Paris - Nice: voices after the final stage

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17.03.2008/ Yesterday one of the most exiting editions of Paris - Nice ended with a stage win for Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) and the overall victory for Gerolsteiner's Davide Rebellin. Here some post race comments.

© Sirotti
Finally 36 year old Davide Rebellin won Paris - Nice (© Sirotti)

Polkdot jersey winner Clément L'hotellerie (Skil - Shimano) gave an interview with Belgian based website You can read some translated quotes from the interview in a seperate story on our website: here.
Rabobank's Robert Gesink is from the same generation as Clément L'hotellerie. Both riders are 21 years old. Gesink was wearing the yellow jersey for two days after an impressive performance at the Mont Ventoux. The Dutch young gun did win the young riders classification of the 66th edition of the French stage race. Rabobanks sports director Erik Dekker told Dutch weekly 'Sportweek': "His story of the last 13 months is unbelievable." Dekker also reacted on remarks that Gesink should start at this years Tour de France. Dekker said: "In his first year as a pro he would not ride a grand tour, in his second year [this year, editor] the Vuelta and in his third season the Tour. The plan is working well, so why should we change it?"
Karsten Kroon (CSC) rode a strong Paris - Nice. But Kroon has other things to care about as well. The title sponsor of his team will leave pro cycling at the end of this season. Kroon said: "I think sponsoring in sports is not forver and its normal that a company choose to go another way after they sponsored a team for a couple of years. Our team has a good image and a solid infrastructure and organisation. The last three years we have won the team classifiaction of the Pro - Tour. For companies that's a unique chance to step in on the highest level. I have faith in Bjarne Riis."
Bobby Julich made another attempt during the final stage of Paris-Nice, when he was in break shortly before the finish. Julich managed to stay up front until the end, where especially stage winner Sanchez, but also Rinaldo Nocentini (ag2r) tried their best to drop Rebellin. But the Italian persevered and won the overall.
"We tried our best and we knew we were in a good position from the start with so many of our guys in the first break. But it was fast paced out there again today, which was a disadvantage for those in the break, but we knew that beforehand," said CSC sports director Kim Andersen after the stage.

"Chris Anker crashed again during the first descent, but without serious injuries. Fränk Schleck abandoned during the stage because of back pains after yesterday's crash. He hurt both his shoulder and his back, when he brushed against a rock wall on the final descent, so there was no reason to keep on going, when he was in pain," concluded Kim Andersen.
The 'Race to the Sun' turned out to be a 'Tour of Torture' for German Team Milram. „Our riders have demonstrated great morale,” said Milram's sports director Raoul Liebregts. "After numerous crashes in the first days of the race, our morale was really down. The team hotel looked like a hospital. Six riders were under the weather and battled their way through to the finish day by day. We all take our hats off to that fighting spirit!"
Slipstream team manager Jonathan Vaughters posted an article on the team's website, Vaughters said: "So, obviously, Paris-Nice did not go so great for us. But I gotta say, what a great race! It had everything I love about cycling. Changing leaders, unpredictability, suffering. It was completely non-mechanical and could have been won or lost all the way to the last 20 meters of the race."
Vaughters concluded his article with: "Any how, for those of you that have been discouraged by cycling the last few years, I really think things are changing. I really believe Paris-Nice was real, gritty, human racing from stem to stern. I hope the Tour will be the same this year too. I really do."
Young gun Tyler Farrar said on the Slipstream team website: "Any how, for those of you that have been discouraged by cycling the last few years, I really think things are changing. I really believe Paris-Nice was real, gritty, human racing from stem to stern. I hope the Tour will be the same this year too. I really do."

"Unfortunately, we all know how that turned out! Crashing is never fun, and doing it when you are on course for what may possibly be the biggest result of your career doesn’t really make it any better. But at the end of the day that’s bike racing. Sometimes things go your way, and sometimes they don’t," Farrar said. 

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Picture gallery: Paris - Nice , Stage 7, March 16, 2008.

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