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Christian Vande Velde Takes Paris-Nice Pro Cycling Race Stage 4; Chavanel Holds; Contador Closes; Tirreno-Adriatico Begins

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Christian Vande Velde (USA) of Garmin-Slipstream put in quite a strong and exciting performance today in the Paris-Nice! A second day in a row of real effort and dramatic action down to the finish. Vande Velde flew along damp and curvy mountain roads and blasted through village twists and turns and left the chasers arcing wider than they hoped through the tight rolling streets of the finish. 

Here's some video without commentary that shows some of the final chase...worth watching...



Stage 4 top ten from http://www.letour.fr/indexPNC_us.html


Overall GC standings after 4 stages from http://www.letour.fr/indexPNC_us.html

Meanwhile, most of the sprinters and a lot of other top riders are at the Tirreno-Adriatico stage race. Last 1K or so video...


Stage 1 was Cecina to Capannori. Basso was domestique for Bennati today, but only third came of it. Two up front for some time held off the rest and Julien El Farès took it over Vladimir Duma. Petacci was fourth, and Boonen fifth.


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More on Christian Vande Velde's Paris-Nice Win, plus Levi, Lance

I really enjoyed this article with Christian Vande Velde, and the refreshing sound of this gentleman, especially in the wake of a strong, happy struggle as it seemed to me. There was something special in it I felt, even before the finish. Strong! Of course my conditions of viewing over the internet were not optimal, but what came through was a real effort, not something easy, but also someone riding the crest of a wave...and fearlessly...in a perfect emotional and physical storm.

Need I say I wonder about the chemical tests? Honestly, though, I'm a dreamer so I have to say I didn't think this was the edge of doping, but maybe the edge of life. The interview reinforces my view of that. Just my perception. Hope I'm not proven wrong. Sad I have to doubt. 

Anyway, Vande Velde has so much time at the finish that he was able to roll in with no hands on the bars and make the motion of cradling a baby, and several other relaxed celebratory gestures...

“I always thought it was cool when other riders did that after having a baby,” Vande Velde, whose daughter Madeline was born last month, said in a telephone interview from France. “And I finally had the chance to do it. Finally. I had never won a bike race before. To be honest with you, I’ve long been embarrassed about that.”

He caught the spirit of my observations and those of many who watched...

“I kept thinking I was going to get caught before the end,” he said. “But I started to realize, ‘Whoa, I’m going quite fast.’ But I won’t lie. I’m surprised that I won.”

He just kept digging, and it was fun to watch his hard work because somehow this captured the fun I've felt in hard work out skating (on a much lower level) particularly on those long 87-mile Athens to Atlanta skates and at the 102-mile Roadskater.net Carolina Century. What I do is not the same, no, but I do think I know some of the feeling of continuing past the threshold of pain and possibilities on some days, when it should keep hurting worse, but something comes together and it comes back to good (this happened at Carolina Century for me around mile 85 or so, where I began to feel better). But I didn't finish like Vande Velde did! 

Jonathan Vaughters, Garmin’s team director, said he had never seen Vande Velde look that strong at this point in the season.

“He’s always been like a clunky, old diesel engine because it takes him a long time to warm up,” Vaughters said. “But the way he won, out there all alone, will definitely give him tons of confidence for the Tour.”

Vande Velde also kissed his wedding ring at the finish, managing what a fair number at the Academy Awards do not...thanking the spouse.

“I did it for all the families and wives who stay at home way too much while we are away,” he said.

Maybe this is all a load of bull, but even if so, it was an enjoyable bulload for me. I sure hope this was a clean victory. For now, I'm content to think so.

Meanwhile, another story linked below had this info...

Contador's American teammate, Levi Leipheimer, who won last month's Amgen Tour of California, had to miss this race to heal a broken bone he suffered during that win, and Astana's third key rider, Lance Armstrong, is training in southern France in preparation for his next race, March 21 in the Milan-San Remo classic. Armstrong used Twitter today to talk about being called on for his 23rd doping control test of the year.

I believe I read somewhere that Levi's break was a spinal fracture. Ouch! Also, I read about Lance's twitter (or maybe what I read WAS the twitter) and he said the time trial in the Giro d'Italia might not allow for use of the TT bike and that it included a rapid descent, if I got it right. 

US Cyclist Adds Flair to His Win - New York Times -

US Cyclist Adds Flair to His Win
New York Times, United States
In his 12 years as a professional, Vande Velde had won time trials, team time trials and overall titles in multi-day races like the Tour of Missouri — but never a mass-start stage of a road race. His long-awaited day to celebrate a solo finish-line ...
[USA Cycling Tours] Another (not Lance, not Levi) American cyclist wins - Los Angeles Times -

Another (not Lance, not Levi) American cyclist wins
Los Angeles Times, CA
Contador's American teammate, Levi Leipheimer, who won last month's Amgen Tour of California, had to miss this race to heal a broken bone he suffered during that win, and Astana's third key rider, Lance Armstrong, is training in southern France in ...
[USA Cycling Tours]

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Stage 5 Paris-Nice Great Finish; Tirreno-Adriatico Sprint

A day late, on purpose, most likely, versus has the Stage 4 video up at... http://www.versus.com/cyclysm Wow. Is this all versus is offering? Mar 8 and Mar 15 @ 5PM ET Also known as "The Race to the Sun", the Paris Nice is the first big stage competition of the season. This eight-stage cycling race kicks off the UCI Pro Tour, and covers over 1000km of road from Paris to the finish on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. This video shows Paris-Nice Stage 5's last few K, but misses the part where Jérémy Roy first separates from Tony Martin and Thomas Voeckler. That's a good part to see if you can, then watch the run in to see Martin and Voeckler It's a chase to the finish and I'll leave it to you if you're interested to watch....spoilers below in the listings... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ofc4nuPg3tw http://www.sporza.be/cm/sporza.be/wielrennen/Parijs-Nice_2009/090312_par... Here's Stage 1 yesterday from Tirreno-Adriatico, the last 3K... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yz3J6mXT24c Stage 2 last few K will be here...with the winner sucking his thumb... http://www.sporza.be/cm/sporza.be/wielrennen/090312_Tirreno_rit_2 +++ spoilers below +++ Here's the top 4 in Paris-Nice Stage 5 1 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française Des Jeux 4:58:47 (40.966 km/h) 2 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom 3 Tony Martin (Ger) Team Columbia - Highroad 4 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Cervélo TestTeam 2:33 Overall after 5 stages... 1 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Quick Step 18:32:56 2 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank 0:06 3 Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Rabobank 0:36 4 Alberto Contador (Spa) Astana 5 Kevin Seeldrayers (Bel) Quick Step 0:37 6 Luis-Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0:45 7 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Slipstream 0:50 Stage 2 Tirreno-Adriatico... 1 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) LPR Brakes 2 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas 3 Koldo Fernandez (Spa) Euskatel 4 Dominique Rollin (Can) Cervélo 5 Luca Paolini (Ita) Top 3 after 2 stages... 1 Julien El Fares (Fra) 8:06:32 2 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) :15 3 Daniele Bennati (Ita) :15
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Climbing Now

http://www.justin.tv/abdel55 This is working. Have a look if you can!

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