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March 08, 2004

Paris-Nice: Jaksche wins opening TT

Sunday's EuroFile: Jaksche takes P-N opener; Valverde wins overall at Murcia

Paris-Nice is probably France's second-biggest stage race, after Le Tour. Sunday's kick-off time trial was won by Jorg Jaksche, the German who joined Team CSC after Tyler Freaking Hamilton left for Phonak. Davide Rebellin of Gerolsteiner and Erik Dekker of Rabobank were 4 seconds back, and Scotland's David Millar of Cofidis was 13 seconds back.

Team CSC also had American Bobby Julich in 7th at 16 seconds, and Jens Voigt, 9th at 22 seconds.

Hamilton, who had suggested as late as Friday that he would probably sit out Paris-Nice, started, and was 29th on the day:

"It was important for me to be here with the team. I did OK considering the circumstances," said Hamilton, who finished 29th at 38 seconds slower. "I'm not here with major goals. It's the first race of the season, but I want to get some racing kilometers in my legs and be with the team. If I feel a little better each day, I'll be OK by the end of the week."

Instead, Hamilton said he'll support teammates Alex Zülle, who posted a strong ride with sixth at 14 seconds slower, and Spanish rider Oscar Pereiro, who came through 12th at 23 seconds slower.

Among the US Postal contingent, Floyd Landis was 19th at 29 seconds, George Hincapie was 25th at 35 seconds, and David Zabriskie and Benjamin Noval were 37th and 38th at 43 seconds back.

Rounding out the Americans, Levi Leipheimer took things cautiously on the wet course, finishing 35th, 40 seconds back:

"I didn't take any risks. I lost more time than I wanted to today so it will be difficult now for the GC," Leipheimer said.

Rabobank will likely throw its weight behind Erik Dekker, third at just four seconds back. The 33-year-old veteran is back in top form following two injury-riddled seasons and is extremely motivated to do well here.

"I had a good feeling today but I was a little bit unsure because I lost some time in the first climb," Dekker said. "I must have made up the time in the last section. We'll see how things go in the next few days, but I feel good."

Also:

Eurosport | Jaksche time-trials to win

Daily Peloton | Paris-Nice Stage One - Updated (with full results)

Posted by Frank Steele on March 8, 2004 in Bobby Julich, Floyd Landis, Jorg Jaksche, Oscar Pereiro, Tyler Freaking Hamilton | Permalink

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