March 08, 2004
Paris-Nice stage 2: Horrillo the stage, Jaksche maintains overall
Great race day reporting from VeloNews Euro correspondent Andrew Hood:
It was a day of heavy damage in Monday's second stage of Paris-Nice.
No, no one crashed, but a half-dozen favorites were all-but-eliminated when Team CSC and U.S. Postal Service collaborated to drive a deep five-minute wedge into the eight-day race.
Five Postals and the entire CSC team drove a lead group of 36 into Montargis in the windy 166.5km stage across rolling farmland south of Paris.
Among the castaways were T-Mobile's Alexandre Vinokourov, who won this race in 2002 and 2003, Rabobank's Erik Dekker, Laurent Brochard, and Alex Zülle, who finished with a group 5:15 back of the leaders. Quote of the day has to go to Dekker:
"I can only blame myself," said Dekker, who started the day tied for second four seconds back to Team CSC's Jorg Jaksche. "It was stupid, stupid, stupid. I came here to win this race, but now I don't know what to do. I have no excuses, I just missed it. I am the stupidest rider here today."
Among those helped by the separation was CSC's Bobby Julich, who had to chase into the lead group, but now sits 3rd overall, 18 seconds behind teammate Jorg Jaksche, who won yesterday's time trial and finished with the leaders today.
Also with the winning break today were 5 US Postal riders: George Hincapie, José Azevedo, Victor Hugo Peña, Benjamin Noval, and Viatcheslav Ekimov.
Tyler Freaking Hamilton finished in the gruppetto, way back at 13:55.
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