de Rousset (km 6.5) and was quickly joined by fellow-Russian Eduard Vorganov (KAT). The two were later joined by seven, then nine riders, forming a group of eleven escapees, who were Simon Clarke (OGE) Egor Silin (AST), Gatis Smukulis (KAT), Eduard Vorganov (KAT), Brent Bookwalter (BMC), Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ), Julien El Fares (SOJ), Borut Bozic (AST), Jerome Pineau (OPQ), Romain Bardet (ALM) and polka-dot jersey holder Johann Tschopp (IAM). While Andreas Klier (BMC) called it quits, the gap regularly increased to settle at around three minutes.
Tschopp secures polka-dot jersey
Tschopp did not miss his chance to collect some points along the way on Cote des Tuilieres (Km 87.5). At the feeding zone (Km 91), several riders decided it was time to end their Paris-Nice — Robert Gesink (BLA), Thomas De Gendt (VCD), winner in Nice a year ago and Yoann Offredo (FDJ) returned to their hotels. In the first category Cote de Cabris, Smukulis and El Fares were dropped by his breakaway companions. Tschopp added ten points to his tally in the 1st category Cote de Cabris. In the following Col du Ferrier, Bookwalter, Pineau and Bozic also lost ground while Tschopp secured a polka-dot jersey he could now take all the way up Col d’Eze.
In the descent of Col du Ferrier, only six men were left in the lading group: Tschopp, Jeannesson, Silin, Clarke, Bardet and Vorganov. But their lead quickly melted as BMC and Team Sky riders sped frantically in the descent towards Tourrettes-sur-Loup. Silin was dropped first and the break ended at kilometre 181. The second sprint in Tourrettes-sur-Loup saw Sylvain Chavanel and Peter Velits (both OPQ) try to move with Andriy Grivko (AST), but they were quickly reined in by Team Sky. Vasili Kiryienka and David Lopez Garcia took control of the bunch, Richie Porte on their heels, for most of the finale, with Andrew Talansky and Lieuwe Westra close by. In the finale, Philippe Gilbert looked ideally placed to grab the laurels when he was perfectly led out by his BMC team-mates but he probably launched the sprint too far and was outpoured on the line by Chavanel.
Stage 5 – Mar. 8 – Châteauneuf-du-Pape to La Montagne de Lure – 176km
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 4:50:54
2. Denis Menchov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:26
3. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin Sharp 0:33
4. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
5. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
6. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
7. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8. Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
9. Simon Spilak (Slo) Team Katusha
10. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-Merida
Stage 6 – Mar. 9 – Manosque to Nice 220km
1. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 5:14:23
2. Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
3. Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Esp) Movistar Team
4. Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
5. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard
6. Julien Simon (Fra) Sojasun
7. Borut Bozic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
8. Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
9. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Sojasun
10. Alberto Losada Alguacil (Esp) Katusha
GC after Stage 6
1. Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 29:40:31
2. Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:32
3. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:42
4. Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
5. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:49
6. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:52
7. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:53
8. Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
9. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:54
10. Andriy Grivko (Ukr) Astana Pro Team 1:06